b. Jan. 30, 1866, Boston, Mass., U.S.
d. Sept. 17, 1951, Carmel, Calif.
in full FRANK GELETT BURGESS, American humorist and illustrator, best known
for a single, early, whimsical quatrain: [The Purple Cow]
Burgess was educated as an engineer and worked briefly for a railroad in
that capacity. Between 1891 and 1894 he taught topographical drawing at the
University of California. In 1895 Burgess became the founding editor of
Lark, a humour magazine, and in 1897 he began to publish books of his
self-illustrated whimsical writings.
Burgess' humour was based upon the sudden break of ideas: a substitution of
the unexpected for the commonplace. Among his best-known works are Goops and
How to Be Them (1900) and subsequent books on Goops (bad-mannered children).
He is credited with adding several words to the English language, including
blurb. Among his many other works are Are You a Bromide? (1906), Why Men
Hate Women (1927), and Look Eleven Years Younger (1937).