Bois Frederick Burk


Bois Frederick Burk

California, USA
Death 5 Jun 1993 (aged 86)
Corte Madera, Marin County, California, USA
Burial Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Plot Main Mausoleum, Section 12, Crypt Niche 2, Tier 1
Memorial ID 121075407 View Source
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Marin Journal, Thursday, May 16, 1929, Page 2 -
Marin Students Receive Diplomas From University
Source -
Transcribed by Cathy Gowdy...

The University of California graduated twenty three hundred and ten students with the class of nineteen twenty-nine at ceremonies held yesterday in the stadium.

Fifteen students from Marin County received their sheepskins from President Campbell of the institution.

In addition to the graduates a number of Marin county students were honored, included Eveline M. Growcutt of San Anselmo, who received the Levi Strauss award and James O. Clayton, who was granted the Shell Research Fellowhip in Chemistry......

Bois Frederick Burk of Kentfield received his A. B. in Letters and Science as did Liesbeth M. McConnell, Barbara Allen Penfield, Euda Marian Wilkie, and Ernestine Wood all of Mill Valley.

The article below was cut from one part of Mr. Meeker's book. The article does not fully give all the details of this period of time before the internet and of the great intolerance directed toward LGBT people. I encourage you to further your enlightenment by purchasing Mr. Meeker's book and to read more about LGBT people.

From the book "Contacts Desired: Gay and Lesbian Communications and Community, 1940s-1970s" by Martin Meeker; an academic specialist with the Regional Oral History Office at The Bancroft Library of UC Berkeley. His book was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2006.

Copies of "The Hobby Directory" as well as the papers of Bois Burke are available to researchers at the GLBT Historical Society in San Francisco.

In 1946 Bois Burke, a resident of Berkeley, California, placed a personal advertisement in a new magazine called The Hobby Directory. He identified himself as a forty-one-year-old, college educated office clerk who was interested in internationalism, politics, and chess and who was looking to correspond with other "single members who are lonely."
But he was hoping to do more than initiate the sort of platonic exchange that was the norm for pen-pal clubs and correspondence societies of his day. Instead, Burke and the other members of The Hobby Directory, which included an overabundance of "florists," "hair stylists," and "male nurses," desired a decidedly queer sort of contact: They wished to connect with others they perceived to be like themselves but whom they had difficulty locating in the regular passage of their everyday lives. Many members of The Hobby Directory were gay men. They desired to contact other gay men in a world in which those attempts were prohibited by law and, thus, the venues for exchange were fleeting and few.
In Burke's day the options for connecting with other gay men were extremely limited, but resourceful men, hungry for contacts, improvised. They placed ads in publications like The Hobby Directory that were carefully disguised to appear benign to heterosexuals but coded to attract other gay men. They gathered in certain parts of big cities and slipped into bars or bathhouses whose reputation was spread by word of mouth. They spent weekends attending house party after house party, which many preferred to bars because dancing was allowed and police intrusion unlikely. However they connected and wherever they met, their contacts were enabled and supported by a comparatively small social network. It was kept this way by censorious pressure from the outside and a desire for self-preservation from within. While culturally robust and probably increasing in population, the gay world of 1946 was relatively fragmented, locally centered, and focused on the immediate rewards of "finding a friend" in the reserved argot of the day.
Today, if a gay man is asked where he goes to look for sex and, possibly, friendship or a relationship, he is likely to mention any number of websites that feature chat rooms often explicitly linked to particular tastes and geographic areas. With the passage of sixty years from Burke's Hobby Directory to today's, surely much has changed in the realm of queer communications, but just what are the nature of those changes and what, if anything, has remained the same?
Surprisingly, perhaps, there is much to link Burke's Hobby Directory with today's queer Internet. A persistent quality of the contact ads today, as in the past, is the apparent fact that men have predominated. Although the historic use of pen-pal clubs by lesbians (or quasi-lesbians) needs more study, the tendency to look for sex or friendship in magazines or on the Internet, with few exceptions, appears to be a male pursuit. Like the methods employed by Bois Burke, today's gay men often look beyond what is immediately within reach in the quest to find that person who suits a particular desire or resides in a specific place.
One of the unexpected continuities is found in the persistence of euphemisms and codes in queer communications. In Burke's day, gay seekers often would evoke a nonmasculine profession to attract attention. For example, a 1958 ad in the San Francisco Chronicle apartment classifieds (preserved by Burke in his records) read, "young man, hair stylist, share house now with intelligent man." And while Internet profiles may be devoid of clever euphemism, there is no shortage of codes, detailing information ranging from body size and shape (e.g. "HWP" or "height weight proportional") to use or non-use of narcotics during sex (e.g. "PNP" or "party and play"). Even though the ultimate reason for using codes likely differs in these contexts—fear of discovery in the ' 50s, convenient shorthand today—there appears to be a continued desire to communicate information better left unsaid or inexplicit......

Whatever Burke's opinion of the changes that have transpired and whatever remains relatively unaltered over the decades, clearly there has been sweeping and vast change to the ways in which gay men discover one another and communicate among themselves. These changes, which continue to happen today at seemingly increasing speeds, are impossible to comprehend outside of the social, cultural, political, and legal contexts in which they transpire.
We have Bois Burke and his kind, then, to thank not only for preserving their own queer communication media by donating the items to archives but also for helping us to think more clearly about what is happening today, to place it in a longer story of transformations in queer communication networks....

Article: Personals.(history of personal ads)
Article from: The Antioch Review Article date: March 22, 2001 Author: HARRIS, DANIEL
COPYRIGHT 1999 Antioch Review, Inc.

Some of the first gay personal ads to be published in America appeared, not in the clandestine newsletter of a secret fraternal society of subversive sex radicals, but in an implausibly wholesome family magazine which was not only freely distributed but available even to young children, who were allowed--indeed, encouraged--to advertise in its pages. In 1946, F.W. Ewing brought out the inaugural issue of one of the most outrageous scams ever perpetrated in modern journalism, The Hobby Directory, the house organ of the National Association of Hobbyists for Men and Boys. The publication's exalted ideals of ostensibly Platonic camaraderie can be summed up in a poem the magazine printed by a subscriber, the notorious homosexual Bois Burk, who expressed his debt to the directory in a couplet:

"A truly beautiful experience I think /
When true friends are made by pen and ink."

Family Members



Walter Frear 1828 - 1922
Fannie Foster Frear 1836 - 1924

Henrietta Frear 1865 - 1958

Frederic Burk 1862 - 1924
Caroline Frear Burk 1871 - 1954
Norval F Burk 1905 - 1987
Dean Burk 1904 - 1988
Bois Burk 1906 - 1993

Gravesite Details All are cremains.

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