Frank Gelett Burgess (January 30, 1866 - September 18, 1951) was an artist, art critic, poet, author, and humorist. He was born in Boston, and graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a B.S., in 1887.
It is reported that he lost his job as a technical drawing instructor at the University of California, Berkeley (1891-1894) because of unmentionable alterations of statues (he deliberately toppled several of them that he considered an eyesore) of Henry Cogswell, a famous Bay Area dentist who had donated several statues of himself to the city of San Francisco, California.
He is most famous for writing the poem Purple Cow: Reflections on a Mythic Beast Who's Quite Remarkable, at Least (in 1895), which initially appeared in The Lark, published in San Francisco:
Having become inextricably linked with this verse, he wrote the following Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background that I Rue:
He also wrote and illustrated several children's books about the habits of strange, baldheaded, idiosyncratic childlike creatures he called "The Goops" -- sort of a dark humor take on Miss Manners.
Of Queen Anne architecture he wrote:
An influential article by Burgess () The Wild Men of Paris (Architectural Record, May 1910), was the first introduction of cubist art in the United States. The article was drawn from interviews with Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Georges Braque.
The word "blurb", meaning a short description of a book, film, or other product written for promotional purposes, was coined by Burgess in 1907, in attributing the cover copy of his book, Are You a Bromide?, to a Miss Belinda Blurb.
He created the syndicated comic strip, Goops, in 1924, and worked on it through its end in 1925.
He also founded the San Francisco Boys' Club Association, now the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco, in 1891. The Club was the first of its kind west of the Mississippi.