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Mary K. Burk Papers, circa 1897-1983

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Burk, Mary K. (Mary Katherine)
Title
Mary K. Burk Papers
Dates
circa 1897-1983 (inclusive)
Quantity
1 linear ft., (3 boxes)
Collection Number
XOE_SC0004BurkMK
Summary
The Mary K. Burk Papers consist of personal and family papers, as well as newspaper articles and clippings documenting people and activities in northern Whatcom County, Washington.
Repository
Western Washington University, Heritage Resources
Center for Pacific Northwest Studies
Goltz-Murray Building
808 25th St
Bellingham, WA
98225-9123
Telephone: 360-650-7747
Heritage.Resources@wwu.edu
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Mary K. (Mary Katherine) Burk was a rural school teacher and administrator, dairy farmer, neighborhood chronicler, and tireless supporter of the grange movement in northwestern Washington State. Her father, Martin Burk, immigrated to the U. S. from Germany in 1880 and, in 1886, established a homestead in the Sunrise area of Whatcom County near the town of Lynden. In 1894, Martin married Marie Annette Mayer, and the couple went on to have five children. Mary Katherine was the third, born on November 13, 1898 in the log house on her family’s pioneer farm.

Mary attended the one-room Sunrise Grade School, followed by Lynden High School where she graduated in 1916. In 1918, she received an elementary teaching diploma from the Washington State Normal School at Bellingham (now Western Washington University). Over the next 23 years, Mary taught and served as principal in several rural Whatcom County schools including the North Star, Haynie Grange, and Sunshine schools.

After teaching, Mary began a 40-year career as a dairy farmer, independently managing a herd of Jersey cows. In 1920, she began submitting columns to the Lynden Tribune concerning happenings in the Sunrise/Delta area, an activity she continued for the next 57 years. She also contributed articles to the Bellingham Herald, the Ferndale Record, and the Blaine Journal. Much of her reporting focused on the Delta Grange, organized in 1926, which she served as secretary from 1929 to 1972. She also wrote about weddings, anniversaries, and the various activities of her family, friends, and neighbors.

In 1973, Mary Burk received the Gold Sheaf pin recognizing 50 years of continuous service to the Delta Grange. She was also a 50-year member of the Rebekah Lodge of Custer, Washington, a participant in activities of the Clam Diggers Association of descendants of county pioneers and the Whatcom County Old Settlers' Association, and a supporter of agricultural cooperatives such as the Western Farmers Association and Northwest Dairymen's Association.

Mary K. Burk, known to her extended family as "Aunt May," died in Bellingham, Wash., on June 7, 1979, at the age of 80.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Mary K. Burk Papers date from around 1897 to 1983, and consist of Mary’s personal papers, family materials, and newspaper articles and clippings. The personal papers are comprised of correspondence, bank records, employment contracts, photographs, and memorabilia including World War II ration coupons and travel souvenirs. Burk family materials include census records, insurance and tax documents, estate materials, and stock certificates. The majority of the collection is comprised of newspaper clippings either written by or about Mary K. Burk, her family, their acquaintances, and other local interests including, in particular, the Delta Grange.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Material in the collection may be subject to copyright restrictions.

Preferred Citation

Mary K. Burk Papers, Western Libraries Special Collections, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series I :  Burk (Mary K.) personal paperscirca 1916-1977Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Bank records
1919-1977
1/2
Contracts
1932-1961
1/3
Correspondence
circa 1935-1975
1/4
Memorabilia, including degrees, awards and certificates, travel souvenirs, and World War II ration coupons
circa 1898-1974
1/5-1/7
Photographs (some identified)
circa 1916-1972
OV/1
Photograph titled "Normal Class '97" with individual identified
NOTE: this is not Bellingham Normal
1897

Series II :  Burk family paperscirca 1902-1978Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/1
Census documents
1917
2/2
Income tax documents
1939-1979
2/3
Insurance documents
1927-1978
2/4
Martin and Marie A. Burk estate materials
1947
2/5
Property records
circa 1902-1954
2/6
Real estate tax documents
1943-1983
2/7
Stock certificates
circa 1926-1955

Series III :  Newspaperscirca 1960-1975Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
2/8
Articles by Mary Burk re: Delta Grange
circa 1960s-1970s
2/9
Articles about Mary Burk
circa 1960s-1970s
2/10
Articles about Burk family members
circa 1960s-1970s
2/11
Miscellaneous clippings
circa 1960s-1970s
2/12
Obituaries
circa 1960s-1970s
OV/2-OV/3
Scrapbooks of clippings by or about Mary Burk, local topics and individuals, and the Delta Grange
circa 1960s-1970s