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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Margaret Tante Burk papers
    Dates: 1921-2008
    Bulk Dates: 1921-2008
    Collection number: 084
    Creator: Burk, Margaret Tante
    Collection Size: 102 archival boxes 15 oversize boxes, 1 map case drawer
    Repository: Loyola Marymount University. William H. Hannon Library. Department of Archives and Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90045-2659
    Abstract: This collection consists of the personal papers of Margaret Tante Burk, author, and long-time publicist and champion of Los Angeles' famed Ambassador Hotel. Besides these notable accomplishments, Margaret Tante Burke served as the first female vice-president of a financial institution in Los Angeles and the first female president of the Wilshire Chamber of Commerce. In addition Margaret Tante Burk was co-founder of the literary forum, the Round Table West. The Burk Papers consist of correspondence, photographs, flyers, brouchures, postcards, memoranda, and ephemera.
    Physical location: Collection stored on site. Appointment is necessary to consult the collection.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English

    Access

    Collection is open to research under the terms of use of the Department of Archives and Special Collections, Loyola Marymount University.

    Publication Rights

    Materials in the Department of Archives and Special Collections may be subject to copyright. Unless explicitly stated otherwise, Loyola Marymount University does not claim ownership of the copyright of any materials in its collections. The user or publisher must secure permission to publish from the copyright owner. Loyola Marymount University does not assume any responsibility for infringement of copyright or of publication rights held by the original author or artists or his/her heirs, assigns, or executors.
    The Department of Archives and Special Collections reserves the right not to make copies of any materials in this collection for which copyright is uncertain.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Series number, Box and Folder number, Margaret Tante Burk papers, 084, Department of Archives and Special Collections, William H. Hannon Library, Loyola Marymount University.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Margaret Tante Burk, 2009.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Margaret Tante Burk was born in Savannah, Georgia, in 1918. She attended Northwestern University and Chicago Art Institute before moving to California where she settled in Los Angeles.
    Margaret Tante married Harry J. Burk in 1945. The couple had three children Tray, Linda, and Jimmy, and the family resided in Wilshire Park. She was vice-president of their Burk Enterprises, which included the one hundred room Lebec Hotel, real estate development, and a restaurant.
    In 1964, Burk started working as an assistant at the Huntington Savings and Loan Association. She was quickly promoted to vice president and manager of the Wilshire-Highland branch and by the end of 1965, she became vice president and director of public relations for the entire association. These promotions were distinctive, for Margaret Tante Burk was one of the first female vice-presidents of a financial institution in the Southern California.
    While working at the Huntington Savings and Loan, Burk became involved in the Wilshire Center Chamber of Commerce and in 1969, she was elected as the first female president of the chamber. Her previous work for the Wilshire Center of Chamber of Commerce as Chair of the Governmental Affairs Committee and of the General Membership Speaker Committee and as a member of the Transportation and Parking Committee had paved the way for this presidency.
    Among her other distinctive firsts, Margaret Tante Burk also managed to become the first woman voted in to the Lions Club International.
    In 1974, in an indication of her prominence in the business world and her important connections, Margaret Tante Burk was nominated to be Treasurer of the United States in the Richard Nixon Administration.
    In 1969, Burk became the public relations director for the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove, where she worked in some capacity until 1990. During her time with the Ambassador Hotel, Burk scheduled and coordinated hundreds of events such as award shows, fashion shows and conventions. Her work as publicist for the hotel earned her national advertising awards and public relations awards. For example, in 1971 she received the Hotel-Motel National Public Relations Gold Key, a signal honor in her profession.
    After the hotel closed in 1989, Burk continued to book the hotel as a filming location. Numerous movies and television shows were filmed there including Pretty Woman and The Aviator .
    Margaret Tante Burk's love for the hotel and appreciation of its history prompted her to write and publish a book entitled Are the Stars Out Tonight?: The Story of the World Famous Ambassador and Cocoanut Grove Hollywood's Hotel . This book includes a history, photographs and anecdotes about the hotel and the Cocoanut Grove. Besides writing this book, Margaret Tante Burk also authored two other books, was a columnist for Meredith Publications, and contributed to such publications as Variety and the Hollywood Reporter.
    Margaret Tante Burk co-founded her own public relations firm, Burk-Hudson Public Relations, with Marylin Hudson in 1972. Their clients included the Tony Marks Accounting Firm, Iran National Tourist Organization, California Senior Beauty Pageant and Summit Lighthouse. Their public relations firm worked out of the Ambassador Hotel.
    Along with Adela Rogers St. Johns and Marylin Hudson, Margaret Tante Burk founded the Round Table West in 1977. A sophisticated book club, the Round Table West hosted famous authors such as Ray Bradbury, Walter Cronkite, Maya Angelou and Michael Crichton and served as a platform for authors to meet their readers and promote and discuss their books. At one point, with three meetings a month respectively in Newport Beach, Palm Springs, and Los Angeles, Round Table West was the largest book club in the country.
    The philanthropic and community contributions of Margaret Tante Burk are numerous; the following is just a sample. She founded the Hancock Park Art Council and the Huntington Organ Society. She served as the fund-raising chair for the Children's Home Society of Bakersfield. She was also a board member of the Professional Women to the Philharmonic and the Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society.
    Margaret Tante Burk passed away in 2011.

    Chronology

    1919 Birth of Margaret Tante Burk
    1945 Married Harry J. Burk
    1964 Began working at Huntington Savings and Loan Association
    1965 Opened the Wilshire Highland office of the Huntington Park Savings and Loan in her capacity as vice-president and also manager of this branch.
    1966 Became Vice President for Public Relations for the entire Huntington Park Savings and Loan.
    1969 Became Public Relations Director for the Ambassador Hotel
      Elected as first female President of the Wilshire Chamber of Commerce
    1972 Co-Founded Burk-Hudson Public Relations Firm
    1974 Nominated for post of Treasurer of the United States of America
    1977 Co-Founded the Round Table West with Adela Rodgers St. Johns
    1980 Published Are the Stars Out Tonight?: The Story of the World Famous Ambassador and Cocoanut Grove Hollywood's Hotel
    2011 Margaret Tante Burk passes away

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Margaret Tante Burk Papers consist of correspondence, newletters, memoranda, scripts, advertising brochures and magazines, press releases, photographs,ephemera, postcards, and flyers. Most of the material documents the Ambassador Hotel, once Los Angeles' most glamorous hotel; Margaret Tante Burk's book on the Ambassador Hotel, Are the Stars Out Tonight?: The Story of the World Famous Ambassador and Cocoanut Grove Hollywood's Hotel; and the Round Table West, the book club that Margaret Tante Burk co-founded with Marilyn Hudson. Information on Margaret Tante Burk's career at the Wilshire Chamber of Commerce and the Huntington Savings and Loan Association comes mostly from newspaper clippings.
    In addition there are numerous photographs documenting the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove. The Ambassador Hotel opened in 1921 and closed in 1989. Located at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, the hotel stood as a hub of Los Angeles social life. The hotel and its famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub was a center of Hollywood night life. The hotel hosted Academy Awards ceremonies and other entertainment events, such as film shoots; political rallies; and fundraisers for charities. Performers such as Bing Crosby, Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra, and Rudy Vallee performed at the Cocoanut Grove. Movie stars, politicians, and royalty all stayed at the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel was also the scene of one of the more important events in Los Angeles and national history: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. The photographs of this collection are especially rich, documenting the activities of these Hollywood movie stars and events at the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove. There are photographs of Academy Awards ceremonies at the Ambassador, for example. In addition there are a number of photographic stills of movie stars, eg, Joan Crawford. Numerous photographs also provide evidence for the decoration of hotel rooms and the hotel grounds during the course of its history, and publicity shots document activities at the hotel. Many photographs, unfortunately, are water damaged, and require special care in handling.
    Ephemera include menus from the Ambassador Hotel and programs concerning Ambassador Hotel events. Most flyers concern either the Round Table West and its events or else advertisements for events at the Ambassador Hotel.
    The Ambassador Hotel opened in 1921 and closed in 1989. Located at 3400 Wilshire Boulevard, the hotel stood as a hub of Los Angeles social life. It and its famous Cocoanut Grove nightclub was a center of Hollywood night life. The hotel hosted Academy Awards ceremonies and other entertainment events, such as film shoots; political rallies; and fundraisers for charities. Performers such as Bing Crosby, Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra, and Rudy Vallee performed at the Cocoanut Grove. Movie stars, politicians, and royalty all stayed at the Ambassador Hotel. The hotel was also the scene of one of the more important events in Los Angeles and national history: the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968. The photographs of this collection are especially rich, documenting the activities of these Hollywood movie stars and events at the Ambassador Hotel and the Cocoanut Grove. There are photographs of Academy Awards ceremonies at the Ambassador, for example. In addition there are a number of photographic stills of movie stars, eg, Joan Crawford. Numerous photographs also provide evidence for the decoration of hotel rooms and the hotel grounds during the course of its history, and publicity shots document activities at the hotel. Many photographs, unfortunately, are water damaged, and require special care in handling.
    The dates of materials range from 1921 to the early 2000's.

    Arrangement

    Ten series of the Margaret Tante Burk Papers have been processed and made avaliable to researchers.
    • Series 1: The Ambassador Hotel
    • Series 2: The Ambassador Hotel Film Production Prospectus
    • Series 3: Round Table West
    • Series 4: Ambassador Hotel Book
    • Series 5: Photographs. Subseries A. Photographs: Personages and Celebrities; Subseries B. Photographs: Ambassador Hotel and Cocoanut Grove
    • Series 6: Personal and Professional Papers
    • Series 7: Huntington Park Savings and Loan Association
    • Series 8: Professional and Civic Activities. Subseries A: Wilshire Center Chamber of Commerce; Subseries B: Hancock Park Historical Society; Subseries C: Community Advisory Board
    • Series 9: Other Book Projects. Subseries A: Burk-Davis Publications; Subseries B: Final Curtain; Subseries C: Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital Book; Subseries D: Catalina Book
    • Series 10: Script Developments

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Burk, Margaret Tante
    Ambassador Hotel
    Hotels - California - Los Angeles
    Cocoanut Grove (Los Angeles, Calif.)
    Motion Picture Industry - California - Los Angeles
    Motion Picture Actors and Actresses
    Actors
    Entertainers
    Round Table West
    Wilshire Chamber of Commerce - Los Angeles (Calif.)
    Publicity
    Public Relations