C. John Burk and Lâle Burk papers
Scope and Contents
This collection contains the records of C. John Burk and Lâle Burk, primarily relating to their roles as academic scholars and as faculty members at Smith College. Materials include academic publications, field data with descriptive notes, correspondence, photographs, research files, drafts of unpublished books, and publications relating to Smith College.
Dates of Materials
- Creation: 1940 - 2022
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that they own copyright, Lâle Burk has licensed these materials to be freely used, so long as the user attributes materials' original authorship. This agreement is governed by a CC-BY (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International) license. Copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by C. John Burk or Lâle Burk, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Biographical / Historical
Carl John Burk (C. John Burk) joined the Department of Botany at Smith in 1961 and retired as the Elise Damon Simonds Professor in 2009. Burk was born on December 30, 1935 in Troy, Ohio to Carl John Burk and Louise Harris Burk. He got his Bachelor’s degree from Miami University (Ohio) in 1957, then got his Master’s and PhD from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 1959 and 1961 respectively.
Burk met his wife, Lâle, in 1962 when she began studying for her master’s degree in Chemistry at Smith. The couple got married in 1966 and had two sons, John Seljuk and Nicholas Murat.
Burk’s research interests included botany, biogeography, and ecology of coastal areas and freshwater wetlands. He taught plant systematics and plant ecology at Smith for decades, as well as other courses in biogeography and conservation. Burk created the course “Conservation of Natural Resources” in 1962, which was one of the first courses in sustainability at Smith. He later was associated with the establishment of Marine Sciences, Public Policy, and Environmental Science and Policy programs.
Burk conducted research across Western Massachusetts, particularly at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary in Easthampton and near various wetlands around the Mill River. Burk also conducted research on the Elbe river in Germany in collaboration with Dr. Kai Jensen.
After his retirement from Smith College in 2009, Burk continued to conduct research and work in collaboration with both Marjorie Holland and Kai Jensen on their project comparing marsh vegetation near the Connecticut River and Elbe River.
Positions held at Smith College: Instructor 1961-1963 Assistant Professor 1963-1968 Associate Professor 1968-1973 Professor 1973-2009 Gates Professor 1982-1997 Elise Damon Simonds Professor in Life Sciences 1997-2009
Katharine Asher Engel Lecturer 1987-1988 Acting Chairman, Department of Biological Sciences 1970-1971 Chairman, Department of Biological Sciences 1972-1975, 1983-1986, 1995-1998
Source: “Carl John Burk (1935-2022).” Daily Hampshire Gazette. August 8, 2022.
Lâle Aka Burk graduated from Smith College in 1964 with a Master’s degree in Chemistry, and she later returned to teach in the department of Chemistry from 1968 to 2013. Burk was born and raised in Turkey, although she briefly lived in Flushing, New York as a child.
Lâle Burk graduated from the American College in Istanbul in 1962 and came to Smith College the same year to pursue a PhD in Chemistry. Burk received her Master’s degree from Smith in 1964 and her PhD from the Four-College Consortium in 1969.
Lâle met her husband C. John Burk in 1962 when she first came to Smith College. The couple got married in 1966 and have two sons, John Seljuk and Nicholas Murat.
Burk was first hired in 1968 as a research associate and postdoctoral fellow but was later made a permanent faculty member of the Department of Chemistry in 1972. She taught numerous courses in the Department of Chemistry, including organic chemistry, classes on perfumery, and a class about art preservation and restoration.
Source: Parr, Molly. “A Career in Chemistry That Still Inspires.” Smith College.
15.208 linear feet (23 containers)
Language of Materials
Carl John Burk (C. John Burk) joined the Department of Botany at Smith in 1961 and retired as the Elise Damon Simonds Professor in 2009. His wife, Lâle Aka Burk graduated from Smith College in 1964 with a Master’s degree in Chemistry, and she later returned to teach in the department of Chemistry from 1968 to 2013. This collection contains the records of C. John Burk and Lâle Burk, primarily relating to their roles as academic scholars and as faculty members at Smith College.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
A small amount of material was donated by C. John Burk in 2007 and the bulk of the collection was donated by Lâle Burk in 2023. An oral history was donated by C. John Burk and Kelly Anderson in 2018.
During accessioning about 1 linear foot of faculty and student personnel records were separated and shredded.
When the records of C. John Burk and Lâle Burk were recieved in 2023, materials from a previous accession in 2007 were separated from the Faculty and Staff Biographical files (CA-MS-01008) and combined with the 2023 accession to create this collection (CA-MS-01223).
In 2023, Two Botany notebooks belonging to Wilma Ridgway (class of 1910) and various botanical drawings belonging to Mary Vining Thayer (class of 1890) were separated from the 2007 accession and added to the Class of 1910 and Class of 1890 records respectively.
One folder of correspondence belonging to Professor Frances Grace Smith was separated from the 2023 accession and added to the Frances Grace Smith papers (CA-MS-00143).
- Finding aid to the C. John Burk and Lâle Burk papers.
- Grace Phippard
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
Part of the Smith College Archives Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063