5018 63rd Street, Woodside, NY
Hill House, Halcyon, Oceano, CA 93445, and later Paso Robles St & CA-1, Oceano, CA 93445
Columbia University, 116th St & Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Long Island National Cemetery East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Edmund Tolk (March 10, 1910 - June 19, 1985) was a brilliant and highly regarded German scholar
Edmund Eisen Tolk was born in Hamburg, Germany, on March 10, 1910. Tolk did his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Berlin. He left Germany in the early 1930s.
By 1940, Thomas Handforth had returned to the US and bought property in Avila, California, with his lover, Edmund Eisen Tolk. The couple led an interesting and successful life, befriending talented people such as the lesbian mystic poet Ella Young, who was introduced to them by their Seattle friend Richard Bennett.
Richard Bennett joined his friends Thomas Handforth and Edmund Tolk, in an eight-month teaching position at Seeman School in El Monte, California. The experimental school was geared twoard educating young men with special needs.
The couple's idyllic existence was ended in 1942 when Tolk, who was born in Germany, enlisted in the American military in service to his adopted homeland. He was allowed to serve even though he was not an American citizen. However, after his discharge he was unable to remain in Avila because of its coastal location and his alien status, even though he had served this country during the war.
After Bennett returned to Robe Ranch in spring 1944, Handforth became ill with scarlet fever and convalesced with care provided by Guy Anderson and Bennett in their cabin. In 1945, Tolk was an interpreter in Camp Hartford, a branch German prison-of-war near Hartford, WI. At the time he was living at Hill House, Oceano, an house owned by Gavin Arthur. In 1946 the two men sold the Avila house and Tolk accepted a professorship at Manhattan College as a German scholar in 1947. Tom moved to a secluded property at Menlo Park in Northern California, where his health began to deteriorate, likely from the scarlet fever's debilitating effects on his heart. He died of heart attack in Los Angeles at age 51 in 1948.
Edmund Tolk went on to receive his PhD at Columbia University in 1954. He remained a highly regarded professor at Manhattan College until retiring in 1980 as Professor Emeritus of German. At Manhattan College, Tolk was the founder of the liberal arts program in which he taught courses in world literature. Since the late 1950s, he developed intense interest in the Arab world through study and extensive travel in the Middle East.
He died on June 19, 1985 at 75 years old.
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