American First Lady Bess Truman with Girl Scouts and their volunteer leaders
American First Lady Bess Truman with Girl Scouts and their volunteer leaders

An avocation is an activity that someone engages in as a hobby outside their main occupation. There are many examples of people whose professions were the ways that they made their livings, but for whom their activities outside their workplaces were their true passions in life.[1][2] Occasionally, as with Lord Baden-Powell and others, people who pursue an avocation are more remembered by history for their avocation than for their professional career.

Many times a person's regular vocation may lead to an avocation. Many forms of humanitarian campaigning, such as work for organizations like Amnesty International and Greenpeace, may be done by people involved in the law or human rights issues as part of their work.[3]

Many people involved with youth work pursue this as an avocation.[4]

Avocation in literature

But yield who will to their separation,
My object in living is to unite
My avocation and my vocation
As my two eyes make one in sight.
Only where love and need are one,
And the work is play for mortal stakes,
Is the deed ever really done
For heaven and the future's sakes.

— Robert Frost, Two Tramps in Mud Time, st. 9

People whose avocations were not their vocations

A

August Wilhelm Ambros
Person Avocation Vocation
Adams, Frederick luthier physician
Allen, Woody jazz musician filmmaker
Alston, Joseph Cameron badminton player federal agent
Ambros, August Wilhelm musical archaeologist Austrian civil service

B

Baden-Powell, Robert
Person Avocation Vocation
Baden-Powell, Robert Scouting Military Officer
Balzary, Michael non-profit Management Musician
Barr, William Bagpiper Attorney
Benedetto, Anthony Painter Singer
Bennett, William Clarinetist Physicist
Billroth, Theodor Pianist Surgeon
Blades, Rubén Activist Musician
Blom, Gertrude Social anthropologist Journalist
Borodin, Alexander Composer Chemist
Brontë, Charlotte Author Governess
Butchart, Harvey Grand Canyon Explorer Mathematics Professor

C

Copernicus
Person Avocation Vocation
Carpenter, Charles naturalist minister
Chekhov, Anton writer, playwright physician
Copeland, Johnny boxer blues guitarist
Copernicus, Nicolaus Astronomer Roman Catholic cleric
Cervantes, Miguel Writer Marine

D

Olivia d'Abo
Person Avocation Vocation
d'Abo, Olivia singer-songwriter Actress
Darger, Henry Author, Illustrator Custodian
Derleth, August naturalist Novelist
Duncan, Watson Actor Professor

E

Johannes Scotus Eriugena
Person Avocation Vocation
Eriugena, Johannes Scotus Theologian Courtier

F

Veronica Franco
Person Avocation Vocation
Fermat, Pierre de Mathematician Lawyer
Foecke, Tim Whittler, Wooden Toy Maker Metallurgist
Franco, Veronica Poet Courtesan
Ford, Harrison Carpenter, Pilot Actor
Feynman, Richard[5] Drummer Physicist

G

J. Paul Getty
Person Avocation Vocation
Getty, J. Paul Art collector Oilman
Gilbert, William natural philosopher Physician
Goldblum, Jeff jazz musician Actor
Grahame, Kenneth writer Bank of England executive

H

Hilda Hewlett
Person Avocation Vocation
Hass, Rudolph botany letter carrier
Hewlett, Hilda woodwork, metalwork aviatrice
Hillary, Sir Edmund mountaineer beekeeper
Hohlbaum, Robert writer librarian
Houston, Charles mountaineer physician

I

Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres
Person Avocation Vocation
Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique violinist painter
Ives, Charles composer insurance agent

J

Brian Jacques
Person Avocation Vocation
Jacques, Brian author milkman
Jędruch, Jacek historian Nuclear engineer

K

Ada Lovelace
Person Avocation Vocation
Kaleeba, Noerine activist physiotherapist
Kafka, Franz writer insurance assessor
Kent, Corita Artist, printmaker Roman Catholic Nun
King, Augusta Ada mathematician courtier
Kogan, Richard, M.D. pianist psychiatrist
Krakauer, Jon mountaineer journalist/writer
Kruger, Barbara artist graphic designer

L

Hedy Lamarr
Person Avocation Vocation
Lamarr, Hedy Inventor Actress
Lifton, Robert Jay Cartoonist Psychiatrist
Lluberas, Gerónimo musician physician
Luna, James artist counselor

M

Gaston Means
Person Avocation Vocation
Maier, Vivian Photographer au pair
Means, Gaston Con artist salesman
Morrison, Toni Author editor
Moses, Anna Mary Robertson Painter farmer

N

Emperor Norton
Person Avocation Vocation
Norton, Joshua A. Eccentric (self-declared "Emperor of these United States") businessman

O

Ottendorfer, Anna
Person Avocation Vocation
Obici, Amedeo farmer businessman
Ottendorfer, Anna philanthropist journalist

P

Michael Alfred Peszke
Person Avocation Vocation
Peszke, Michael Alfred historian psychiatrist
Pekar, Harvey comic book writer file clerk

Q

Quirinus
Person Avocation Vocation
Quirinus of Neuss missionary tribune

R

Jeri Ryan
Person Avocation Vocation
Radi, Akbar Playwright teacher
Rodriguez, Sixto Folk Musician Demolition worker
Roget, Peter Mark Lexicographer Physician
Rousseau, Henri Painter Tax Collector
Ryan, Jeri Chef actress

S

Shelley, Mary
Person Avocation Vocation
Santos, Reynaldo dos Art historian Physician
Saro-Wiwa, Ken Environmental activist Television producer
Shelley, Mary Political activist Author
Silva, Inocêncio Francisco da Bibliographer Clerk
Smith, Walter Parry Haskett Bouldering lawyer
Stevens, Wallace Poet Insurance executive[6]

T

Tolkien, J. R. R.
Person Avocation Vocation
Thomas, Jean folk festival promoter stenographer
Tov, Baal Shem arbitrator and mediator Rabbi
Tolkien, J. R. R. novelist Philologist
Trollope, Anthony novelist Royal Mail executive

U

Tracey Ullman
Person Avocation Vocation
Ullman, Tracey knitter and author[7] actress

V

Jean-Claude Van Damme
Person Avocation Vocation
Van Damme, Jean-Claude martial artist actor

W

Wells, Ida B.
Person Avocation Vocation
Weller, Peter Art historian actor
Wells, Ida B. suffragette Journalist
White, Henry fox hunter diplomat
White, Kate author editor-in-chief
Whorf, Benjamin Lee Linguist fire prevention engineer
Williams, William Carlos Poet Pediatrician[6]

X

Xenakis, Iannis
Person Avocation Vocation
Xenakis, Iannis composer architect

Y

Yada, Lena
Person Avocation Vocation
Yada, Lena surfer model, actress

Fictional people whose avocations were not their vocations

Bruce Wayne as his alter ego Batman
Bruce Wayne as his alter ego Batman
Person Avocation Vocation
Kent, Clark / Kal-El Superhero Reporter
Stark, Tony Superhero Industrialist
Wayne, Bruce crime fighter Philanthropist/Industrialist/Heir
Quijano, Alonso Knight-errant Hidalgo
Schrute, Dwight Beet farmer Paper salesman

See also

References

  1. ^ Travis Saunders. "Avocation-vs-vocation". Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  2. ^ Robert Miller (10 February 2010). "Your avocation may save your life". The News-Times. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  3. ^ Boyd, B (20 October 2006). "A secret history of the old Ball game". Irish Times. Retrieved 4 July 2007.
  4. ^ Craig Giammona. "Avocation in Wood". Bowdoin. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  5. ^ Gleick, James (1992). Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman. Pantheon Books. p. 296. ISBN 978-0-679-40836-9. OCLC 243743850.
  6. ^ a b Neary, Lynn (6 September 2016). "Idea For 'Gentleman in Moscow' Came From Many Nights in Luxury Hotels". National Public Radio. No. Morning Edition. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  7. ^ "Tracey Ullman Takes on Knitting". NPR. NPR.org. Retrieved 14 September 2015.