Harvey J. Burgess was born in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania in 1886 and lived there until his death in 1960. He performed in vaudeville from 1903-1913. Prior to his work in vaudeville he had been employed as a grocery store clerk. Billing himself as "The Clever Tossing Kid", his act combined skilled juggling with a comedic routine. He toured extensively throughout the Pittsburgh region (see Appendix for a list of regional theatres referenced) and in neighboring states including many excursions into the Midwest. In 1913, he lost his eyesight and had to retire from the stage. His sight was eventually restored enough for him to obtain a job at the Swissvale Post Office, where he became Postmaster and worked for 27 years. In 1916, Harvey Burgess ran for Burgess of Wilkinsburg, but was unsuccessful because of his stage background.
Although Burgess's theatrical career was short-lived it appeared to have been quite successful. In addition to his full performance schedule, his act garnered rave reviews from both the press and theatre managers.