From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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 of their workplaces were their true passions in life.[1][2] Occasionally, as with Lord Baden-Powell and others, a person who pursues an avocation is more remembered by history for their avocation than for their professional career.

Many times a person's regular vocation may lead to their avocation. Many forms of humanitarian campaigning, such as work for organizations such as 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[edit]

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[edit]


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


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
Blom, Gertrude Social anthropologist Journalist
Borodin, Alexander Composer Chemist
Butchart, Harvey Grand Canyon Explorer Mathematics Professor


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


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


Person Avocation Vocation
Eriugena, Johannes Scotus Theologian Poet


Person Avocation Vocation
Fermat, Pierre de Mathematician Lawyer
Franco, Veronica Poet Courtesan
Ford, Harrison Carpenter Actor


Person Avocation Vocation
Getty, J. Paul Art collector Oilman


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


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


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


Person Avocation Vocation
Kaleeba, Noerine activist physiotherapist
Kafka, Franz writer insurance assessor
King, Augusta Ada mathematician courtier
Kogan, Richard, M.D. pianist psychiatrist
Krakauer, Jon mountaineer journalist/writer


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


Person Avocation Vocation
Means, Gaston Con artist salesman


Person Avocation Vocation
Norton, Joshua A. Emperor of these United States businessman


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


Person Avocation Vocation
Peszke, Michael Alfred historian psychiatrist


Person Avocation Vocation
Quirinus of Neuss missionary tribune


Person Avocation Vocation
Reed, John Silas Revolutionary journalist
Roget, Peter Mark Lexicographer Physician
Ryan, Jeri Chef actress


Person Avocation Vocation
Saro-Wiwa, Ken Environmental activist Television producer
Shelley, Mary Political activist Author
Smith, Walter Parry Haskett Bouldering lawyer
Stevens, Wallace Poet Insurance executive[5]


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


Person Avocation Vocation
Ullman, Tracey knitter and author[6] actress


Person Avocation Vocation
Weller, Peter Art historian actor
Wells, Ida B. suffragette Journalist
White, Henry fox hunter diplomat
Whorf, Benjamin Lee Linguist fire prevention engineer
Williams, William Carlos Poet Pediatrician[5]


Person Avocation Vocation
Xenakis, Iannis composer architect


Person Avocation Vocation
Yada, Lena surfer model, actress


Person Avocation Vocation
Zappa, Frank 20th-century composer Popular music (composer, performer, producer)

Fictional people whose avocations were not their vocations[edit]

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

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  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 2007-07-04. 
  4. ^ Craig Giammona. "Avocation in Wood". Bowdoin. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Neary, Lynn (6 September 2016). "Idea For 'Gentleman in Moscow' Came From Many Nights in Luxury Hotels". National Public Radio (Morning Edition). Retrieved 2016-09-06. 
  6. ^ "Tracey Ullman Takes on Knitting". NPR. NPR.org. Retrieved 14 September 2015.