March 20, 2022

Take time to read about a time-saving leader

Women’s History Month is a great time to rediscover Lillian Gillbreth. We can credit her with the kitchen triangle, refrigerator door shelves and many other time-saving ideas. 

1950s Cheaper by Dozen film Gilbreth family

2022 Cheaper by Dozen Baker family
2022 Cheaper By Dozen Baker family
2003 Cheaper by Dozen Baker family

But most probably remember her as the mother in Cheaper By the Dozen. There was the 1950 movie and a 2003 version. And Disney just released a new version  of the story about a family of 12 run by committees and time-saving accomplishments. Only the first movie is an actual biography of the family; the last two are loosely based on the family. .

Girl Scout role blooms

I’m grateful the release prompted historian Ann Robertson’s latest blog post. She shares how Gilbreth reluctantly volunteered to help Girl Scouts. Gilbreth soon branched from the role chosen for her to many pwithin Girl Scouts.  A familiar path for many volunteers. 

Then Robertson deepened the rabbit hole with some curated links with many more insights. The most indepth is a web site devoted just to the family. Go there last as the others are worth a click and a read  

Just like a woman

No surprise - the world notices her accomplishments more once she is single again. Her first two books left her name off as author to “make the book credible.”

Discrimination began with her family which put up roadblocks to her educational plans. The local newspaper got its dig in for her wedding: 

"Although a graduate of the University of California, the bride is nonetheless an extremely attractive woman." 

Death strengthens credibility

 After her husband's death, she received more credit for her work. She also became an advocate for others. After a consulting job that included rocvomendations and a study on menustration pads, she suggested Johndon and Johnson should hire more women on staff if its plans included feminine hygene products.

Those last two nuggets came from Mamma Mia.   And now you know where my Saturday night went - learning lots about  Lillian Gilbreth. I’ll remember her every time my foot opens the trash basket.


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