07 November 2006

Tolling bells

From Jenny Davidson I learn that Ernestine Gilbreth Carey died on Saturday:
[Her father] Frank Bunker Gilbreth believed that the factory management principles he espoused to his clients could also be applied to his family of six girls and six boys, produced in 17 years; Lillian Moller Gilbreth, who had a Ph.D. from Brown University (earned around 1915, while she had several children at home), was an industrial psychologist and an engineering expert. Mr. Gilbreth died of a heart attack in 1924 at 55, the day after Mrs. Carey graduated from high school; his wife died in 1972 at 93.

Mrs. Carey’s brother Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. received first billing as a co-author, and the book’s narrative voice is decidedly unified, never betraying who wrote what. Nevertheless, Mrs. Carey wrote other books (as did her brother, who died in 2001), including “Jumping Jupiter,” “Rings Around Us” and “Giddy Moment.”
If you have no idea who I'm talking about, go pick up copies of Cheaper by the Dozen, Belles on Their Toes, and Time Out for Happiness *immediately*. A while ago I mentioned how much funnier a book can be when read aloud as opposed to read to oneself. The first two in this list definitely fit that category. Growing up in a family of seven, it was a joy and relief to read about the exploits of the pioneers of motion study. We owe the Gilbreths quite a lot--everything from the modern kitchen to flip-top garbage cans!

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