It is with deep sorrow that we report
the passing of Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. Mr. Gilbreth
died on February 18 2001 while out playing a round of
golf. He leaves us, one month shy of his 90th
Frank is best known as the co-author of Cheaper by
the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes,
both written with his sister, Ernestine G. Carey.
After their collaboration, he went on to write many
more equally humorous books, such as Innside
Nantucket and Time Out for Happiness.
When not writing books, he wrote a newspaper
column, in Charleston, South Carolina, under the
pseudonym of Ashley Cooper.
In his writing, Frank was not beyond spinning a tall
the best tradition of his New England roots. He was
fond of saying that while his stories werent
necessarily the gospel truth, his version was funnier.
We will miss Frank Gilbreth, not only for his support of
the Gilbreth Network, but for the many laughs he left
behind for us. Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.
(3/17/11 to 2/18/01).
(Tribute by David Ferguson, Coordinator, Gilbreth
Author, columnist Gilbreth dies
Ashley Cooper wrote 'Doing the Charleston'
Monday, February 19,
BY CHARLES R. ROWE
Gilbreth Jr., best-selling author and long-time columnist
for The Post and Courier, died Sunday. He was 89.
Gilbreth was the retired
assistant publisher of The Post and Courier and vice
president of Evening Post Publishing Co., and helped
direct this newspaper's growth for decades.
He was best known locally for
his column, "Doing the Charleston," which he
wrote under the pen name of Ashley Cooper from the late
1940s until 1993.
"He was a rare and
wonderful individual and a superb newspaperman - as well
as a purist in both the spoken and written word of the
English language," said Peter Manigault, chairman of
the board of Evening Post Publishing Company. "He
was a good friend to all of us."
Gilbreth was born March 17,
1911, in Plainfield, N.J., a son of Frank B. Gilbreth, a
time-study expert who originated "motion study"
at the turn of the century, and Lillian M. Gilbreth, who
worked with her husband and went on to become a prominent
educator and management consultant after his death.
In 1949, Gilbreth and his
sister, Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, collaborated in writing
"Cheaper by the Dozen," their story of growing
up in a family of 12 children with "efficiency
It was a best seller, as was its
sequel, "Belles on their Toes." Both were made
He subsequently wrote eight
other books. Four of his books were listed on The New
York Times best-seller list; three were condensed by
Reader's Digest. In 1998 he was named to the South
Carolina Academy of Authors.
His newspaper column
incorporated humor, editorial commentary and broad reader
participation, and was one of the longest running columns
in American newspaper history. In it, Gilbreth left an
indelible mark on the Charleston community.
He also compiled the Dictionary
of Charlestonese, a pamphlet that poked fun at the
Charleston accent. To date, it has sold more than 200,000
copies, the proceeds of which are donated to the
newspaper's Good Cheer Fund. He also contributed articles
to the op-ed page and Sunday magazine of The New York
Evening Post Publishing Company
President Ivan V. Anderson Jr., whom Gilbreth convinced
to leave banking for newspapers, said: "I wouldn't
be in this wonderful newspaper business if it weren't for
Frank. He tried to teach me how to balance business
interests with journalistic integrity. This city is
bereft of a hero and a man who kept us, and me, from
taking ourselves too seriously."
Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley
Jr. described Gilbreth as "an extraordinary force in
the Charleston community for two generations."
"His vision of Charleston,
his understanding of what Charleston could be was very
profound," Mayor Riley said, adding that Gilbreth's
column "was the most influential space in the
"He was a national literary
figure and his writings have sold millions of copies.
He's made millions of people laugh and cry and made their
hearts warm. We were so lucky that he adopted Charleston.
He made Charleston a better and finer community."
Former Charleston Mayor J.
Palmer Gaillard Jr. said: "Frank Gilbreth was
without a doubt the best man for putting thoughts on
paper that I have ever known. He epitomized the old
saying that the pen is mightier than the sword. I've lost
a good friend and he will be missed by this
"Heaven knows he knew this
community so well," U.S. Sen. Ernest F. Hollings
said. "His writing was just as if he were talking to
you. He was the finest."
Post and Courier Editor Barbara
S. Williams described Gilbreth as a "consummate
newsman who loved this business, this newspaper and this
"No one knew better how to
engage and entertain our readers. Mr. Gilbreth used his
wit and his way with words to mount crusades that were of
enormous benefit to this community," Williams said.
"His journalistic standards were the highest and his
influence on this newspaper and all those who worked with
him has been immeasurable."
Gilbreth graduated from the
University of Michigan, where he served as editor of the
college newspaper, The Michigan Daily. He worked as a
reporter for the New York Herald Tribune before moving to
the news staff of The News and Courier in 1934. He
subsequently went to work for The Associated Press, first
in Raleigh, then in New York City.
During World War II, he served
as a naval officer in the South Pacific and participated
in three invasions in the Admiralty Islands and the
Philippines, and was decorated with two air medals and a
bronze star. In 1947, he returned to The News and Courier
as an editorial writer.
In 1934, he married Elizabeth
Cauthen of Charleston, who died in 1954. They had one
child, Elizabeth G. Cantler, retired features editor of
The Post and Courier.
In 1955, he married Mary Pringle
Manigault of Charleston. Their two children are Dr.
Edward M. Gilbreth and Rebecca G. Herres.
Survivors, in addition to his
widow and children, include six grandchildren and six
great-grandchildren, all of Charleston. Also, seven
brothers and sisters: Ernestine C. Carey of Reedley,
Calif.; Lillian G. Johnson of Wilmington, Del.; Frederick
M. Gilbreth of Larchmont, N.Y.; Daniel B. Gilbreth and
John M. Gilbreth, both of West Caldwell, N.J.; Robert M.
Gilbreth of Franklin, N.H., and Jane G. Heppes of
Funeral arrangements are
|In addition to the
obituary, the Post & Courier printed the
following tribute to Frank, focusing on his
regular newspaper column, which he wrote under
the pen name "Ashley
Why Charleston will remember Ashley
Tuesday, February 20,
Years ago, Lord Ashley Cooper
started preparing his own epitaph:
"Although he lived in the
twentieth century, he didn't have anything to do with the
invention of the atomic bomb, internal combustion engine,
TV commercial, rock music or non-objective art."
We all smiled because, of
course, Ashley Cooper will be remembered for what he did,
not what he didn't do.
He made us smile. He made us
think. He made us angry - but never for long. In his
column here, beloved by readers, he would make fun of
tourists one day and make fun of native Charlestonians
He would recount colorful
stories of old Charleston one day and of present-day
Charleston the next.
He delighted us with comical
slice-of-life vignettes, and he challenged us with
prickly community issues.
Ashley Cooper earned the respect
and affection of thousands of readers, and when he
retired from column-writing in 1993, they grieved. Many
are still grieving.
Ashley Cooper, of course, was
the pen name of Frank Gilbreth Jr., who died Sunday.
This is the spot in the paper
that Mr. Gilbreth filled for more than 40 years. It seems
a fitting place to pay tribute to him. And it seems the
best way to pay tribute to a masterful columnist is in
his own words.
know about other Charlestonians, but the way I tell
summer from winter is that in winter we get lots of
Lincolns, Cadillacs and stuffed shirts, and in summer get
lots of Chevrolets, Fords and stuffed shorts."
really need in Charleston are tourists who will send
their money here but stay home themselves."
hick town they take up the sidewalks at night. In
Charleston, the sidewalks are in such bad shape that if
you took them up you'd never get them back down
it who said that Charleston - our Holy City - was like a
lesson in verbs? Yes, you discover the present tense and
the past perfect."
correspondent advises Lord Ashley never to ask anyone
where he is from. 'If he is from Charleston, he will soon
announce that fact,' alleges my correspondent. 'If he is
not from Charleston, there is no need to embarrass him.'
say we in Charleston spend more money on liquor than we
do on education. But, my goodness, what you can learn at
a Charleston cocktail party!"
full of slime and hooey,
Makes the stomach loop-the-loop?
What is slippery and gluey?
Greasy, gooey OKRA SOUP."
He stirred up
heated emotions over the Confederate flag (which he
thought didn't belong over the Statehouse); over
"y'all" and "youze guys;" and over
He wrote about cockroaches and
Gullah, about George Gershwin and palmettos, about
slumlords and bike paths.
His words remind us why we love
Charleston and why we will long remember Frank Gilbreth,
who loved it too.
Elsa McDowell may be reached
by phone at 937-5558, by fax at 937-5579. Her e-mail
address is firstname.lastname@example.org
and her mailing address is 134 Columbus St., Charleston,
Frank Gilbreth Jr.,
Author Of 'Cheaper by the Dozen,' Dies at 89
February 20, 2001
By WOLFGANG SAXON
Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr., a journalist whose
"Cheaper by the Dozen" became a best seller and
a popular movie of
the same title, died on Sunday in Charleston, S.C., where
lived for the last 50 years. He was 89 and also had a
The paterfamilias of the tale was a construction
efficiency expert who originated the science of
"motion study" and
believed that its factory management principles could be
the household. Mr. Gilbreth's mother was an accomplished
engineering consultant in her own right who continued to
the family company, Gilbreth Inc., after her husband's
1924. She died in 1972.
The elder Gilbreths produced six girls and six boys
years. The younger Mr. Gilbreth was the eldest son, the
the dozen, and wrote the book with his older sister
Against the backdrop of the ramshackle family
Montclair, N.J., the siblings reminisced about a life of
controlled chaos. The children appeared to have taken in
"process-work charts," trips to the factory
with father, weekly
family council meetings and endless I.Q. tests.
"Cheaper by the Dozen," published in
1949, became a Book-of-the-
Month Club selection and quickly sold out. Since then, it
reissued in many editions, several of which remain in
The movie was an Easter treat in 1950, starring
Clifton Webb as
the rather eccentric father and Myrna Loy as the mother.
the film in The New York Times, Bosley Crowther described
it as a
paean to filial piety and a "blissfully comforting
display of the
authority which a strongminded papa has over 12
Mr. Gilbreth and his sister wrote a sequel to their
on Their Toes," also made into a movie.
Frank Gilbreth Jr. was born in Plainfield, N.J.,
from the University of Michigan in 1933. He worked as a
for The New York Herald Tribune, the Associated Press and
Buenos Aires Herald and served in the Navy in the Pacific
In 1947 he joined what is now The Post and Courier
and under the pseudonym Ashley Cooper wrote its
Charleston" column until 1993, making it one of the
longest-running newspaper columns. (As Charlestonians
Charleston is where the Ashley and the Cooper Rivers meet
the Atlantic Ocean.) He was an assistant publisher and
president of the newspaper as well.
Mr. Gilbreth also wrote "Held's Angels"
(1952), a novel lampooning
the flappers and high-living youths of the Roaring
was illustrated with 100 drawings by the cartoonist John
His other books included "I'm a Lucky Guy"
Nantucket" (1954), about a family-run rooming house;
"Of Whales and
Women: One Man's View of Nantucket History" (1957);
"How to Be a
Father" (1958); "He's My Boy" (1962),
about his own young son; and
"Time Out for Happiness" (1962), a biography of
Mr. Gilbreth's first wife, Elizabeth Cauthen
Gilbreth, died in
1954. He is survived by his wife, Mary Manigault
daughters, Elizabeth G. Cantler and Rebecca G. Herres,
Charleston; a son, Dr. Edward M. Gilbreth, also of
three sisters, Ms. Carey of Reedley, Calif., Lillian G.
Wilmington, Del., and Jane G. Heppes of Longview, Wash.;
brothers, Frederick B. of Larchmont, N.Y., Daniel B. and
John M. of
West Caldwell, N.J., and Robert M. of Franklin, N.H.; six
grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Although born a Yankee, Mr. Gilbreth became part of
insular city of Charleston, even writing a dictionary of
'Cheaper by the Dozen'
author Gilbreth dead at 89
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) -- Frank
B. Gilbreth Jr., author of "Cheaper by the
Dozen" and longtime columnist for The (Charleston)
Post and Courier, died Sunday. He was 89.
In 1949, Gilbreth and his sister,
Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, collaborated in writing
"Cheaper by the Dozen," the story of growing up
in a family of 12 children with efficiency expert
parents. It was a best seller, as was its sequel,
"Belles on their Toes." Both were made into
Gilbreth was well known for his column,
"Doing the Charleston," which he wrote under
the pen name Ashley Cooper from the late 1940s to 1993
and he held numerous newspaper positions, including
working for The Associated Press, first in Raleigh, North
Carolina, then in New York City.
During World War II, he served as a naval
officer in the South Pacific, where he was involved in
three invasions in the Admiralty Islands and the
Philippines. He was awarded two air medals and a bronze
|One of the many
remembrances about Frank Gilbreth that have been
received by the Gilbreth Network:
I actually read "Belles on Their Toes"
first. My younger sister died when
I was 13, and I was so sad that I could hardly function.
Then I picked up
this wonderful book, and laughed for the first time in
One time when I was 15, I wrote to Frank Gilbreth, and he
back. I still have the letter!