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Welcome to the current issue of The Quest, Vol. 5, No. 3, Fall 2001, published in December 2001. The Quest is published quarterly.

The Quest is published by and copyright David Ferguson.

Inside this Issue:

  • The Senseless Horror
  • Setting the Record Straight
  • A Wonderful Legacy
  • Gilbreth Innovation Lives On
  • New Members
  • Fatigue Study Now Available as E-Book

See The Quest index for back issues of the newsletter.

Volume 5, Number 3
Fall 2001

The Senseless Horror

By David Ferguson

Like America and most of the world, I was horrified by the wanton murder of innocents on September 11th. It all still seems like some warped nightmare. Millions of lives have been affected both directly and indirectly. Even the Gilbreths' adopted hometown of Montclair lost 250 people on 9/11.

While we are in new kind of battle, with a new kind of enemy, we can still hold Maj. Frank B. Gilbreth as a sterling example of answering his country's call.When the United States entered the Great War (WWI), Frank Gilbreth was 49; more than double draft age. Despite having a large family to support and a growing business, he felt it was his duty to serve his country as best he could.

Frank Gilbreth was never a man to do something half way and getting accepted into the military was no exception. Since he wasn't considered a prime candidate for military service, he enlisted every person he could, to write letters to Washington, in his behalf. When he was ultimately accepted, he wrote Washington, saying---if you don't know how to best utilize my services, I will tell you.

While not his first choice of duty, he was assigned to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, to assist in making training films for new recruits. Indeed, his methods and new ideas set the standard for educational films for many years to come.

He worked long hours with little rest and as if he hadn't already made enough sacrifices, became deathly ill. Then, in the Gilbreth tradition, of breaking precedents, Lillian Gilbreth stayed by his bedside, in the base hospital, giving him care, he wouldn't have otherwise received, and is likely responsible for saving his life.

Maybe it could be said that Frank should have stayed home, caring for his family. However, in the best traditions of American history, he felt compelled to serve his country in its time of need. It is this character and sense of duty that has made this country strong.

Setting the Record Straight

Setting the Record Straight: The History and Evolution of Women's Professional Achievement in Engineering is a new book by Betty Reynolds, PhD and long-time Gilbreth Network member, Jill Tietjen, P.E. This book covers the little-known stories of women's contribution to engineering.

The book is well organized, and covers a chronological history, as well as short bio's of the women from each era. I found this organization very helpful in seeing the progress of technology and of women's contributions, over the time spans discussed.

From our perspective, at the Gilbreth Network, we are very grateful for the very lucid review of Lillian Gilbreth's work. This review included her partnership with Frank Gilbreth, as well as her work after Frank's death.

Not only is the book very pleasurable reading, but also it is a valuable tool for researchers. It contains extensive footnotes, bibliography and comprehensive index.

You may order a copy for $16.00, post-paid, from: Reynolds-Tietjen LLC, 8547 East Arapahoe Road, PMB J189, Greenwood Village, CO, 80112-1430. Please make checks payable to Reynolds-Tietjen LLC.

A Wonderful Legacy

I received the following letter from Stephan Lindquist, grandson of Lillian (Gilbreth) Johnson, shortly after her death. Stephan has been kind enough to allow us to reprint his letter for The Quest.


As I was surfing the web today I came across your Gilbreth Network site. As a descendant of the Gilbreth clan myself, I read it with great interest and now feel obliged to update you on one sad note.

Lillian Gilbreth Johnson passed away a few months ago, as did her husband Donald. Lillian was my grandmother and her daughter Julie is my mother. Lillian had been in physically poor health during her last year, although her mind and spirit were still as sharp as a tack. When told that her condition was terminal she accepted it graciously and understood that it was now her time, and she passed away in her sleep the next day. She was a very proud and proper lady who had a heart of gold and always put family first. She had some wonderful experiences later in life such as being in attendance at the White House for the wedding of Pres. Herbert Hoover's daughter and being personally invited to attend a dinner in Monaco with Prince Ranier and Princess Grace Kelly. At her funeral and that of my grandfather a month before, I had the chance to meet Jack , Bob, Fred and Dan as they came to pay their respects. It was the first time I had ever had the chance to see them after hearing of them for the past 30 years and when they got out of their cars at the service it was as if they were larger than life. These were names that had been mentioned throughout my life but to finally see them in the flesh was an experience I will never forget. To most people they are just names but to me they are legendary. My grandfather was very close to Lillian's brothers because as young boys they were friends and teammates and when he died this summer Jack said that even though they were only related by marriage, "Don was the best man of all of us"