Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Book Talk: About Gilbreth's life beyond 'Cheaper by the Dozen,' April 25

Media Contact: Jhodi Redlich, 401-874-4500

KINGSTON, R.I. -- April 7, 2004 -- What may seem like fiction was truly anything but for Lillian Gilbreth and her husband, Frank, the parents who raised their 12 children and found the time to share the process in the book Cheaper by the Dozen (1948).

Jane Lancaster, the author of a new biography about Lililian Gilbreth, entitled Making Time: Lillian Moller Gilbreth - A Life Beyond Cheaper by the Dozen (Northwestern University Press), will visit the University of Rhode Island this month to describe Gilbreth's life and share some little-known facts about this now famous family. Free and open to the public, the talk will be held on Sunday, April 25, 3 to 5 p.m. in the Galanti Lounge, URI Library. Lancaster, a visiting fellow with the John Nicholas Brown Center, Brown University, will read from and sign copies of her book.

The talk and signing is hosted by the URI Library Special Collections as part of their spring lecture series and the College of Engineering. Light refreshments will be served. Twenty copies of the book will be available for sale during the signing.

While known for their astounding family of 12, the Gilbreth's are equally known as efficiency experts of the early 20th century and pioneers in the field of motion studies and scientific management.

The Gilbreth name has a special meaning for the University. In 1912, the Gilbreths moved to Providence, where Lillian pursued her doctorate in psychology, and Frank worked as a management consultant, refining some of his revolutionary ideas for manufacturing productivity. After Frank's death in 1924, Lillian Gilbreth continued on with their work and became a world-renowned engineering expert, the only woman to win the Hoover Medal for engineers. In 1961, Lillian attended the dedication of URI's new industrial engineering building, Gilbreth Hall, named in honor of the couple's significant contributions to engineering.

Other lectures planned for the URI New Leaves Press Spring Series include: Laurie Whitehill Chong, readers' services librarian and book artist of The Rhode Island School of Design Library, on Monday, April 26, from 7 to 8 p.m. Chong will speak about the book as an art form and will bring samples from RISD's book arts collection. On Thursday, May 13, from 7 to 8 p.m., Robert Farwell of the Norwich Public Library who processed the Richard Wilmarth Papers for the URI Special Collections, will speak on the life and work of Richard Wilmarth, URI '88 (1948-2003), poet and proprietor of Dead Metaphor Press.

For more information about any of these lectures, contact Special Collections Librarian, Sarina Wyant, 874-4632.