Mothers of Invention: Lillian Moller Gilbreth

LillianGilbrethLillian Moller Gilbreth was born on May 24, 1878 in Oakland, California to parents William and Anne Moller.  She grew up in a Victorian, German-American home, the second and oldest of ten children (the first child died in infancy).  Lillie (she later changed her name to Lillian) was shy and introverted, so much so that she was schooled at home by her mother until the age of nine.  Even then Lillian wasn’t able to “fit in” – academically she excelled but socially she was awkward.  Home and domestic life were more suited to her, learning to sew and care for her siblings.

By the time she entered high school she was actually eager to attend, although she still experienced social awkwardness with classmates. She dreaded the day when she would have to consider delving into the world of dating and courtship – she was petrified of boys and thought herself unattractive.

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