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Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth

The Fascinating Story of the Gilbreth Family & their 12 Children. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Did you know that the 1948 film “Cheaper by the Dozen,” starring Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy, was based on a true story? The film was adapted from the book of the same name, written by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, which chronicles the lives of Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and their 12 children.

The Gilbreths were two pioneering figures in the field of industrial engineering. In 1912, they published “Shop Management,” one of the first major works on motion study, a discipline concerned with improving efficiency by analyzing and reducing the wasted time and motion in work processes. The couple applied these principles to childrearing as well, developing novel methods for dealing with everything from sibling rivalry to adolescent angst.

Though their methods may seem quaint by today’s standards, there is no denying that the Gilbreths were ahead of their time. In addition to being accomplished professionals, they were also devoted parents who raised their large brood with love and care. Here are just a few interesting facts about this fascinating family:

-In 1918, after 17 years of marriage, Frank and Lillian took an oath to never sleep in separate beds again. They honored this vow until Frank’s death in 1924.
-All 12 Gilbreth children had names that began with the letter “C.”
-Four of the children – Mary, Ann, Ernest, and Martha – died at young ages due to illness or accidents.
-Lillian Gilbreth was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in psychology from Brown University.
-After Frank’s death, Lillian went on to have a successful career as a consultant and author. In 1963, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.

Dad himself used to tell a story about one time when Mother went off to fill a lecture engagement and left him in charge at home. When Mother returned, she asked him if everything had run smoothly. ‘Didn’t have any trouble except with that one over there,’ he replied. ‘But a spanking brought him into line.’

Mother could handle any crisis without losing her composure.

That’s not one of ours, dear,’ she said. ‘He belongs next door.’

Cheaper by the Dozen

The Gilbreths were truly a remarkable family. Their story is one of love, loss, determination, and innovation. If you’re interested in learning more about them, be sure to check out “Cheaper by the Dozen” or one of Lillian’s many books on management principles. You won’t be disappointed!

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