Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr.

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Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr.
Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr.jpg
Born(1911-03-17)March 17, 1911
DiedFebruary 18, 2001(2001-02-18) (aged 89)
EducationUniversity of Michigan
Parent(s)Frank Bunker Gilbreth
Lillian Evelyn Moller
RelativesErnestine Gilbreth Carey, (sister)
Robert Moller Gilbreth, (brother)

Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. (March 17, 1911 – February 18, 2001) was an American journalist and author. He co-authored, with his sister Ernestine, the autobiographical bestsellers Cheaper by the Dozen (1948; which was adapted as a 1950 film) and Belles on Their Toes (1950; which was adapted as a 1952 film). Under his own name, he wrote multiple additional books, such as Time Out for Happiness and Ancestors of the Dozen, and a long-running newspaper column.

Early life and education[edit]

Gilbreth was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the fifth child (and first boy) of the 12 children born to efficiency experts Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, and grew up in the family home in Montclair, New Jersey, where he attended Montclair High School.[1][2] Gilbreth graduated from the University of Michigan, where he served as editor of the college newspaper, The Michigan Daily.


During World War II, he served as a naval officer in the South Pacific, 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 relocated to Charleston, South Carolina, where he returned to The Post and Courier (the city's main daily newspaper), as an editorial writer and columnist;[3] under the nom de plume of Ashley Cooper, he wrote a long-running column, Doing the Charleston,[3] which ran until 1993.[2] He retired from The Post and Courier in 2001, as assistant publisher and vice president.[4]

He and his older sister, Ernestine, wrote the bestselling books Cheaper by the Dozen (1948; adapted as a 1950 film) and its sequel Belles on Their Toes (1950; adapted as a 1952 film), which were largely autobiographical. On his own, he also wrote about fatherhood in the post-World War II "baby boom", and about family members.

Personal life[edit]

Gilbreth was married twice, to Elizabeth Cauthen (until her death in 1954), with whom he had a daughter (Elizabeth G. Cantler), and then to Mary Pringle Manigault (1955-2001), with whom he had two children (Dr. Edward M. Gilbreth and Rebecca G. Herres).[3]


Gilbreth died in 2001, aged 89, in Charleston, South Carolina, where he had lived for the preceding half century.[5] At the time, he also maintained the family home in Nantucket, Massachusetts, which his father had bought in 1921.[2][6]


Gilbreth's published books include:[2]

  • Cheaper by the Dozen (1st ed.). Thomas Y. Crowell. 1948. ASIN B001ACNZYK. (with Ernestine Gilbreth Carey)
  • I'm a Lucky Guy, 1951
  • Belles on Their Toes (1st ed.). Thomas Y. Crowell. 1950. ASIN B0007F54BI. (with Ernestine Gilbreth Carey)
  • Held's Angels, with John Held (illustrator), 1952
  • Innside Nantucket, 1954
  • Of Whales and Women, 1956
  • How To Be a Father, 1958
  • Loblolly, 1959[7]
  • He's My Boy, 1962
  • Time Out for Happiness, 1970
  • Ashley Cooper's Doing the Charleston, 1993[8]


  1. ^ "Maj. Frank B. Gilbreth". The Washington Post. June 15, 1924. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  2. ^ a b c d Saxon, Wolfgang (February 20, 2001). "Frank Gilbreth Jr., 89, Author Of 'Cheaper by the Dozen'". The New York Times. Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr., a journalist whose life-with-father memoir Cheaper by the Dozen became a best seller and a popular movie of the same title, died on Sunday in Charleston, S.C., where he had lived for the last 50 years. He was 89 and also had a home in Nantucket, Mass.
  3. ^ a b c "In Memory: Frank B. Gilbreth Jr". The Gilbreth Network.
  4. ^ "Frank B. Gilbreth Jr". Dramatic Publishing. Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  5. ^ "Frank B. Gilbreth Jr.; Co-Wrote 'Cheaper by the Dozen'". Los Angeles Times. February 23, 2001. Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., 81, coauthor of "Cheaper by the Dozen" and its sequel, "Belles on Their Toes." In South Carolina, Gilbreth was known for his popular column "Doing the Charleston," which he wrote under the pen name Ashley Cooper from the late 1940s to 1993, in the Charleston Post and Courier.
  6. ^ Gilbreth, Frank B. Jr. (Summer 1991). "The Gilbreth "Bug-lights"". Historic Nantucket. Vol. 39, no. 2. Nantucket Historical Association. pp. 20–22.
  7. ^ Loblolly. January 1959. Retrieved 2018-12-26.
  8. ^ . ISBN 9994088645. {{cite book}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]