A Genealogy of the Barnum, Barnam and Barnham Family

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A One-Name Study for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname

Notes for Gertrude BARNUM

Gertrude Barnum was a US social worker and labor reformer. She gained her first experience with Jane Addams' Hull House in Chicago and became convinced that improved labor conditions were necessary to eliminate poverty. She later became the national organizer of the National Women's Trade Union League and supervised several important strikes by women seeking human working conditions during the first decade of the 20th century. She was particularly prominent in enlisting society women to aid the notorious "thread" strike in New York City. Gertrude Barnum also served in several capacities with the federal government, was a prominent suffragist and an officer of Harriot Stanton Blatch's Equality League of Self-Supporting Women.

From the New York Times, 19 Jun 1948: Gertrude Barnum, Union Organizer, 82. Miss Gertrude Barnum, long identified with women's labor relations and organizer of many women's trade unions, died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to word received yesterday by her niece, Mrs. S. P. Funkhouser of Winsted, Conn. Her age was 82. Born in Chicago, Miss Barnum was the daughter of Judge and Mrs. William Henry Barnum. She attended Evanston schools and was graduated from the University of Wisconsin. After her graduation she became interested in industrial and social reforms and soon was active in organizing women's trade unions. At the request of the late Samuel Gompers she helped organize the National Women's Trade Union League. In 1910 she acted as publicity agent for the International Ladies Garment Workers. Four years later President Woodrow Wilson appointed her a special agent for the Walsh Commission on Industrial Relations and in 1917 associate director of the Investigation Service for the United States Labor Department. At her death she was engaged in writing a. history of Democratic Processes in the Labor Development from 1885-1930. A brother, Harry Hyde Barnum of Winetka, Ill., and a sister, Mrs. Justin Hay Toles of Winchester, Conn. survive.


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