1949: “She possessed to an uncommon degree the qualities requisite to her office”: Gertrude Brinkclé and the Historical Society of Delaware

Gertrude Brincklé

In 1949 the Historical Society’s librarian, Gertrude Brincklé, announced her resignation. She was an integral part of the organization. She served as librarian from 1941-1949, had knowledge of Delaware and its residents, and worked tirelessly for the Society. Her resignation, however, did not signal the end of her employment with the Historical Society of Delaware. After her tenure as librarian, Gertrude Brincklé became the executive secretary for the Society and held that position until 1954. Throughout her life Gertrude was employed in a number of fields working as a model, secretary, and librarian.

Gertrude Brincklé was born in Fort Hamilton, New York on May 6, 1885. She received her education from Misses Hebbs School. From 1904-1911 she was a secretary and model for Howard Pyle, a well known artist and author. After working for Howard Pyle, she then served as a secretary to Emily Bissell, a Delawarean who helped found the Delaware Chapter of the Red Cross (Bissel also created the American Christmas Seal in 1907 to raise money to fight tuberculosis). She worked for Emily Bissell from 1912-1926. Gertrude continued to work as a secretary and from 1926-1941 was the secretary to Ellen DuPont Wheelwright.

Gertrude Brincklé was next employed by the Historical Society of Delaware as the sole librarian. The Society records consistently show she was an integral part of the organization. When she announced her resignation as librarian in 1949 it was “accepted with regret” due to her years of “fine service.”  When she left the organization after 13 years in 1954, the Society remarked that Gertrude Brincklé:

“Possessed to an uncommon degree the qualities requisite to her office: she was interested in people and things; she had a fine Delaware and Wilmington background; she was acquainted with most of our members before they joined the Society; she had tact, patience, and understanding; and she worked with the staff and the directors with discretion and ease.”


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