Gertrude Thiebaud MacDuff

Red Cross Poster

Gertrude Thiebaud MacDuff

     On February 29,1879 Gertrude Thiebaud was born in Vevay, Indiana.  She was the daughter of a druggist.   Gertrude’s maternal grandfather was in Congress in Washington DC while Lincoln was president.   There were two brothers in the family who did not survive beyond childhood. In 1892 Gertrude’s family moved from VeVay to Peru, Indiana.  Her father opened a drug store in that city on the corner of Broadway and Second Street.  Gertrude was an 1894 graduate of Peru High School.  From 1895 to 1897 she attended Shepardson College in Denison, Ohio.  She became assistant librarian at the Peru Library by 1902 and took over as head librarian in 1903.   Gertrude took some classes in 1911 at the Carnegie Library School, which is affiliated with the University of Pittsburg, and was elected secretary of the Indiana State Library Association in the fall of 1913.  On August 30, 1916 Gertrude was one of the original eight individuals who gathered in Peru to begin the process of forming a local Red Cross Chapter.  At the January 30, 1917 meeting she was elected to the office of recording secretary which also placed her on the executive committee and the board of directors.  Gertrude and her parents lived at #170 East Sixth Street in Peru.   From 1917 through 1920 Gertrude gave several presentations at the state level library association conventions having to do with library work related to the war effort. She also served on the Women’s Council of Defense in charge of Educational Propaganda.  She followed all the suggestions made by the state chairman of this committee. Gertrude saw to it that 5,300 copies of a letter called “To The Children Of Indiana” were distributed to all children in public and parochial schools in Miami County.   A brochure called “War Subjects for Club Programs” was also distributed to all organizations in the county.  A reading list called “Patriotism” published by the New York Public Library was given to ministers, teachers, club members and businessmen and women. In May of 1918 Gertrude resigned from being Secretary of the Miami County Red Cross Chapter Executive Committee and on the first day of June she reported to Walter Reed Memorial Hospital as ordered for service.  Gertrude served as American Library War Service Librarian.  This was a program that the American Library Association launched at the beginning of WWI to provide books and library services to soldiers in camps and hospitals both in the United States and overseas.  The American Library War Service continued after the war until 1920 at which time Gertrude married Russel U. MacDuff.   Gertrude’s parents left Peru in 1925 and in the summer of 1926, tragedy struck Gertrude’s life when her father died while living with her in Mount Rainier, Maryland.  The depression found her living in Washington DC and working for the government as a librarian.  Her husband was not employed.  They lived at 1813 F NW apartment 3.  In the winter of 1933 tragedy again touched her life when Gertrude’s mom died while living with the MacDuff’s. Not to be deterred, that summer Gertrude obtained her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Library Science from George Washington University.  During her career she was Assistant Librarian in the US Patent Library in Washington DC for 21 years, and eventually her husband joined her there as a patent searcher.  When Gertrude died in 1942 in Washington DC, America lost a competent emissary.  Her funeral was in Vevay, Indiana.  She was 64 years old and had contributed a great deal in service to her country.

 Researched, written and submitted by Mary Rohrer Dexter

Works Cited

City Directory Washington DC. Unknown Year page 1874

City Directory Washington DC. Unknown year page 999

“Closes Tuesday Afternoon.” The Indianapolis Journal, 25 Dec. 1918, p. 13.

“C.O. Thiebaud Is Dead.” Peru Republican, 16 July 1926.

“Deaths Reported.” Evening Star, 3 Aug. 1942.

“First Library Women Here.” Indianapolis Star, 20 Nov. 1917.

“The Following Students From Indiana Were Graduated from George Washington University Today.” The Indianapolis News, 9 June 1933, p. 8.

“Former Peru Librarian Dies.” The Kokomo Tribune, 4 Aug. 1942, p. 10.

History Of Miami County . Page 309

“Letter to Omer Holman from Gertrude Thiebaud upon Her Mother's Death.” Peru Republican, 8 Feb. 1933.

“Librarian As Factor In Guiding Opinion Is Topic At Convention.” The Indianapolis Star, 21 Nov. 1917.

“Librarians Of State To Meet In Convention.” The Indianapolis Star, 5 June 1919.

“Marion Ind. Oct 17.” Evansville Courier and Press, 18 Oct. 1913.

“Mrs. Charles O Thiebaud.” Peru Republican, 17 Feb. 1933.

“Mrs. Russell MacDuff.” Peru Daily Tribune, 5 Aug. 1942.

Narccissus. Vol. 1917. High school Year book  Page 133 under heading Class Of  1894.

“Obituary .” Kokomo Tribune, 4 Aug. 1942.

Peru High School Annual. Vol. 1901. page 109 First year book of Peru High

Peru, Indiana, City Directory. page 235

“Peru.” Indianapolis Journal, 23 Aug. 1903, p. 2.

“Peru.” The Republic, 29 May 1918, p. 6.

“State Library Association.” The Daily Republican , 18 Oct. 1913, p. 2.

“ ‘United States Census, 1880," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https:// : 9 September 2017), Gertrude Thieband in Household of Chas O Thieband, Vevay, Switzerland, Indiana, United States; Citing Enumeration District ED 169, Sheet 40A, NARA Microfilm Publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, N.d.), Roll 0313; FHL Microfilm 1,254,313.”

“ ‘United States Census, 1900," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https:// : Accessed 27 April 2018), Gertrude H Thirband in Household of Charles O Thirband, Peru Township Peru City Ward 2, Miami, Indiana, United States; Citing Enumeration District (ED) 104, Sheet 18A, Family 394, NARA Microfilm Publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL Microfilm 1,240,393.”

“ ‘United States Census, 1910," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https:// : Accessed 27 April 2018), Gertrude Thriband in Household of Charles Thriband, Peru Ward 2, Miami, Indiana, United States; Citing Enumeration District (ED) ED 127, Sheet 9B, Family 234, NARA Microfilm Publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), Roll 371; FHL Microfilm 1,374,384.”

“ ‘United States Census, 1920," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https:// : Accessed 27 April 2018), Gertrude Thiebaud in Household of Charles Thiebaud, Peru Ward 3, Miami, Indiana, United States; Citing  ED 158, Sheet 9B, Line 63, Family 251, NARA Microfilm Publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), Roll 441; FHL Microfilm 1,820,441.”

“ ‘United States Census, 1940," Database with Images, FamilySearch (Https:// : Accessed 27 April 2018), Gertrude Macduff in Household of Russell Macduff, Tract 57, District of Columbia, Police Precinct 3, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, United States; Citing Enumeration District (ED) 1-75A, Sheet 20A, Line 10, Family 448, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA Digital Publication T627.  Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, Roll 555.”

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