Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Anna Billings GALLUP

Photo by Brian Zoldak, 2124, used with permission
Row #5, Grave #508-10-075, GPS 41.41675 N - 71.97199 W
(Transcript from Hale Survey) (Not listed on Hale)
 Gallup, Anna Billings born Nov. 9, 1872, died Oct. 21, 1956

Anna Billing GALLUP

Anna Billing GALLUP was a well respected woman of science and science education and far ahead of her time. She and her brother, Christopher Milton Gallup, 3rd were college graduates. Born to Christopher Milton Gallup, 2nd and his wife Hannah Lamb, she was born on 9 Nov 1872 in Ledyard, CT. Anna's brother and her sister were college graduates. 

Cover of the Young Women at the Institute section of an MIT yearbook
found at Ancestry.com's Yearbook collection

Anna was a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, probably in the year of 1889. She became the Curator in Chief of the Brooklyn New York Children's Museum of Science and held that position for 30 years until she retired. My search for information about her led me to a student presentation by Kyle Mills about her life and career which contains her photograph and information about earlier schools she attended which included the Norwich Free Academy (which was her private high school education). I think that I should consider that I may have had other ancestors who attended school here.

After the Academy, she attended the Connecticut State Normal School and did teaching in science. Being single, she accomplished much. This type of life was uncommon in her time when women were classroom teachers or librarians until they married and were forced to give up their career dreams. From a passport record needed for a trip to Great Britain where she is listed as a "lady of leisure", she was really very far from that, as she must have gone there to learn or work in a science museum. I think she would not have been happy with that classification when she read that on her passport record. 

Awarded the Hornady Gold Medal in 1954, she was a leader in science museum education.  While she was curator, she moved her widowed mother to New York to live with her until her mother passed away in 1932. When Anna retired, about 1937, she moved into her brother's household (source: 1940 census) In this household in 1940, the family employed two housekeepers. 

I found an article in the April, 1908 Popular Science Monthly (Vol 72) authored by her as Anna Billings Gallup, BS. This article chronicles the museum development under her direction. This was a hands-on active science museum much like the children's museums of today. (I found census records in Brooklyn, New York which are further evidence of where she was living.)

She was my 4th cousin, 4 times removed and was alive in my lifetime. I would have liked to have known her. Her gravestone modestly lists her birth and death date and that would have been all I knew about her if I had not purchased the newest Gallup genealogy.

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