One half of the celebrated Gilbreth husband and wife partnership of efficiency engineers.
The eldest of nine children, Lillian was academic enough to study English literature at university. After marrying Frank in 1904 she switched to psychology to assist in the work of her partner. She soon established herself as an expert in the psychology of industrial management and extended it into the domestic realm as a philosophy for the efficient running of the home. With twelve children between them Lillian and Frank perhaps had to.
After her husband's sudden death in 1924, Lillian was hired by appliance manufacturers to study and design more efficient kitchen planning. She has been called 'the mother of modern management', establishing domestic economy and home economics as scientifically taught subjects in colleges across the United States and Europe.