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Allegheny Cemetery Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, USA
Gertrude Gordon aka Gertrude B. Kelley (September 3, 1882 – February 25, 1955) was Pittsburgh's first "sob sister" and long-time member of the Pittsburgh Women's Press Club. She was a member of the Heterodoxy Club.
Pittsburgh Mayor Lawrence singled her out in the crowd at a public event by saying "Hello, Gertie," as she celebrated her 72nd birthday in Pittsburgh. "Gertie" who startled Pittsburgh when she made a balloon ascent in Schenley Oval back in 1908 when women reporters were rare and daring ones even rarer, was to Pittsburgh what Nellie Bly was to the world. She walked into lions' dens, helped police raid gambling dens, interviewed the divine Sarah Bernhardt, covered mine disasters and the Billy Whitla kidnaping case in Sharon.
Gertrude Gordon was born Gertrude B. Kelley, in Mill Creek, Huntingdon County, on September 3, 1882. Her family moved to Pittsburgh when she was very young, and her reputation as a writer was won early.
She started as a cash girl in a department store at 15, did factory and laundry work, demonstrated at food shows at the old Pittsburgh Exposition, studied typewriting in the evenings, and eventually worked in the premium department of the old Pittsburgh Post.
That was her "open sesame" to newspaperdom. She submilted some stories to the afternoon paper, The Press, which were accepted. Given night assignments, she happily scurried through dark alleys or wherever she was sent, until she became the first local "news hen" assigned for "sensational" stories to a regular beat.
She worked on the staff of the Pittsburgh Press for 19 years, changing her name to the byline one of Gertrude Gordon.
In 1928 Gordon went to New York, where she lived an equally full life doing freelanre writing. In 1952, the Women's' Press Club in Pittsburgh had a special birthday party for "Gertie" on the advent of her 70th birthday.
What endeared "Gertie" most of all to all her friends, young and old, was her ever youthful zest for life. In her visit to Pittsburgh the Fall before her death, she was as enthusiastic as a child over Pittsburgh's new buildings and was delighted with the look of the city she always loved as "home".
She died on February 25, 1955, in a New York hospital. Services were held in New York and her ashes sent to Pittsburgh for burial in Allegheny Cemetery in the grave of her mother.
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