Gertrude Weil and Her Times

Gertrude Weil, courtesy of the the Gertrude Weil Papers in the N.C. Office of Archives and History.

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Gertrude Weil and Her Times

by Anne Firor Scott
Southern Cultures, Vol. 13, No. 1: Spring 2007

"Who knows? I may live long enough to become a communist!"

North Carolina has been home to many remarkable women, and in this galaxy the name Gertrude Weil shines bright. Born in 1879 into a family that was virtually synonymous with the history of Goldsboro, North Carolina, forty years later she was one of the best-known women in the state. The first North Carolina graduate of Smith College, she returned to Goldsboro after graduation. Step by step, using voluntary associations such as the woman’s club, the suffrage movement, the League of Women Voters, and the Council of Jewish Women, she gradually became an effective political leader. Intelligent, modest, diplomatic, witty, realistic, effective—all of these overworked adjectives describe her.