Woman of the Century/Linda Gilbert

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GILBERT, Miss Linda, philanthropist, born in Rochester, N. Y.. 13th May, 1847. She removed to Chicago, III., with her parents when she was fifteen months old, and was educated in St Mary's Convent, in that city. LINDA GILBERT.jpgLINDA GILBERT. From an early period she has regarded criminals with profound interest. At the age of eleven years she gave books from her grandfather's library to the prisoners in the jail of Cook county, Ill. Her home was directly opposite. The first county jail library ever established she placed in that prison when she was seventeen years old. At the age of fifteen years she inherited a hand- some fortune. After spending one-hundred-thousand dollars in philanthropy, the remainder was lost in a bank failure. After that her benevolent work was a continuous struggle. She entered into several business speculations to keep it alive, hoping that some rich man would leave it a legacy to place it on a permanent foundation. In all, she has established twenty-two libraries in six different States, each containing from two-thousand-five-hundred to three-thousand volumes. In Lincoln. Neb., her library has been the means of educating eighteen or twenty native Indians, who were sentenced for long terms. She has procured employment for six-thousand ex-convicts, over five-hundred of whom she started as pedlars, furnishing them with an outfit worth from three to live dollars. Less than ten per cent, of that number have turned out unsatisfactorily. For the last ten years she has constantly agitated the question of building an industrial and educational home to meet the wants of this class, who find it so impossible to secure employment after their release from prison. Miss Gilbert feels that society more than the criminal is to-day responsible for crime. She is known as "The Prisoners' Friend." Miss Gilbert has patented several devices, including a noiseless rail for railroads and a wire clothespin, and has used these for the purpose of gaining money to carry on her philanthropic work.