Exhibit: Women Who Dared
BiographiesMultimediaBy CityAbout WWD Jewish Gender Activism
What She Said
  Gertrude Webb
  Boston WWD Event 2002
  Born in 1916
  Pioneer in learning disabilities education, created Program for Advancement in Learning for adults with learning disabilities at Curry College
Biography  up to top

Gertrude Webb was born Goldie Mikels in 1916 and raised in Roxbury, Massachusetts. When she began school, her teacher changed her name to Gertrude, claiming that Goldie was 'too foreign." Gertrude was the middle of five children born to immigrants from Lithuania. She looked up to her older sister, who encouraged her to attend Girls' Latin School (a selective public school in Boston). Her family followed traditional Jewish practice. Gertrude was always interested in Jewish education, and excelled at Hebrew School. When she entered Girls' Latin School, however, she dropped out of Hebrew Teachers College, and Gertrude has always regretted missing that piece of her Jewish education. Today, she augments her Jewish education by studying Jewish subjects every morning with her son and once a week with a group of Brandeis students.

After graduating from Girls' Latin School in 1933, Gertrude went on to the Teachers College of Boston, earning her bachelor's degree in 1937. During her first year of teaching in the Boston Public School system, Gertrude became attuned to learning disabilities when a bright student was unable to translate his ideas into writing. Gertrude contacted educational experts and pursued her interest in learning problems during her years of teaching before her marriage to J. Chester Webb in 1941 and while at home raising their six children. After a twenty-year break from teaching, Gertrude was encouraged by her husband to return to the field. She began teaching at Curry College and founded the Massachusetts Association for Children with Learning Disabilities. She also earned a doctorate in education from Boston College. Gertrude went on to found the Program for Advancement in Learning (PAL) for adults with learning disabilities at Curry College, where the Learning Center was recently renamed the "Gertrude M. Webb Learning Center." Since her retirement from Curry College in 1993, she has served as the President of the Webb International Center for Dyslexia, an educational consulting organization founded by some of her former students. Gertrude also continues to speak and conduct teacher training sessions around the world, as she is sure her husband, who passed away two years ago, would have wanted her to do.

Gertrude lives in Waltham, Massachusetts. In addition to her many professional accomplishments, she is proud of her six children, twenty-six grandchildren, and twenty great-grandchildren.

What She Said  up to top
Unwittingly, I really have incorporated a lot of the moral beliefs that were embedded in me into what I am currently doing even ...More 
And [my grandmother] was an inspiration to me, too. I must not forget her. Because my aunt did a lot of traveling and had no children, so my grandmother ...More 
I would say my sister and my aunt were probably the role models that I certainly had. Certainly giving to society and doing something worthwhile with your life ...More 
I have never had problems being a female... When the Dean at Curry [College] was leaving, he said, "You should have this job" and I knew ...More 
When my youngest daughter, Heidi, was coming home from school at about quarter past two, I had just started teaching child development ...More 
I had said it would last ten years? Well, now it's certainly global. I never dreamed it would be ...More 
I think I've grown from the experience and that I interact with people of all ages ...More 
[The greatest challenge was] just taking young people who feel pretty hopeless because of the treatment that they have gotten and turning that around ...More 
[One of the greatest rewards of my work is] just seeing the changes in people who had no hope and establishing hope within them ...More 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
 up to top

How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Gertrude Webb." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pgwebb>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Gertrude Webb," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pgwebb>.