The Pittsburgh Foundation

Women's Press Club/The Gertrude Gordon Memorial Fund

Established: 4/13/1956

Gertrude Gordon was one of the first female reporters to receive a byline in Pittsburgh. In the industry she was known as Pittsburgh's go-to "sob sister," an antiquated term for female writers who wrote about breaking news stories in a more fictional and captivating style.

For example, when she reported on the Marianna Mine Disaster that claimed the lives of 125 miners on November 30, 1908, she framed her article around the experience of one of the miners' wives, evoking sympathy and compassion from her readers.

She wrote for The Pittsburgh Press from 1908 to 1927, making little more than $12 a week, and later moved to New York City where she continued to be published occasionally in newspaper and magazines. In February of 1955, Gertrude died in New York at the age of 72.

Ben Paul Brasley, the establisher of this fund and two others at the Pittsburgh Foundation, never forgot how helpful Gertrude Gordon was to him at the beginning of his law career. Brasley, who graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1906, was described by friends as an "unpretentious and unassuming person," whose extensive generosity was matched by a rare degree of anonymity. He gave away nearly 90% of his income to charitable causes for many years. Paul died in 1981 at the age 96.

Today The Women's Press Club of Pittsburgh offers annual awards to talented and deserving female students of journalism in the Pittsburgh area as determined by the club. The awards are part of the club's ongoing 120-year mission to advance the journalism profession and support high journalistic standards and ethics among college students and professionals, and to honor excellence that focuses on the concerns, problems, opportunities, and accomplishments of women.

Type of Fund

  • Designated