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Hildegarde Gertrude Frey

Part of the Ohio Author Sketches series on selected Ohio authors as originally published in the Ohioana Quarterly with material from the Ohioana Library collection..

A request for more information
about Hildegarde Frey

Hildegarde Gertrude Frey (1891-1957), was a lifelong resident of Cleveland. She created ten Camp Fire Girls novels when she was between the ages of twenty-four and twenty-eight. (Her name is inexplicably spelled “Hildegard” on the novels). In 1916-1920 Frey sold the copyrights to the ten Camp Fire Girls novels to the A. L. Burt Company for perhaps $100 each.

All four of Frey’s grandparents were born in Germany, as was her father, Otto, a dry goods salesman. Frey’s mother, born Emily Hunting in Ohio, gave birth to Hildegarde in 1891, at 6 Professor Avenue on Cleveland’s west side. Frey graduated in 1910 from West High School, on Franklin Boulevard at West 69th Street By Hildegarde’s high school years, the Frey family owned a house on West 100th Street, near today’s corner with east-west Madison Avenue.

In 1919, at age 28, she entered the College for Women at Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) in Cleveland. Her degree was a Bachelor of Science - the college’s preparation for social work, among other careers. Of her first seventeen years after college we know only that Frey took a first job as a secretary, then at some point began a social service career, probably with the Cleveland Department of Public Health and Welfare.

In June 1940, at the end of the Great Depression, Frey and a colleague at the city’s Division of Relief, William Miller, drove to nine city facilities in and around Cleveland where work-relief men performed gardening tasks. Frey, then age forty-eight, wrote a forty-three-page typed report on the tour, titled Work Relief Projects in Operation.

There followed a second seventeen-year period about which we again have no information. Frey didn’t marry. She died, in 1957, at age 65. On her death certificate her sister recorded her occupation as “social worker” and her employer as the City of Cleveland.

For more information about Hildegarde Frey's Camp Fire Girls novels and her life in Ohio see The “Camp Fire Girls” Novels of Cleveland Social Worker Hildegarde Gertrude Frey, an essay by Taft Eastman.

Bibliography of the work of Hildegarde Gertrude Frey


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