Leila Gardner


Leila Gardner was executive director of the Newark Traveler’s Aid Society. She was the first African-American in the nation to head a Travelers Aid unit. She later worked for Family Services.

Born in Jamaica and moved to Newark as a child, according to Cummings, but evidence could only be found that she lived in New York City. Later she lived in Montclair. She came to America around 1923. Was a recreation teacher and worked in Alaska and New Guinea during WWII as a Recreation Director for the Red Cross. Graduated Talledega College and had a MSW from Columbia School of Social Work.

Ebony Magazine


Photo from Family Service Bureau Newsletter

Montclair Times

G-05, Gardner, Leila, Newark News Morgue, Newark Public Library

Cummings, Charles. “Women Helped Guide City’s Progress From the Start” Star Ledger. May 30, 2002.

Ebony Magazine, 1953

1967 Urban League Report

Naturalization records

“Leila T Gardner” Star Ledger April 9, 1993

“Leila T Gardner At Orange YMCA” Montclair Times Oct 2, 1937

“Negro Red Cross Workers in New Guinea are Reated High” California Eagle Jul 6, 1944

“Grand Opening for Caring Site” Montclair Times Jul 10, 1980