Lydia Gelston Spring Osborne


The Star Ledger wrote “A tiny woman bubbling with good cheer Mrs. Osborne had become a familiar figure in almost every important civic enterprise since the 20s”. She said, “I love Newark, I remember Newark when you would greet everybody in town when you went out marketing. It’s very changed today”.

Born in Brooklyn, came to Newark at age 6 and attended Newark High School and Wellesley College. One of the first members of the Contemporary Club and President in 1923. Her husband was a well-known writer.

Very active in community affairs: vice president of the Family Service Bureau, President of the 8th Ward Women’s Republican Club, Honorary President of the Salvation Army auxilliary, chairman of the Home Nursing Service of the Red Cross, chairman of the Presbyterian Hospital School for Nursing, and representative on the Advisory Council to Home Economics Extension Service of the State Department of Agriculture.

Served from 1925-1934 on the Newark Board of Education, appointed by Thomas Raymond. Appointed by Governor A Harry Moore as representative to National Recreation Association Convention in 1934.

Vice president of the State Federation of Women’s Club. Headed a movement in 1929 to beautify state highways organizing a petition to the Highway Commission, which got her a membership in the American Civic Association.

In 1930, battled for better housing in the Third Ward and prevention of crime.

Chairman of a 1942 Newark Defense Council meeting to assess the city’s health and welfare.

Chairman of the Newark Civilian Defense Volunteer Office, which completed over 45,000 home front assignments.

In 1949 became Chairman of the YWCA’s Board of Trustees where she helped raise funds for a new building, an effort that was called “miraculous.”


Scott, George. “Mrs. William Hamilton Osborne Worked Miracles For the Good of the City” Star Ledger April 13, 1958

Cummings, Charles F. “Meet the exemplary women who enriched the city” Star Ledger Jun 6, 2002.

Lester Elenore. “Women of the Week: New YW Helsman Old Hand at Tiller” Star Ledger Feb 27, 1949.

William Hamilton Osborne Papers NJ Historical Society

“Osborne, William Hamilton Mrs.” Newark News Morgue 69 articles, Newark Library