The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Who Is
Gertrude Tooley Buckingham?

Recently I posted some excerpts from the poetry of Gertrude Tooley Buckingham. Mrs Buckingham was a friend of my family a few generations ago in New York. My parents inherited an inscribed copy of her 1948 book Poems at Random when my grandma passed away about eight years ago, but I had not heard of Gertrude until then. They also received a few unpublished poems, journal entries, and letters.

Gertrude Tooley was born 1880 June 26th in New York City. She was an only child to very loving and hard-working parents, Spencer F. Tooley and Fanny Angell. When she was 17 she studied for one year at the Conservatory of Music in Detroit while staying at the home of her cousin. She then became a music teacher. She and her husband were both engaged to other people when they fell in love. She married Samuel L. Buckingham (1875–1958) on 1903 October 21st. They had two daughters, Doris (b. 1909) and Lorraine (b. 1912). All were born in New York, and they lived on Northern Avenue which in 1938 was renamed to Cabrini Boulevard. Gertrude became a housewife but maintained a lifelong interest in music; Sam liked sports and games; and Lorraine was a bank secretary.

In 1939, the family sustained a great loss when Doris was taken from them through an accident, at the young age of 29. A few months later, Gertrude received from Spirit the gift of poetic talent. She became what we could call a medium poet, as she heard the words spoken in her head and saw them pass in front of her eyes, sensing what she was to write. She was about age sixty at the time. Poems at Random is dedicated to Doris.

Poems at Random by Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, 1948

Gertrude and Sam, who was an undertaker, were married for 54 years before he passed away. She refers to them in her journal as soul mates, and six years after his death writes “My great love for Sam will never die as I’m sure his love for me will always live.” They had three grandchildren:  two girls and a boy. Gertrude passed away 1971 August 4th.

Here are name variations I’ve come across:  Gertrude Tooley, Gertrude A. Tooley, Gertie Buckingham, Gertrude A. Buckingham, Gertrude T. Buckingham, Gertrude Buckingham, Mrs. Sam Buckingham, and Mrs. Samuel Buckingham.

I’ve not yet been able to find any of Gertrude’s family, but I’d love to ask for a photograph of her and any other information they can provide. If you are related to this lovely author, please contact me.

Gertrude Tooley Buckingham inscription and signature

“My prayer is that many of the poems in this book may help to bring joy and peace and understanding to those souls who may be grieving for loved ones whom they call ‘dead’ but who, in reality, are still living in a real world of beauty, being able to manifest to their dear ones of earth when the door is opened for them to come in.” ~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, Poems at Random, 1948

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published 2014 Dec 8
revised Apr 2020, Oct 2022
last saved 2022 Oct 20