By Sarah M. Kelley, undergraduate, Louisiana State University
Reba Gomborov was born in Kiev, Russia. She later moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she received an education in the public schools. She held various jobs, which included a social worker and assistant secretary for the Juvenile Aid Society of Philadelphia. In addition to the jobs she held, she was president of the Office Workers’ Association, secretary of Pennsylvania Industrial Section for Suffrage, a member of the National Woman’s Party (NWP), and member of the Women’s Trade Union League.
In 1919 she was sentenced to five days in jail for a Watch Fire suffrage demonstration. The Watch Fire demonstrations were conducted in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. and NWP suffragists burned copies of President Woodrow Wilson’s speeches in an urn.
She was married in 1920 to Arthur Commero in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; however, they eventually divorced and Arthur later died in a hunting accident. Gomborov had one child with Arthur, Marion, who was born in 1924 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Due to the hardships during the Great Depression, Reba placed Marion into a Jewish orphanage when she was four years old. Marion stayed there until she was eighteen. However, Reba did visit her daughter in the orphanage every Sunday. When she was an adult, Marion, in turn, cared for her sick mother, recounting, “For a few years I didn’t go to night school… I worked, came home and took care of her.”
There is sparse information available on Reba Gomborov. Information on her birth, education, jobs, memberships, arrest can be found in Doris Stevens, Jailed for Freedom (New York: Boni and Liverlight, 1920), 360. Information on her marriage and birth of her daughter can be found on Familysearch.org and Ancestry.com. Information on her daughter can be found in Jerry Janda, “A Penn Employee for Nearly 30 Years, Marion Friedman Prepares for Retirement,” University of Pennsylvania Almanac (October 31, 1995): 16. Available at: http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/v42pdf/103195.pdf