Herbert S. Gardner, president of the Gardner Advertising Company of St. Louis, was born December 22, 1872, in Warsaw, Missouri, his parents being Nicholas S. and Susan Frances Gardner. The father was a merchant of Warsaw, Missouri, at one time and afterward lived at Appleton City, Missouri, where he continued in business for a number of years. In 1887 he came to St. Louis and was associated with the Brown-Dougherty Company, in the wholesale dry goods business. In later years he retired and passed away in 1891. For several years he was a member of the state guard of Missouri. Has wife was the daughter of John M. Holmes of St. Louis, who died when Mrs. Gardner was but a small child, and she afterward made her home with her uncle, Charles Holmes, who was a well known citizen of St. Louis, where he engaged in business as a cracker manufacturer and dealer. Mrs. Gardner survives her husband and resides in St. Louis.
Herbert S. Gardner, of this review, was educated in the public schools of St. Louis and at the old Polytechnic school, then located at Seventh and Chestnut streets. He afterward worked in the public library under Frederick Crunden, who was librarian for a number of years. In November, 1888, he entered the employ of the Frisco Railway Company, in the accounting department, doing clerical work and thus continuing until January, 1894, when he accepted a position in the general passenger department of the Cotton Belt Railroad in St. Louis. There he continued until October, 1902, and during that time was chief rate clerk for the road. Subsequently he was appointed advertising agent of the company. On the 1st of October, 1902, he went to the H. E. Lesan Advertising Company of St. Louis, as office manager, and in 1903 was promoted to the position of secretary of the company. In 1904 he was elected to the vice presidency. In 1907 the Lesan Company and the Gould Directory Company consolidated and Mr. Gardner became vice president of the new corporation, but in July, 1908, the Lesan-Gould Company disorganized and the business was reorganized into separate units. Out of one of these Mr. Gardner developed the present Gardner Advertising Company, of which he has since been the president and executive head. In 1911 he organized the Trimplex Sales Company and was also chosen president of the new corporation. In 1914 he became the organizer of the Wizard Lightfoot Appliance Company, of which he is still president. In these various business connections he has displayed marked enterprise, capable management and keen discernment, leading to the attainment of substantial success.
In January, 1918, Mr. Gardner was appointed director of publicity for the eighth federal reserve district in charge of the Liberty loan publicity, and so continued without compensation through the third, fourth and fifth Liberty loans. Under his management in these three loans, the eighth district was the first to reach its quota, resulting in nation-wide publicity for St. Louis. In 1919, as a result of his achievement, Mr. Gardner was presented with the Wilkinson cup, which was offered to that member of the Advertising Club of St. Louis who did the most for the city, state and nation in advertising during the preceding twelve months. In 1920 he was elected honorary secretary of the American Association of Advertising Agents. During the progress of the World war he was also director of publicity for the Y. M. C. A., Red Cross and the United War Work drives in Missouri. Aside from his business affairs already mentioned, he is one of the directors of the American Trust Company.
On the 8th of April, 1896, Mr. Gardner was married to Miss Mary Platt Read, a daughter of Edward M. Read, a retired piano dealer and well known citizen of St. Louis. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner have three sons: Edward Read; Herbert S. and Charles H. The son Edward was graduated from Princeton University in 1919 and is now associated with his father in business, while the younger sons are in school. Mr. and Mrs. Gardner occupy a beautiful home at No. 13 Kingsbury place.
Mr. Gardner has been a resident of St. Louis since 1887, or for more than a third of a century, and has kept pace with the city’s growth in every particular. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and cooperates in all of its plans and projects for the city’s upbuilding and for the promotion of civic interests, contributing in no small measure to public progress and improvement. He is a member of the Salesmanship Club of St. Louis and is a well known figure in social circles, belonging to the Noonday Club, Missouri Athletic Club, City Club, Bellerive Country Club and the Advertising Club of St. Louis. His religious affiliation is with the Pilgrim Congregational church, and he is a member of the state executive board of the Missouri State Sunday School Association. His positive nature, his laudable ambition, his determination and his energy have brought him prominently to the front, and he has accomplished what he has undertaken, while at all times his efforts and labors have been of a character that has contributed not only to individual success and advancement but also to the public good. He today occupies a central place on the stage of activity in St. Louis.