Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Rose Wile Baruch, 1869-1954

By Sasha Coles, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara

Rose Wile was born in La Porte, Indiana, on May 27, 1869, to Jacob and Henrietta Wile, both German emigrants. She married Berthold Baruch -- a successful capitalist and oil and gas company executive -- on September 27, 1893, in New Buffalo, Michigan. Soon thereafter, they moved to Los Angeles, California. Berthold Baruch's first wife, Rosa, had died after giving birth to Roland Baruch, on February 8, 1888, in Los Angeles. Rose and Berthold Baruch raised Roland and their son, Arthur Wile Baruch, born on August 15, 1894.

In Los Angeles, Rose Baruch made a name for herself as "an enthusiast of enthusiasts over the right of women to vote," according to one Los Angeles Herald article. She became one of the first members of the Los Angeles Friday Morning Club, founded by Caroline Severance in 1891 as part of the General Federation of Women's Clubs. In the club, Baruch held several executive positions, including corresponding secretary, vice president, treasurer, and director. She simultaneously served in leadership roles for the Votes for Women Club, the Woman's Party, and the California Political Equality League, the latter of which dominated the campaign for suffrage in southern California. Through these organizations, she met suffragists like Emmeline Pankhurst and Inez Milholland Boissevain. Baruch commented on what she saw as the "appalling" apathy of California women toward the suffrage issue, but she did not approve of the militant tactics -- burning President Woodrow Wilson in effigy, for example -- taken up by radical suffragists.

Much of Rose Baruch's work in the 1890s and 1910s revolved around public health and social hygiene. She held executive positions in the Los Angeles auxiliary of the Red Cross, served as the second vice president of the Children's Hospital Association, raised money for the construction of a woman's athletic club, and demanded a probe into "immorality" in the city's public school system. Her most prominent position was at the City Mother's Bureau, opened in 1914 with the goals of "instructing parents" and "influencing home life for better conditions for children," a Los Angeles Herald article explained. Rose Baruch attempted to professionalize herself by taking a "special course on psychology" at Harvard University during the 1916 spring semester. She also functioned as a "patroness" for lecture series, musical programs, and art and flower shows in Los Angeles events. Because of her advocacy, Rose Baruch became "well known in the city as a juvenile and charitable worker."

Rose Baruch committed herself to other social and political causes. She participated in local Jewish organizations, including the Hebrew Benevolent Association, the Jewish Orphans' Home of Southern California, and the B'nai B'rith Sisterhood. Her two sons served in Siberia during the First World War, and she signed a petition demanding that President Wilson return these soldiers home. She generally supported and fundraised for Republican Party campaigns and candidates, including Hiram Warren Johnson, but she was also fond of Theodore Roosevelt and other "reform-minded" politicians.

Berthold Baruch passed away in 1944. Rose Wile Baruch died ten years later, on April 15, 1954, at the age of 81. They were both buried in Home of Peace Memorial Park in East Los Angeles.


*Newspaper articles, unless otherwise noted, were accessed in the California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Biographical Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside (

"Annual Meeting." Los Angeles Herald. January 9, 1899, p. 5.

California Death Index, 1940-1997, Accessed June 4, 2018.

California Federation of Women's Clubs. Club Women of California, Official Directory and Register. San Francisco: Calkins Publishing House, 1907, 131.

"'City Mothers' Open Bureau for Children." Los Angeles Herald. November 28, 1914, p. 3.

"Death Takes Last Baruch Brother at 91." Los Angeles Times. October 13, 1944, Part II, p.1.

Died. Baruch. Los Angeles Herald. February 13, 1888, p.3.

Find a Grave. Rose Wile Baruch. Accessed April 12, 2019.

"Hospital Association." Los Angeles Herald. January 27, 1901, p. 7.

"Incorporations." Los Angeles Herald. August 31, 1900, p. 9.

Lemmon, Sarah Allen Plummer. A Record of the Red Cross Work on the Pacific Slope. Oakland: Pacific Publishing Company, 1902, 260.

Michigan Marriages, 1868-1925, Accessed June 4, 2018.

"Mother and Son to be 'Pals' at College." Los Angeles Herald. November 8. 1915, p. 3.

"Mrs. Baruch Named on Advisory Board." Los Angeles Herald. November 12, 1914, p. 3.

"Mrs. Baruch on Jewish Patriotism." Los Angeles Herald. November 12, 1914, p. 15.

"New Jewish Orphan Home Will Be Dedicated." Los Angeles Herald. November 23, 1912, p. 2

Obituary. Arthur W. Baruch. Los Angeles Times. April 11, 1950, p. 18.

Obituary. Mrs. Rose Baruch. Los Angeles Times. April 17, 1954, p. 16.

"Plan for a Big German Relief Kirmess." Los Angeles Herald. November 21, 1914, p. 2.

"Republicans Launch Campaign for Funds in So. Cal. District." Los Angeles Herald. January 30, 1920, p. 3.

"Roosevelt Memorial Committee Named by Mayor Woodman." Los Angeles Herald. January 24, 1919, p. 6.

Rose Baruch, Accessed April 12, 2019.

San Francisco Blue Book (San Francisco: Smith-Hoag Company, Inc., 1913), 211-212.

Schaffer, Ronald. "The Problem of Consciousness in the Woman Suffrage Movement: A California Perspective." Pacific Historical Review 45, no. 4 (1976): 469-93.

"Society." Los Angeles Herald. October 3, 1899, p. 3.

"Suffrage Pennants Fly from Tamalpais 3,000 Feet in Air." Los Angeles Herald. August 17, 1911, p. 5.

"Women to Campaign for Judge J. C. Rives." Los Angeles Herald. October 2, 1918, p. 15.

United States Census, 1940, Accessed June 4, 2018.

"Vista del Mar Began as the Jewish Orphan's Home--1906." Jewish Museum of the American West. Accessed April 12, 2019.

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