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Ida Rauh

Rauh (March 7, 1877 – February 28, 1970) was a writer, sculptor, actor, birth control, activist, and a passionate advocate for labor rights and women’s suffrage. She played a key role in bringing the two movements together.

Rauh graduated from NYU law school in 1902, but never practiced law. Instead, she became involved in the women’s trade union league, helping the massive shirtwaist makers strike in New York in 1909. Soon after she travel to England to join other activists in the fight for women’s suffrage. Returning to Greenwich Village, she helped Mabel Dodge Luhan organize her noted literary salon, and became active in the feminist Heterodoxy Club in 1912. She supported a variety of feminist causes, among them Margaret Sanger’s birth control campaigns. She was arrested in 1916 for distributing birth control information (still considered illegal at the time), and charged with obscenity. She was given a suspended sentence.

With Jane Adams and other female advocates for working women, Rauh found at the Women’s Trade Union League, chairing its legislative committee. The League educated women about the advantages of trade union membership, supported their demands for better working conditions, and helped raise awareness about the exploitation of women workers.

Rauh garnered key support for the league from the powerful American Federation of Labor, as well as leading women’s rights advocates, earning labor support for the cause of women’s suffrage, and feminist support for the cause of labor reform.

Her essay, “dear labor and suffrage movement,“ exemplified her view of the cause of women’s equality and labor as inextricably intertwined.

Rauh lived at 39 1/2 Washington Square South and 15 East 11th Street.

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