From an early age, Bertha Floersheim Rauh (1865-1952) was active in civic and philanthropic community service. Deeply concerned about the plight of the poor, especially women and children, Bertha Rauh was involved in many organizations that offered assistance programs, including the Pittsburgh and Allegheny Milk and Ice Association,which provided milk and fresh water to poor children, National Council of Jewish Women, which offered penny lunches in public schools, and the Soho Public Baths. She was also part of other organizations that worked for the public good such as the Consumer’s League, Equal Franchise Federation of Western Pennsylvania, and League of Women Voters.
In January 1922, Bertha Rauh was the first woman in the United States to become a member of a mayoral cabinet. She was appointed Director of Charities by Mayor William Magee and later reappointed by Mayors Charles Kline and John Herron.
One of Bertha Rauh’s greatest achievements during her twelve years as Director of Charities was the transformation of the Pittsburgh City Home and Hospital, later known as Mayview Hospital, into a modern psychiatric hospital. Many photographs in the Richard E. Rauh Photographs, a recent addition to Historic Pittsburgh, depict the construction of new buildings at Mayview during the 1920s-1930s.
An interesting photograph in this collection depicts a meeting between Bertha Rauh and Amelia Earhart in 1929. Unfortunately, during the course of my research I was not able to locate any other information about this event. A chance meeting perhaps?
-Posted on behalf of Megan Rentschler, an intern from the University of Pittsburgh’s Pitt Partner program.