Ida Rauh, suffragist, actress, sculpture, poet

Ida Rauh (March 7, 1877 – February 28, 1970) was a lawyer, suffragist, actress, sculptor, and poet who helped found the Provincetown Players in 1915. The group originally performed in Provincetown, RI, but moved to MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. She directed the first production of O’Neill’s one-act play “Where the Cross Is Made”, and in the Village she became known for her intensely emotional acting.

Ms. Rauh graduated from New York University Law School in 1902, but had little hope of practicing law as the profession did not allow women to present cases. She moved her interest to Union organization and helped with the first strike of the “shirtwaist” makers in the Village in 1909 and also became involved in the suffrage movement. She married writer and editor Max Eastman in New York in 1911 (divorced in 1922), but kept her own name, something considered very scandalous at that time. Eastman credited her with introducing him to socialism. During her years in Greenwich Village, Rauh supported a variety of feminist causes, among them Margaret Sanger’s campaigns. She was arrested in 1916 for distributing birth-control information and  charged with obscenity. She received a suspended sentence.

Rauh left the theater in 1920 to pursue sculpture, painting, and other interests. Her accumulated work includes writing, sculpture, painting and scripts. She died in New Mexico a couple months after her son.

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