Historic, but not famous

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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Historic, but not famous

Madame Marguerite de Bonneville met Thomas Paine (writer, Common Sense) during the time he spent in Paris after the Revolutionary War. She was his landlady and they became close friends. Her husband, Nicholas, was devoted to the same principles of freedom of speech and freedom of the press as was Paine. Ms. Bonneville was a disciple of the radical feminist, Etta Palm d’Aelders, an outspoken Dutch Feminist. 

When Paine came back to America, she and her 3 sons (Benjamin, Louis, and Thomas, of whom Paine was godfather), accompanied him. She was his caretaker, moving him from Washington DC, to New Rochelle New York where he had been given a farm and eventually to his final home in the West Village of NYC. She attended to Paine throughout his illness and final days, renting him a home in her name on Grove Street.  Rumors often circulated that she was the mistress of Paine, but was devoted to her husband and the causes they believed in. Her husband joined the group in New Rochelle after the death of Napoleon and unfortunately Paine. Paine sued the newspaper for libel that accused them of the affair and won.

Madame Bonneville assisted Paine with keeping religious fanatics from his deathbed and was one of 8 people at his graveside along with her sons.

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