Solomon Rauh and Rosalia Lippman immigrated separately to Philadelphia, Pa., from Bavaria about 1849. They married and moved to Dubuque, Iowa, and later to Cincinnati, Ohio, before joining her brother soaring eagle casino and resort in Pittsburgh about 1870.
In Pittsburgh, Solomon Rauh (c.1822-1880) worked with his brother-in-law in a dry goods store on Second Avenue downtown. Rosalia Rauh (1834-1915) was president of the Hebrew Ladies Aid Society from 1880 until 1905. She was also on the board of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Gusky Orphanage, the Montefiore Hospital Ladies’ Aid Society and the Jewish Home for the Aged. Among other charitable deeds, she donated $5,000 to the Gusky Orphanage in 1899, in memory of her husband and two deceased children. “When a deserving child displays an inclination for a trade or profession a certain appropriation of the ‘Training Fund’ is to be used for an education in the development of that tendency in one of the local manual training schools, business colleges or preparatory schools for a profession,” the Jewish Criterion explained.
Solomon and Rosalia Rauh had five children, Enoch, Marcus, Abraham, Bertha and Charles. They lived for a time at 38 Western Avenue in old Allegheny City.
Enoch and Bertha Rauh
Enoch Rauh (1857-1919) completed his studies at night schools in Pittsburgh before working as a clerk for his uncles Abraham Lippman and Louis Aaron. With the backing of Lippman, the four brothers started a wholesale men’s clothing business that eventually became Rauh Brothers & Company on Wood Street. As the business grew, it moved to 800 Liberty Avenue and later to 951 Penn Avenue. By 1886, the business employed more than 100 people and eventually included a branch office in New York and covered territory stretching into Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. Enoch Rauh was also a major investor with the Homer Laughlin China Company of East Liverpool, Ohio.
His business acumen brought him to the Pittsburgh Association of Credit Men, which sought to improve commercial lending. He served six terms as president. The members of the association included Benswanger & Hast, the Duquesne Reduction Company, the Edlis Barber Supply Company, Frank & Seder Department Stores, Kingsbacher Brothers, Lehman & Kingsbacher and C. Reizenstein’s Sons.
Enoch Rauh moved into the political sphere in 1911, when he was appointed to the Council of Nine, a transitional body between the ward-based council and the City Council as it exists today. He subsequently served two elected terms. His work included efforts to impose an eight-hour workday and enact anti-child-labor laws. He also sponsored the Rauh Act, an early piece of statewide worker’s compensation legislation for municipal employees.
At the time of his death, Enoch Rauh was a trustee of the Carnegie Library, the Carnegie Institute, the Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Music Hall; a director of the Gusky Orphanage; and a member of the advisory board for the Young Men’s Hebrew Association, among other positions. He was the president of the Concordia Club for 25 years. In 1920, after his death, a group of young Jewish men formed the Enoch Rauh Club, a social and philanthropic organization with the motto “Do good wherever possible.”
In 1888, Enoch Rauh married Bertha Floersheim. Bertha Floersheim Rauh (1865-1952) gained an early reputation for high achievement. She graduated from the Grant School and from Central High School with the highest marks in the city and maintained a perfect attendance record through the entirety of her schooling. She also excelled artistically, gaining notice as singer and an actress. She played piano at the Art Society, sang at the Carnegie Music Hall and performed in amateur theatrical productions at the Concordia Club. She sang in the Rodef Shalom Congregation choir for 16 years, apparently to save the congregation the expense of employing a salaried mezzo-soprano. “She is slight and dark, with flashing dark eyes and a fitful color that grows brilliant under excitement,” as The Social Mirror described her in 1888.
Bertha Rauh volunteered for charitable causes throughout her youth. Her career as a civic and philanthropic leader began in 1903 when she was elected to serve as president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, a position she held until 1922. Her tenure corresponded with a dramatic increase in the immigrant population of Pittsburgh, and she focused her efforts on expanding privately funded resources for those in need, both Jewish and non-Jewish. These initiatives included “penny lunches” in the city schools, open air schools for tubercular children, juvenile courts and a labor bureau for the unemployed, all of which the city eventually incorporated into its public welfare services. She fostered public baths and a program to deliver pasteurized milk and clean water to children in poor neighborhoods, and she helped found the Committee to Aid the Blind, which was a forerunner of the National Association for the Blind. She was active in many home-front initiatives during World War I, including the Red Cross.
“She distinguished between the contributions that women and men respectively could make, believing that women would bring sensitivity to decision-making positions, private charity, the city, and the nation,” the historian Corinne Azen Krause wrote in a profile. Bertha Rauh manifested this philosophy in many ways. She was a founding member of several suffrage groups in Western Pennsylvania and criticized the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, of which she was a founder, for barring women from its board of directors. The Federation relented, in part, by appointing her to a one-year term in 1923.
By 1919, Bertha Rauh was a member of 30 boards, which gave her a level of experience and a degree of public standing that was unusual for women of her time. Mayor William A. Magee appointed Rauh to serve as Director of Public Charities, making her the first female cabinet appointee for any city in the country. She soon changed the name to the Department of Public Welfare, reflecting her ambitious social agenda. According to Krause, “…she collaborated closely with public and private charities, settlement houses, hospitals, churches, and schools,” which yielded many highly effective programs, including traveling physicians and dieticians and a dramatic transformation of the archaic Mayview Hospital into a modern psychiatric facility. She was reappointed under two successive administrations, which carried her 12-year term into the Great Depression.
Even after retiring from public office in 1934, Bertha Rauh maintained a presence in public life by advocating for the legalization of birth control and for the implementation of smoke-control measures, as well as for other public health initiatives. “One thinks of Jane Addams of Chicago and Mrs. Enoch Rauh of Pittsburgh in the same way,” the Pittsburgh Press wrote in a tribute during her lifetime, “each of them an inspiring citizen of her great community, and both of them shining examples of the religion of doing good.” The Detroit Free Press dubbed her “The Lady Astor of Pittsburgh.”
Enoch and Bertha Rauh had two children, Helen and Richard.
Richard Solomon and Helen Wayne Rauh
Like his parents, Richard Solomon Rauh (1893-1954) was precocious in childhood and active in public life from an early age. He graduated from Fifth Avenue High School and the University of Pittsburgh before taking a job at the Jewish Criterion, where he was news editor and wrote a “Weekly Comment” column covering world affairs and the arts. His subjects included women’s suffrage, the advent of World War I and the trial of Leo Frank. He moved from journalism into advertising in the late 1910s with the firm Rauh & Rosenthal. He later started the Richard S. Rauh Company. A pioneer in the field, locally, he was named director of advertising for Duquesne University in 1917, and he pushed for the formation of an advertising association to advance the profession. He was also the executive vice president and treasurer of the Bankers Lithographing Company.
Throughout his life, Richard S. Rauh was active in philanthropic pursuits. At his death, he was president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, a trustee of the United Jewish Fund, vice president of the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, and director of the national board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. He had served as a trustee of the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, as well as on other boards.
With his mother, Richard S. Rauh co-founded the Pittsburgh Symphony Society. He and eight other officers of the society were arrested in April 1927 when the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra played a Sunday concert in violation of Pennsylvania blue laws.
In 1935, Richard S. Rauh married Helen Wayne (1912-1993). Born Helen Barbara Sisenwain, the actress shortened her name while studying drama at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Shortly after graduating in 1933, she became a founding member of the Pittsburgh Civic Playhouse, where Rauh first saw her. While courting, Richard Rauh and Helen Wayne, with the help of a committee including Leon Falk Jr. and Charles Rosenbloom, re-organized the group into the non-profit Pittsburgh Playhouse in late 1934. Over the following four decades, Helen Wayne Rauh performed in 38 productions at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, in addition to notable work on local radio and television. She also wrote an etiquette column for the Pittsburgh Sun Times. “It’s impossible to imagine another local actor — or many visiting ones — who enjoyed such instant name recognition even outside theatrical circles,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote in a memorial of Rauh after her death.
Richard and Helen Wayne Rauh had one son, Richard Enoch.
Richard Enoch Rauh
Richard Enoch Rauh (1940-) graduated from Shady Side Academy and the University of Pittsburgh. He followed his mother into acting, starting his career as a child in a 1946 Shady Side Academy production. He later performed on stage, film and television, including several acclaimed productions of Neil Simon’s The Last of the Red Hot Lovers and a 1998 production of Krapp’s Last Tape, which is generally considered to be his best performance. In 1962, while in college, Rauh was a founder and the general manager of WPGH-FM, the first student radio station at the University of Pittsburgh.
He produced the Pittsburgh Playhouse Film Festival from 1968 until the series ended in 1994 and ran a summer film series for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust at the Byham in 1997 and 1998. He taught film and theater at Point Park College and wrote theater reviews for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and other publications.
Starting about 1998, while continuing his academic and theatrical work, Richard E. Rauh became an active philanthropist, donating to numerous Jewish and cultural organizations around the Pittsburgh area, particularly those institutions with a connection to his family and its history. His endowments include the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center, the Richard E. Rauh Oral History Fund at the National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theater at Carnegie Mellon University, the Rauh Theater at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, the Helen Wayne Rauh Rehearsal Hall at the O’Reilly Theater and the Richard S. Rauh Garden Room at Heinz Hall.