Baldwin, Ruth Ann (fl. 1915–1921)

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Baldwin, Ruth Ann (fl. 1915–1921)

American screenwriter and director. Flourished from 1915 to 1921.


(as writer) The Black Box (1915); (as director) Arrangement With Fate (1915), The Double Deal In The Park (1915), (co-director) End of the Rainbow (1916), Recoiling Vengeance (1916), The Retribution (1916), Black Mantilla (1917), The Butterfly (1917), Is Money All? (1917), It Makes a Difference (1917), The Rented Man (1917), A Soldier of the Legion (1917), The Storm Women (1917), Three Women of France (1917), Twixt Love and Desire (1917), When Liz Lets Loose (1917), A Wife on Trial (1917), The Woman Who Could Not Pay (1917), The Mother's Call (1918), Broken Commandments (1919), The Devil's Ripple (1920), The Marriage of William Ashe (1921), Puppets of Fate (1921).

Little personal data can be found on Ruth Ann Baldwin, who was certainly one of the pioneers of the motion-picture industry. Having established a career as a journalist and publicist, Baldwin was hired by Universal in 1915 to write a serial called The Black Box for Herbert Rawlinson and Anna Little , popular matinee idols of the day. Serials were to the silent era what episodic dramas or soaps are to modern television audiences; seen in sequence each Saturday afternoon, the melodramatic tales often ended in a cliff-hanger.

Besides The Black Box, Baldwin directed and wrote another successful serial called The Double Deal in the Park. After co-directing the feature film End of the Rainbow, she became a full-time director. Her first major success came in 1916 with the release of Retribution that starred Cleo Madison . Also under contract with Universal, Madison was a popular actress turned director.

Baldwin spent much of her career working for Universal. However, she directed two pictures for rival Metro, Broken Commandments, 1919, and Puppets of Fate, one of two pictures she directed in 1921. Though an article in Photoplay magazine called Baldwin "one of the most capable of the Universal staff," her career after 1921 seems to have ended as abruptly as it began, and any personal information still must be unearthed.


Slide, Anthony. Early Women Directors: Their Role in the Development of the Silent Cinema. NY: A.S. Barnes, 1977.

Smith, Sharon. Women Who Make Movies. NY: Hopkinson and Blake, 1975.

Deborah Jones , Studio City, California

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Baldwin, Ruth Ann (fl. 1915–1921)

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