Fuld, Carrie (1864–1944)

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Fuld, Carrie (1864–1944)

American philanthropist who co-founded the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Born Carrie Bamberger on March 16, 1864, in Baltimore, Maryland; died on July 18, 1944, in Lake Placid, New York; fifth of six children of Elkan (a businessman) and Theresa (Hutzler) Bamberger; attended public and private schools in Baltimore; married Louis Meyer Frank (co-founder of L. Bamberger & Company, a department store), in the early 1980s (died 1910); married Felix Fuld (partner in L. Bamberger & Co.), on February 20, 1913 (died 1929); no children.

One of six children of German-Jewish parents, Carrie Bamberger, later Fuld, was born in 1864 and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, where her father ran a wholesale notions business. Her mother Theresa Hutzler Bamberger was the daughter of Moses Hutzler, who founded a well-known Baltimore department store. In the early 1880s, Carrie married Louis Meyer Frank, who, in 1893, joined Carrie's brother Louis Bamberger and a second partner, Felix Fuld, to open L. Bamberger & Company, a small store in Newark, New Jersey. After Frank died in 1910, Carrie married Felix Fuld, her brother's surviving partner. At the time of Fuld's death in 1929, L. Bamberger was the largest department store in the United States. Just prior to the stock-market crash, Carrie and her brother sold the concern to R.H. Macy & Company for $25 million.

A strong social conscience led Carrie and her brother to use their fortune to benefit the public—particularly the citizens of New Jersey. Originally interested in endowing a medical school, they met with Abraham Flexner, an educator and foundation executive, who persuaded them to use their money to promote basic research and advance the frontiers of knowledge. In 1930, Fuld and Bamberger donated $5 million to found the Institute for Advanced Study, which opened in Princeton, New Jersey, in 1933, with Flexner as its director. The first institute of its kind in the United States, it employed some of nation's finest minds to engage in research and creative scholarship. (The brilliant mathematician Albert Einstein was the first professor of the institute's school of mathematics.) Additional gifts from Bamberger and Fuld, eventually totalling $18 million, endowed a school of economics and politics and a school of humanistic studies. Fuld also served as vice president of the board of trustees of the Institute until 1934, when she felt her services were no longer needed.

Carrie Fuld contributed generously to other causes as well, although she carefully avoided publicity and made many of her donations anonymously. She was especially generous to the Jewish community, making large donations to the Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, and to the American Jewish Joint Agricultural Corporation to help train Russian Jews for work in factories and on farms. One of her pet charities was the Jewish Day Nursery and Neighborhood House, a settlement house in the Newark slums. It was renamed the Fuld Neighborhood House in 1941. She also supported Hadassah and was active the National Council of Jewish Women. A patron of the arts, Fuld backed the New York Philharmonic Society and made a gift of several paintings and sculptures to the Newark Museum. After her death in 1944, the works of art from her home in South Orange were given to the museum and to the New Jersey Historical Society.

sources:

James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Weatherford, Doris. American Women's History. NY: Prentice-Hall, 1994.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts