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Rosalie Meyer Stern was a civic and social leader of San Francisco. In 1892, she married Sigmund Stern, the president of Levi Strauss and Company. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, Stern converted her house into a Red Cross factory. During World War I, she became the first woman associate field director for military relief in the West; worked with the Red Cross at Camp Fremont Base Hospital; helped furnish troops with supplies; and collected money. In 1917, she served on the Garden Committee of the San Francisco Park and Recreation Department; in 1918, she formed the Garden Hospital Committee for the United States Veterans Hospital Number 24; and in 1919 she was appointed the president of the San Francisco Playground Commission. Stern also bought land that was scheduled for urban development and gave it to the city of San Francisco for the establishment of Sigmund Stern Grove, as a memorial to her husband and helped form a committee to underwrite free summer concerts held in the Grove. She also organized the San Francisco Junior Symphony and was a founder of the San Francisco Opera Association. She held board positions on the board of the World War I Fatherless Children of France (and received the Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur from France in 1938); Associated Jewish Charities; Pioneer Kindergarten Society and Children's Agency; Community Chest; and the Women's Board of the San Francisco Museum of Art. She funded construction of Stern Hall, at the University of California, Berkeley; took an active interest in forty-eight scholarships that were established at the University of California, Berkeley by Levi Strauss and Company; and served on the Entertainment Committee for the World's Fair that was held on Treasure Island (1939-1940). She also served on committees of the War Relief Fund and of the National Recreation Association, in addition to being an honorary member of the California Recreation Society.
This collection is primarily comprised of correspondence and ephemera documenting Rosalie Meyer Stern's familial and social life. Also included are diaries, biographical and genealogical material relating to Stern's maternal and paternal relations, newsclippings, some materials on Rosalie’s paternal uncle, Leon Zadoc Kahn, the Grand Rabbi of France, and photographs. Most of the collection centers on Rosalie Meyer Stern’s life as a daughter, sister, cousin, mother, and grandmother. There is relatively little material relating to her role as a civic leader.