Rosalie Meyer Stern was a civic and social leader of San Francisco.
In 1892, Rosalie Meyer 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. She also purchased 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.
Rosalie Meyer Stern also 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 (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 also funded construction of Stern Hall, at the University of California, at Berkeley; took an active interest in forty-eight scholarships that were established at the University of California, at 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.
The collection contains family correspondence, papers, and genealogies; diaries; biographical material; photographs, including some taken by Ansel Adams; travel descriptions; and materials concerning the Meyer, Stern, and Haas families of the United States and Europe and the Zadoc Kahn family of France. The collection's letters reveal Rosalie's strong feelings about service, responsibility, assimilation, social class, religion, Zionism, art, and universality. Sigmund Stern's letters provide examples of his familial affection and wit, and his business correspondence illuminates the philanthropic policies of Levi Strauss and Company.