Exit a 'Grande Dame'

April 07, 1992

There are philanthropists who give generously of their money, and there are volunteers who give generously of their time, energy and wisdom. Not often are the two combined into a single, compact package. Such a person was Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg, who died last Friday at age 92.

One of the most moving moments of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra's 75th anniversary celebration two years ago was the speech by Mrs. Rosenberg, the honorary chairman of the celebration. There could not have been many other people in the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall that evening who attended the orchestra's first concert, as she had. And other than the Meyerhoffs, no one who had done so much to give Baltimore a first-class orchestra.

The range of Mrs. Rosenberg's experiences and the breadth of her life is illustrated by some of the terms used by her admirers. Simultaneously she was a "grande dame" in the old tradition and a "feisty" adviser who could also provide "a good mouthful" of counsel. She contributed both money, energy and sound advice to the symphony, Goucher College, the Walters Art Gallery, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and perhaps most substantially in her last years to the Peabody Institute. There she was a key figure in the public and private effort to rescue the music conservatory from a financial crisis.

Mrs. Rosenberg was the daughter of Louis Blaustein, who built the corporation now known as Amoco from a horse cart delivering kerosene to homes in the city. With her late husband, Henry A. Rosenberg Sr., she built upon her family's tradition of philanthropy and leaves Baltimore with a legacy that will endure in this city's cultural life.

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