Caroline Bamberger: Founder of the IAS

carolinebamberger
Caroline Bamberger Frank Fuld (1864-1944), photo circa 1920

Caroline Bamberger Frank Fuld lived at the turn of the 19th-20th centuries and is known for her philanthropic work and business acumen at a time when women were still struggling to get on an even playing field with their male counterparts. Bamberger was a co-founder, along with her brother Louis, of the renowned Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton New Jersey.

Known as Carrie to her friends and family, Fuld grew up as one of six children in Baltimore, Maryland. Her father came to the US in 1840 from Bavaria, and her mother was an heiress to a successful department store in Baltimore. In 1883 Carrie and Louis move to Philadelphia where they began the business that eventually became L. Bamberger and Company. Together with their two other partners, Louis Meyer Frank and Felix Fuld, they innovated new ways to sell and advertise their goods.

Carrie married her business partner Louis Frank in 1883, at the age of 19, and then married her other business partner Felix Fuld in 1913, three years after her first husband passed away in 1910. In 1929 Carrie’s second husband also died. Not long after Carrie and her brother sold their company to RH Macy and Company, only a few months before the Great Stock Market Crash.

After selling their business Carrie devoted herself to philanthropy, having no children from either of her marriages. She was especially devoted to Jewish causes, helping to support Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, The Jewish Relief Committee, and Hadassah Women. The National Council of Jewish Women elected her to be their national director in 1931.

She is most remembered for her crucial support, with her brother, of what became the Institute for Advanced in Princeton. Their initial support was $5 million in 1930 for the endowment. About $18 million was the total contribution by the end of their support. Carrie was vice-president of the institute at its founding and until 1933. After that until her death in 1944 she was a life trustee.

 

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