Ruth Gruber †
Journalist, photographer, humanitarian
Ruth Gruber became the youngest Ph.D. in the world before going on to become an international foreign correspondent and photojournalist at age 24. By 1936, Ruth was in the Soviet Union reporting for The New York Herald Tribune; by 1941, she was filing reports from Alaska for Harold L. Ickes, Roosevelt’s Secretary of the Interior, describing its suitability for homesteading soldiers. During World War II and its aftermath, she secretly escorted Holocaust refugees to America in 1944 and documented the attack on the refugee boat Exodus by the British in 1947.
Continuing her journalistic travel, she worked as a foreign correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune, writing about each new wave of immigrants into Israel, including the Iraqis, Yemenites, Romanians, Russians and Ethiopians. She also wrote a popular column for Hadassah Magazine, called “Diary of an American Housewife.” Ruth Gruber has received many awards for her writing and humanitarian acts, including the Na’amat Golda Meir Human Rights Award and awards from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance. She has written 18 books, and most recently was the subject of the documentary Ahead of Time.
She passed away at the age of 105 on November 17th, 2016.
The Common Good honored Ruth Gruber with the American Spirit Award for Citizen Activism at the The American Spirit Awards 2011.