When, in 1912, a tiny Jewish women’s study group known as the Hadassah Circle announced its intention to form an international organization addressing social conditions in Palestine, one of its founders, along with henrietta szold, was Rosalie Phillips, a woman whose name was already well known in Jewish American philanthropy and politics. Through her involvement in the fledgling organization, Phillips offered a wide range of resources and connections critical to its success.
Born around 1867, in Washington, D.C., Rosalie was the daughter of Adolphus S. Solomons, founder of the Montefiore and Mount Sinai hospitals in New York and the Providence Hospital in Washington. Rosalie’s life story, like her father’s, is one of intense involvement in and service to both American and Jewish concerns and causes.
A founding member and the first chair of Hadassah, she was also president of the Columbia Religious and Industrial School for Jewish Girls, a vice president of the National Council of Jewish Women, New York Section, honorary vice president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, honorary president of Young Judaea, and a member of the board of directors of the Young Women, a Jewish organization. Additionally, she was deeply involved in the maintenance and workings of the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue in New York.
A descendant of Haym Salomon, a financier of the American War of Independence, Rosalie expressed her ardent patriotism through numerous avenues of mainstream political involvement. Married to Captain N. Taylor Phillips, an attorney who was likewise a leader in democratic politics, Rosalie Phillips assumed her first political post in 1918. This position, as coleader of New York’s Seventh District, was augmented by her membership in the Democratic County Committee for the Fifth Assembly District.
In 1928, Phillips was made vice-chair of the Women’s Division of the New York State Democratic Committee, a position she held until 1943. Prior to that time, in 1920, she had already been named an official delegate for New York and, in that capacity, attended six consecutive conventions between 1920 and 1936.
In addition to her professional political involvement, Phillips was a lifetime member of both the American Flag Association and of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Knickerbocker Chapter, for which she also served as president. A charter member of the National Society of Patriotic Women of America, she functioned as that organization’s organizational historian.
Rosalie Phillips died in New York City on February 5, 1946, at her home on the Upper West Side.
AJYB 48: 496; “Mrs. N.T. Phillips, Figure in City, 79.” NY Times, February 7, 1946, 23:3; WWIAJ (1928).
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Rose, Dawn. "Rosalie Solomons Phillips." Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia. 20 March 2009. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 22, 2019) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/phillips-rosalie-solomons>.