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Ruth Ann Baldwin

Cooper, Mark Garrett

The 1900 census found Ruth A. Baldwin, born in Connecticut in September 1886, living in San Diego with her mother, Abby Baldwin, who was divorced. Two decades later, the census found Ruth A. Pierson (née Baldwin) residing in Los Angeles with her husband, motion picture actor Leo O. Pierson, and a Japanese servant, Mr. Kogiro Yokoyama. The census lists no profession for Ruth, although her entry in the 1920 Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual suggests she was available for screenwriting positions (317). The 1920 census also makes her four years younger—twenty-nine as opposed to the thirty-three years old she should have been if we go by the earlier record. Baldwin had been busy in the intervening years. She had written for a San Diego newspaper, worked as a publicist for the San Diego Exposition, and performed what the 1920 Motion Picture Studio Directory described as “commercial art, concert work” (317). In 1913, Baldwin joined Universal Manufacturing Company as a scenario writer. In late 1916, after six months as a film editor and a brief apprenticeship with director Lynn Reynolds, she got her opportunity to direct, and Universal credited her with a total of thirteen titles. She soon left Universal, however, for reasons unknown. Beginning in 1919, Fox Film Company and Metro Pictures Corporation together credited Baldwin with six scenarios through 1921. In 1925, the Los Angeles Times reported that “Ruth Ann Baldwin, a writer” was living in a stone cabin on a 320-acre “desert ranch” (A1). There, for now, her trail ends.

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Academic Units
Film
Libraries
Series
Women Film Pioneers Project
Published Here
October 15, 2019