About Ruby Fox (1856–1950)
On September 6, 1904, Ruby Fox ran for a seat on the Grand Rapids Board of Education in the city’s Eleventh Ward. Her supporters touted her as a successor to Mary Phillips, who won in 1902 but withdrew her candidacy for the 1904 election. Fox was familiar with school board politics, having served nine years on a school board in Vergennes Township, Kent County, but her experience was not enough to bring about a victory; she received 112 votes to her opponent Harvey Chadwick’s 224.
Ruby Fox was born in Lowell, Michigan, in 1857. She taught at Lowell Union School until she resigned in 1880. That same year she married Frank J. Fox. She and her husband moved to Grand Rapids around 1903.
Like so many women of her time, Fox was active in women’s clubs. She was a member of the Fifth District Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), where she regularly gave addresses and led parliamentary drills. In 1905, Fox was elected president of the Fifth District WCTU, and in 1906 she was elected its Superintendent of Anti-Narcotic Scientific Temperance Instruction.
Fox was also interested in hospital work, and in 1907 she became the secretary of the Woman’s Home and Hospital in Grand Rapids. Run by the WCTU, the home offered shelter and medical help for destitute women or women “too feeble in health to support themselves.” Fox served as the home’s secretary until at least 1915. Her efforts there were recognized that same year when she and several others from the home’s leadership participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Woman’s Home and Hospital’s new building.
Political Office: Board of Education
Election Year: 1904
Party Affiliation: Nonpartisan race
Full Name: Ruby A. Babcock Fox
Life Dates: December 24, 1856–September 12, 1950
Birthplace: Vergennes, Michigan
Marital Status: Married
Occupation: No formal occupation
Party Affiliation: Unknown
Social Reform Activism: Temperance, Women’s Clubs
“Defeat for Bonds: Vote at School Election Adverse to Proposition.” Grand Rapids Press, September 7, 1904.
“Ground Broken for New Home.” Grand Rapids Herald, October 20, 1915.
“Laws for Children to Be Discussed at Meeting of South W.C.T.U.” Grand Rapids Press, November 24, 1904.
“Mrs. Ruby Fox a Candidate.” Grand Rapids Herald, September 3, 1904.
Nineteenth Biennial Report of the Michigan State Board of Corrections and Charities, 1907-1908. Lansing, MI: 1909.
“Officers Are Chosen At the Closing Session of the District W.C.T.U.” Grand Rapids Press, April 28, 1906.
“The States.” The Educational Weekly 7, no. 157 (April 15, 1880): 270-272.
“Work for Purity: Address Made to W.C.T.U. Convention by Miss Barbour.” Grand Rapids Press, April 23, 1903.