University of Hartford
Professor Emeritus Virginia Hale, Co-Chair of the Emeriti Association, has written a biography of Beatrice Fox Auerbach, a woman whose name is ubiquitous on the University of Hartford campus. At the October 2008 meeting of the Association, Virginia spoke about the life and times of this extraordinary woman.
From 1938 to 1965, Beatrice Fox Auerbach was chief executive of G. Fox & Company, Hartford’s premier retail outlet, and the sixth largest privately owned department store in the country. She was a pioneer in labor relations. Among her innovations was the establishment of a 5-day work week, and employee medical and retirement plans; she was the first in U.S. retailing to hire blacks in other than menial jobs and she provided advancement opportunities for women.
She was famously generous to the arts, health services, education and civic causes. Her name appears on three buildings on our own campus. But she was far more than her public persona.
A grandmother of twelve, at the age of sixty, Beatrice Auerbach began a series of trips which took her to all parts of the world. Personal diaries and correspondence and the recollections of friends, family and associates open a window on the life of Beatrice Fox Auerbach who, when asked for interviews often responded, “Don’t write about me as a business woman; call me a woman in business”.