Babe Ruth in the Census, 1900–1940

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Babe Ruth in the 1940 Census

Babe Ruth in the 1940 Census
George Herman "Babe" Ruth in the 1940 Census. National Archives & Records Administration

Legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, aka George Herman Ruth, was born on 6 February 1896 at 216 Emery Street in Baltimore (the home of his maternal grandfather, Pius Schamberger) to George and Kate Ruth. The 1940 US census presents a snapshot in time of he and his family just five years after his retirement from baseball in 1935, living at 173 Riverside Drive in New York City. Babe Ruth is listed as "retired," but earning $5,000 in the prior year - a good sum for the time. Interestingly, Babe Ruth, who provided the information to the census taker, listed his wife, Claire Mae Merritt, as the head of household. Also listed in the household are Claire's mother and brother, Claire and Hubert Merritt, along with Julia, Claire's daughter from her previous marriage to Frank Hodgson, and Dorothy, the couple's adopted daughter.1

Follow Babe Ruth Through the Census

You can also follow Babe Ruth and his family through previous US census records. In the , the "Babe" was just five years old, living with his parents at 339 Woodyear Street in Baltimore, in rooms above the tavern owned by his father, George.2

By the age of 7, George Jr. had apparently been deemed as "incorrigible and vicious," and was shipped off to reform school—aka St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys–where he learned tailoring and became a ballplayer. You can find him enumerated with the other students at the St. Mary's school in the . Interestingly, however, you can also find him listed in the 1910 census in the household of his father, George Herman Ruth, Sr. at 400 Conway St.3 George's mother, Catherine "Kate" is also enumerated in the household, however, despite the fact that she and George Sr. had been divorced for several years. Whether this was a mistake, or an attempt by George Sr. or some other family member to keep the family's troubles out of the public census record, is unclear. This enumeration took place on a supplemental sheet, which means the family was not at home the first time the census taker went by. It is thus possible that the information provided came from George Sr.'s brother (also listed in the household), or even a neighbor, who just named the family members without concern to whether they actually lived in the home.

It appears that Babe Ruth may have been missed by census takers in the 1920 census, the year he was traded from the Red Sox to the Yankees. But by the you can find him living in Manhattan with his in-laws and second wife, Clara.4
 

Next Celebrity: Albert Einstein

Full List: Famous Americans in the 1940 Census

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Sources:

1. 1940 U.S. Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, New York City, enumeration district (ED) 31-786, sheet 6B, family 153, Claire Ruth household; digital images, Archives.com (http://1940census.archives.com : accessed 3 April 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 2642.

2. 1900 U.S. Census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, 11th Precinct, ED 262, sheet 15A, page 48A, family 311, George H. Ruth household; digital images, FamilySearch.org (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 January 2016); citing NARA microfilm 623, roll 617.

3. 1910 U.S. Census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, ED 373, supplemental sheet 15B, family 325, George H. Ruth household; digital images, FamilySearch.org (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 January 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 552. 1910 U.S. Census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, Election District 13, ED 56, sheet 1A, St. Mary's Industrial School, line 41, George H. Ruth; digital images, FamilySearch.org (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 January 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 552.

4. 1930 U.S. Census, New York County, New York, population schedule, Manhattan, ED 31-434, sheet 47A, family 120, Carrie Merritt household; digital images, FamilySearch.org (www.familysearch.org : accessed 25 January 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1556.

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Powell, Kimberly. "Babe Ruth in the Census, 1900–1940." ThoughtCo, Mar. 3, 2017, thoughtco.com/babe-ruth-in-the-census-1421918. Powell, Kimberly. (2017, March 3). Babe Ruth in the Census, 1900–1940. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/babe-ruth-in-the-census-1421918 Powell, Kimberly. "Babe Ruth in the Census, 1900–1940." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/babe-ruth-in-the-census-1421918 (accessed January 17, 2018).