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Personal Details

Full Name:
Mary Ellen Woodford Ruth 1
Also known as:
Helen Ruth 1
Also known as:
Helen Kinder 1
Also known as:
Mrs Babe Ruth 1
20 Oct 1896 1
Boston MA 1
11 Jan 1929 1
Watertown MA 1
Cause: Suffocation 1
Catholic 1

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Helen Woodford Ruth "Kinder"

  Born in 1897, Helen Woodford was the first wife of George Herman "Babe" Ruth

 In the mornings, Ruth would frequent Landers' Coffee Shop in Boston, and it is here that he met Helen Woodford, a seventeen-year-old waitress. They married on October 17, 1914 at St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church in Ellicott City, Maryland. As Babe's career began to blossom and his salary increased, by 1919 he was making $10,000 per year, he and Helen were able to buy a home outside of Boston in Sudbury, Massachusetts.

  In December of 1919 Babe was sold to the New York Yankees, owned by Colonel Jacob Ruppert and managed by Miller Huggins. Prior to Ruth's arrival in New York, the team had never won a pennant. With "The Babe" as part of their arsenal they became a dominant force in major league baseball, winning seven pennants and four World Championships from 1920 to 1933.

Even though she had been married to Ruth for four years, Helen was barely 21 years old and found herself increasingly unable to comprehend her husband's exuberant ways. She felt less and less a part of his life. They had bought a "farm" out in the country in Sudbury, 20 miles west of Boston, and the two quondam waifs played at being happy together back on the land. But it was Helen who was more often on the land, alone, while Babe was on the road with the team or on the town with his night people. Only rarely was she able to bring home to him her loneliness and distress, and he assumed that his generosity with money and gifts made up for that. In truth, he was never greatly concerned. He was primarily interested in himself, and his young wife's unhappiness rarely penetrated his restless questing after fun and games.

     In New York, Babe and Helen moved into the Ansonia Hotel on Broadway, which was also the New York home for many celebrities. Unlike her husband, Helen was shy and reserved and did not enjoy the constant notoriety that accompanied Babe wherever he went. As a result, she preferred staying at their rural home outside of Boston, where they had a farm with some 200 acres of land and privacy. 

 In 1921, the couple adopted a baby girl, Dorothy, which was the product of an affair that Babe had with a woman named Juanita Jennings.  That has long been suspected. When Helen made her first public appearance with Dorothy, on Sept. 23, 1922, the little girl was said to be 16 months old. It was known that Helen, who had suffered several miscarriages, had not been pregnant during the previous two and a half years. Helen and Babe, moreover, gave conflicting birth dates and other details.

  The couple seperated sometime after that, and Babe took up with Claire Hodgson, because Babe and Helen were both Catholic, divorce was not an option. Helen later began a relationship with a dentist, Dr Edward H Kinder, and it was at his home in Watertown Massachussets that Helen died in a house fire on January 11, 1929


Helen Woodford Ruth "Kinder"

The News-Herald, 14 January 1929, Page 6


The San Bernardino County Sun, 13 January 1929, Page 2

The San Bernardino County Sun, 13 January 1929, Page 1

Bradford Evening Star and The Bradford Daily Record, 13 January 1929, Page 1

Bradford Evening Star and The Bradford Daily Record, 13 January 1929, Page 2

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) 6 Sep 1925, Sun • Page 19

The Hutchinson News (Hutchinson, Kansas) 31 Aug 1925, Mon • Page 1

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) 1 Sep 1925, Tue • Page 16


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