Rose Perkins was born on the Union College campus to Professor and Mrs. Maurice Perkins in 1866. She was educated at Miss Master’s School in Dobb’s Ferry, New York, Schenectady High School, and a private school in Paris. On June 15, 1893 she married Edward Everett Hale Jr., and the couple had three children, each of whom graduated from Union College: Maurice Hale, Class of 1918, Nathan Hale, Class of 1922, and Thomas Shaw Hale, Class of 1923.
Rose took an active role in the women’s suffrage movement, serving as president of the Votes for Women Association of Schenectady, as well as in local politics. In 1916, she became president of the Schenectady Board of Education and in 1920, was elected to the Schenectady County Board of Supervisors, apparently becoming the first woman elected to public office in New York State. She was also a member of the Robert Beverly Hale Library and the Kingstown Congregational Church. She shared her mother’s love of gardening, eventually becoming a member of the South Country Garden Club; it was Rose who arranged for the plaque to be erected on Union’s campus that still recalls the location and beauty of “Mrs. Perkins’ Garden.”
In 1904, the Hales bought a house at Matunuck in Wakefield, RI, where Rose spent summers and where she would eventually retire. Indeed, soon after her husband’s death in 1932, Rose left the College which had been her home almost her entire life. A reception was given in her honor on the occasion by the Faculty Women’s Club of Union College. One hundred and fifty people were present, and she was presented with a silver bowl filled with spring flowers. Before settling permanently in Matunuck, however, she spent a few months in Arizona. Family records suggest that she wrote several children’s books and operated a boys’ camp at Matunuck. After a long illness she died in North Kingstown, RI at the age of ninety-seven.