Rose Gollup was born to a Jewish family in Russia (now Belarus). Her family was one of millions that fled the attacks on Jewish communities in the 1880s and sought a better life in the USA. Rose’s father emigrated first in 1890, settling in New York. He then sent for the rest of his family. In 1892, Rose and her unmarried aunt joined him; a year later, her mother, two brothers, and two sisters followed.
Rose worked as a garment worker in a sweatshop, a domestic servant, and at a Connecticut retreat for immigrant children. Lillian Wald helped the young Rose by referring her in 1897 to a cooperative shirtwaist shop run by Leonora O’Reilly, later a board member of the National Women’s Trade Union League. The job proved short-lived, but when Ms. O’Reilly began teaching at the Manhattan Trade School for Girls in 1902, she recruited Rose as her assistant. Not much is known about Rose's later life. She married Joseph Cohen and stopped working when her daughter was born. She continued her education after marriage, attending classes at Breadwinners’ College at the Educational Alliance and the Rand School. Her most famous achievement was her groundbreaking autobiography, Out of the Shadow, published in 1918, which provides a valuable account of the life of immigrants on the Lower East Side of the period. Rose Gollop Cohen also wrote five short pieces that were published in New York literary magazines between 1918 and 1922. A short story, “Natalka’s Portion,” was reprinted in Best Short Stories of 1922. Rose died tragically at age 45 under circumstances that are still uncertain.