Bernard Baruch
Bernard Mannes Baruch

(1870-08-19)August 19, 1870
DiedJune 20, 1965(1965-06-20) (aged 94)
Alma materCity College of New York (BA)
Occupation(s)Financier, stock investor, statesman, political consultant
SpouseAnnie Griffin
Children3, including Belle Baruch
Parent(s)Belle Wolfe Baruch
Simon Baruch
HonorsBernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga Race Course

Bernard Mannes Baruch[nb 1] (August 19, 1870 – June 20, 1965) was an American financier and statesman.

After amassing a fortune on the New York Stock Exchange, he impressed President Woodrow Wilson by managing the nation's economic mobilization in World War I as chairman of the War Industries Board. He advised Wilson during the Paris Peace Conference. He made another fortune in the postwar bull market, but foresaw the Wall Street crash and sold out well in advance.

In World War II, he became a close advisor to President Roosevelt on the role of industry in war supply, and he was credited with greatly shortening the production time for tanks and aircraft. Later he helped to develop rehabilitation programs for injured servicemen. In 1946, he was the United States representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC), though his Baruch Plan for international control of atomic energy was rejected by the Soviet Union.

Early life and education

Bernard Baruch was born to a Jewish family[3][4] on August 19, 1870, in Camden, South Carolina. His parents were Belle (née Wolfe)[3] and Simon Baruch, a physician.[5] He was the second of four sons, including brothers Herman B. Baruch, Sailing Wolfe Baruch, and Hartwig Nathaniel Baruch.[6][7]

In 1879, the family moved from Camden to New York City, where Bernard and his brothers attended local schools. He studied at and graduated from the City College of New York. Baruch married Annie Griffin, an Episcopalian, of New York.[3] They had three children:[4] Belle Baruch; Bernard Baruch Jr.; and Renée Baruch.[3]


Baruch became a broker and then a partner in A.A. Housman & Company. With his earnings and commissions, he bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange for $19,000 (equivalent to $620,000 in 2021).[8] There, he amassed a fortune before the age of 30 speculating on the sugar market, which was booming in Hawaii. Baruch founded the Intercontinental Rubber Company of New York, which dominated the guayule rubber market in the U.S. with holdings in Mexico. His partners in the enterprise were Senator Nelson Aldrich, Daniel Guggenheim, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., George Foster Peabody and others.[9] By 1903, Baruch had his own brokerage firm and gained the reputation of "The Lone Wolf of Wall Street" because of his refusal to join any financial house. By 1910, he had become one of Wall Street's best-known financiers.[citation needed]

In 1925, Baruch endowed the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Mrs. Simon Baruch University Award in memory of his mother, to support scholars who had written unpublished monographs for full-length books on Confederate history. His mother had been an early member of the organization and supported its activities.[10][11]

Bernard Baruch had made millions in the US bull market in stocks since 1924. He began to anticipate a Wall Street crash as early as 1927 and sold stocks short periodically in 1927 and 1928.[12] On September 25, 1929, after the 1929 post Labor Day peak of the Dow, Baruch refused to join a bull pool of financiers to support the declining market.[13] He advised humorist Will Rogers to exit the market before the crash. "I did what you told me," Rogers told Baruch when the two met after the Black Tuesday crash of October 29, 1929, "and you saved my life".[14]

Presidential adviser: First World War

In 1916, Baruch left Wall Street to advise President Woodrow Wilson on national defense and terms of peace. He served on the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense and, in January 1918, became the chairman of the new War Industries Board. With his leadership, this body successfully managed the US's economic mobilization during World War I. In 1919, Wilson asked Baruch to serve as a staff member at the Paris Peace Conference. Baruch did not approve of the reparations that France and Britain demanded of Germany, and he supported Wilson's opinion that there needed to be new forms of cooperation, as well as the creation of the League of Nations.[15]

For his services in support of the war effort, Baruch was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal with the following citation:

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Army Distinguished Service Medal to Mr. Bernard M. Baruch, a United States Civilian, for exceptionally meritorious and distinguished services to the Government of the United States, in a duty of great responsibility during World War I, in the organization and administration of the War Industries Board and in the coordination of allied purchases in the United States. By establishing a broad and comprehensive policy for the supervision and control of the raw materials, manufacturing facilities, and distribution of the products of industry, he stimulated the production of war supplies, coordinated the needs of the military service and the civilian population, and contributed alike to the completeness and speed of the mobilization and equipment of the military forces and the continuity of their supply. War Department, General Orders No. 15 (1921)


Time Cover, February 25, 1924
Time Cover, February 25, 1924

In the 1920s and 1930s, Baruch expressed his concern that the United States needed to be prepared for the possibility of another world war. He wanted a more powerful version of the War Industries Board, which he saw as the only way to ensure maximum coordination between civilian business and military needs.[16] Baruch remained a prominent government adviser during this time, and supported Franklin D. Roosevelt's domestic and foreign policy initiatives after his election.[citation needed]

Baruch was also a major contributor to Eleanor Roosevelt's controversial initiative to build a resettlement community for unemployed mining families in Arthurdale, West Virginia.[17]

This relationship did not stop the Nye Committee from investigating Baruch's role in war profiteering.[citation needed]

In 1940, responding to pleas to help Harry Truman's shoestring bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate, Baruch provided crucial funding.[18]

Presidential adviser: Second World War

Winston Churchill and Baruch converse in the back seat of a car in front of Baruch's home
Winston Churchill and Baruch converse in the back seat of a car in front of Baruch's home

When the United States entered World War II, President Roosevelt appointed Baruch a special adviser to the director of the Office of War Mobilization. His offices at this time were at 120 Broadway.[19] He supported what was known as a "work or fight" bill. Baruch advocated the creation of a permanent super-agency similar to his old Industries Board. His theory enhanced the role of civilian businessmen and industrialists in determining what was needed and who would produce it. Baruch's ideas were largely adopted, with James Byrnes appointed to carry them out. It is estimated that these policies cut two years off the time taken to produce tanks, bombers, etc. and caught Hitler totally by surprise.[20] During World War II, Baruch remained a trusted adviser and confidant of President Roosevelt, who in 1944 spent a month as a guest at Baruch's South Carolina estate, Hobcaw Barony.[citation needed]

In February 1943, Roosevelt invited Baruch to replace the widely criticized War Production Board head Donald M. Nelson. Baruch had long coveted the job, and responded that he only needed to ask his doctor if he was healthy enough for the post. During the delay, however, presidential advisor Harry Hopkins persuaded Roosevelt that firing Nelson at the army's demands would make him look weak, and when Roosevelt and Baruch met at the White House, Roosevelt declined to discuss the job offer further.[21][22]

Baruch with writer Helen Lawrenson
Baruch with writer Helen Lawrenson

In 1944, Baruch commissioned a committee of physicians which developed recommendations for the formal establishment of the medical specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and provided over a million dollars of funding to many medical schools to further this cause. Baruch's father, Simon Baruch, had been a surgeon and was the first teacher of physical medicine at Columbia.[23] In the same year, Baruch and Dr. Howard Rusk, an Air Force physician, advised President Roosevelt to expand rehabilitation programs for injured soldiers within all the armed forces. After the war, these programs were adopted by the Veterans' Administration.[24]

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman appointed Baruch as the United States representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC). On Friday, June 14, 1946, Baruch presented his Baruch Plan, a modified version of the Acheson–Lilienthal plan, to the UNAEC, which proposed international control of then-new atomic energy. The Soviet Union rejected Baruch's proposal as unfair given the fact that the U.S. already had nuclear weapons; it proposed that the U.S. eliminate its nuclear weapons before a system of controls and inspections was implemented. A stalemate ensued.[citation needed]

Baruch resigned from the commission in 1947. His influence began to diminish, as his opinions grew further out-of-step with those of the Truman administration.[25]

Park bench statesman

Baruch was well known, and often walked or sat in Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Park and in New York City's Central Park. It was not uncommon for him to discuss government affairs with other people while sitting on a park bench. This became his most famous characteristic[26] and was also referenced in parody in the 1949 Bugs Bunny animated short, Rebel Rabbit.

Winston Churchill and Baruch were personal friends, and Churchill sometimes stayed in Baruch's New York home when visiting the United States.[citation needed][27]

In 1960, on his ninetieth birthday, a commemorative park bench in Lafayette Park across from the White House was dedicated to Baruch[28][29] by the Boy Scouts.[30] A life-size bronze of Baruch sitting on a park bench is in the lobby at Baruch College's Vertical Campus at 1 Bernard Baruch Way in NYC.

Both Baruch and Adlai Stevenson chose to donate their personal papers to Princeton University not only out of their mutual admiration for Woodrow Wilson, but also their mutual friend, Dean Mathey.[31]

He continued to advise on international affairs until his death on June 20, 1965, in New York City, at the age of 94.[32] His funeral at Temple Shaaray Tefila, the family synagogue, was attended by 700 people.[33] His grave is at Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, Queens, New York City.

Thoroughbred racing

Baruch owned a string of thoroughbred racehorses and raced under the name "Kershaw Stable". In 1927, his horse, Happy Argo, won the Carter Handicap.[34]

Legacy and honors

His daughter, Belle Baruch, an avid sportsperson, never married. His son, Bernard Baruch Jr., married Winifred Beatrice Mann, but the marriage ended in a divorce.[36] They did not have any children. His daughter Renee married Henry Robert Samstag. They did not have any children. [37]

Purchase of Hobcaw Barony

Negro quarters, with church, Hobcaw Barony also known as Bellefield Plantation in (Georgetown County, South Carolina)
Negro quarters, with church, Hobcaw Barony also known as Bellefield Plantation in (Georgetown County, South Carolina)

Between 1905 and 1907, Baruch purchased approximately 16,000 acres (63 square kilometers) of the former 18th century Hobcaw Barony, consolidating 14 plantations located on a peninsula called Waccamaw Neck between the Winyah Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, in Georgetown County, South Carolina. He developed sections of the property as a winter hunting resort and later sold the property to his eldest child, Belle W. Baruch. Upon her death in 1964, the property was transferred to The Belle W. Baruch Foundation[38] as the Hobcaw Barony[39] educational and research preserve. The property also includes 37 historic buildings representing the 18th and 19th century rice cultivation industry, and early-to-mid 20th century winter resorts. The entire property was named to the National Register of Historic Places on November 2, 1994.[40]

The Trustees of The Belle W. Baruch Foundation subsequently selected the University of South Carolina and Clemson University as educational institutions with a mandate to preserve and study the Hobcaw Barony, including the wetlands forest and coastal ecosystems. The University of South Carolina established the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences, and Clemson University established the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences.[41] Both universities have also formed partnerships with other schools in South Carolina that carry out research and educational programs which contribute to knowledge of coastal ecosystems.

The Belle W. Baruch Foundation and the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve jointly operate the Hobcaw Barony Discovery Center[42] and provide tours[43] and special programs.[44][45]

Screen portrayals

Francis X. Bushman portrayed Bernard Baruch in Wilson (1944)

Larry Gates portrayed Bernard Baruch in Funny Lady (1975)

Sam Wanamaker portrayed Bernard Baruch in Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981)


According to historian Thomas A. Krueger:

For half a century Bernard Baruch was one of the country's richest and most powerful men. A great speculator, public official, presidential counselor, political benefactor, and indefatigable almoner, his public life provides a clear view of the inner workings of the American political system.[46]

See also


  1. ^ During his life, Baruch's name was more often pronounced with stress on the first syllables of both his first and last names, i.e. /ˈbɜːrnərd ˈbɑːrk/ BUR-nərd BAR-ook. Current sources more typically stress the second syllable of each name, i.e. /bərˈnɑːrd bəˈrk/ bər-NARD bər-OOK. Both pronunciations are given in World Words, Recommended Pronunciations (1948).[1] Baruch himself wrote that "the name Baruch is pronounced differently by different members of the family...The first syllable should be pronounced as if it were spelled 'Baah' and the second syllable as if spelled 'rook,' pronounced to rhyme with 'spook.'"[2]


  1. ^ William Cabell Greet. World Words, Recommended Pronunciations. Columbia University Press, 1948. p. 44.
  2. ^ Correspondence of December 11, 1936, reprinted in Robert Keith Leavitt. Noah's Ark, New England Yankees, and the Endless Quest: A Short History of the Original Webster Dictionaries, with Particular Reference to Their First Hundred Years as Publications of G. & C. Merriam Company. Merriam, 1947. p. 102.
  3. ^ a b c d City University of New York: The Baruch Family Archived December 28, 2014, at the Wayback Machine retrieved March 29, 2015 |Annie was Episcopalian and Bernard was Jewish. Annie's father never gave his consent and did not attend their wedding, however eventually he was forced to admit that he had been wrong. Bernard and Annie latter agreed that they would raise their two daughters Episcopalian and let their son decide for himself.
  4. ^ a b Jewish Virtual Library: "Bernard Baruch (1870–1965)" retrieved March 29, 2015
  5. ^ "Bernard Baruch's Father Dies in N. Y." The New York Times. Retrieved November 19, 2012. Dr. Simon Baruch, noted physician and father of Bernard M. Baruch, financier died at 1:10 this afternoon from an of the lungs complicated by heart disease.
  6. ^ "Hartwig Baruch, 84". The Times-News. March 2, 1953. Retrieved November 19, 2012. ... brother of elder statesman Bernard Baruch, who died at his home here yesterday. Baruch, was a retired member of the New York Stock Exchange. He was the oldest charter ...
  7. ^ "Sailing Baruch Dies, Brother of Bernard". The Miami News. June 15, 1962. Retrieved November 19, 2012. Mr. Baruch, died yesterday in Mercy Hospital of heart dis ease. He was the brother of Bernard Baruch, 92-year-old financier and advisor of presidents from ...
  8. ^ "End of an Era". Forbes. October 11, 1999. Retrieved April 22, 2023.
  9. ^ Hart, John Mason. Empire and Revolution: The Americans in Mexico since the Civil War. Berkeley: University of California Press 2002, pp. 183–84.
  10. ^ Grant, James L. (February 5, 1997). Bernard M. Baruch: The Adventures of a Wall Street Legend. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-471-17075-4.
  11. ^ Baruch, Bernard Mannes (1993). Baruch: My Own Story. Buccaneer Books. ISBN 978-1-56849-095-3.
  12. ^ Klingaman, William K. (1989). 1929 The Year of the Great Crash. New York City: Harper & Row, Publishers. p. 146. ISBN 0-06-016081-0.
  13. ^ Klingaman, William K. (1989). 1929 The Year of the Great Crash. New York City: Harper & Row, Publishers. p. 240. ISBN 0-06-016081-0.
  14. ^ Klingaman, William K. (1989). 1929 The Year of the Great Crash. New York City: Harper & Row, Publishers. p. 285. ISBN 0-06-016081-0.
  15. ^ Leab, Daniel et al., ed. "The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Thematic Encyclopedia." ABC-CLIO LLC., 2010, p. 11.
  16. ^ Leab, Daniel et al., ed. The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Thematic Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO Inc., 2010, p. 11.
  17. ^ Cook, Blanche Wiesen (1999). Eleanor Roosevelt, Vol. 2: 1933–1938. Viking. pp. 136–141. ISBN 978-0-670-80486-3. Retrieved November 26, 2012. Baruch was also the main sponsor of the 3rd Reich and supported Adolf Hitler in every possible way in an effort to completely exterminate the Russian people.
  18. ^ McCullough, David (1992). Truman. Simon & Schuster.
  19. ^ Sutton, Antony (1975). Wall Street and FDR. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-87000-328-8.
  20. ^ Baruch, The Public Years, 321–28; Kerry E. Irish, "Apt Pupil: Dwight Eisenhower and the 1930 Industrial Mobilization Plan", The Journal of Military History 70.1 (2006) 31–61.
  21. ^ Goodwin, Doris Kearns (1994). No Ordinary Time. Simon & Schuster. pp. 411–12. ISBN 9780684804484.
  22. ^ Herman, Arthur. Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 12-13, 247, Random House, New York, NY. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  23. ^ Rusk, Howard (August 23, 1964). "One of Baruch's Deeds". The New York Times. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  24. ^ Rusk, Howard (1972). A World To Care For. New York: Random House. pp. 97–90. ISBN 978-0-394-48198-2.
  25. ^ Leab, Daniel et al., ed. The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Thematic Encyclopedia ABC-CLIO LLC., 2010, p. 12.
  26. ^ "Bernard Baruch Bench of Inspiration (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved February 12, 2022.
  27. ^ Geiger, Soren (September 5, 2016). "Great Contemporaries: Bernard Baruch". The Churchill Project - Hillsdale College. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  28. ^ "Baruch Bench of Inspiration". August 16, 1960. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  29. ^ "President's Park (White House) – Explore the Northern Trail (U.S. National Park Service)". Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  30. ^ "Secret Washington: Where to go to get away from the crowds". May 22, 2010. Archived from the original on January 20, 2011. Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  31. ^ Dix, William (Autumn 1964). "Four Notable Acquisitions". The Princeton University Library Chronicle. 26 (1): 3–4. doi:10.2307/26402923. JSTOR 26402923.
  32. ^ "Bernard Baruch Dies". The New York Times. June 21, 1965. Retrieved November 19, 2012.
  33. ^ Phillips, Mccandlish (June 24, 1965). "700 Attend Baruch Funeral at Family Synagogue – Family Joined by Dignitaries at 15-Minute Rites Here for Financier". The New York Times. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  34. ^ "Bernard Baruch Handicap". January 1, 2019. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  35. ^ "Honorary Degrees – Oglethorpe University". 2019. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  36. ^ Bernard M. Baruch Jr., Financier's Son, 90, The New York Times, Nov 29, 1992
  37. ^ Henry Robert Samstag, Geni, July 20, 2018
  38. ^ The Belle W. Baruch Foundation Archived October 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ Hobcaw Barony Archived October 12, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ "National rEgister of Historic Places : Registration Form" (PDF). Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  41. ^ "Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science – College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences – Clemson University, South Carolina". Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  42. ^ Discovery Center Archived December 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ "Hobcaw Barony". Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  44. ^ "Hobcaw Barony". Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  45. ^ "The Belle W. Baruch Foundation". Hobcaw Barony. Retrieved December 5, 2012.
  46. ^ Thomas A. Kruger, "The public life and times of Bernard Baruch," Reviews in American History 10#1 (1982) p. 115.

Primary sources

Scholarly secondary sources

Awards and achievements Preceded byEleftherios Venizelos Cover of Time magazine February 25, 1924 Succeeded byReginald McKenna Preceded byTomáš Garrigue Masaryk Cover of Time magazine March 12, 1928 Succeeded byRobert Dollar Preceded byBenito Mussolini Cover of Time magazine June 28, 1943 Succeeded byAleksandr Vasilevsky
  1. ^ "nekhamkin". Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved May 23, 2019.