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Bernard M. Baruch

Bernard Baruch
Born (1870-08-19)August 19, 1870
Camden, South Carolina
Died June 20, 1965(1965-06-20) (aged 94)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Alma mater City College of New York
Awards Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga Race Course

Bernard Mannes Baruch (/bəˈrk/; August 19, 1870 – June 20, 1965) was an American financier, stock investor, philanthropist, statesman, and political consultant. After his success in business, he devoted his time toward advising U.S. Presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt on economic matters and became a philanthropist.

Early life and education

Bernard Baruch was born in Camden, South Carolina on August 19, 1870 to Belle and Simon Baruch, a physician.[1] He was the second of four sons, including brothers Herman B. Baruch, Sailing W. Baruch, and Hartwig N. Baruch.[2][3]

In 1881 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.

Career

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 $18,000 ($434,000 in today's dollars). There he amassed a fortune before the age of 30 via speculation in the sugar market. 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.

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 Simon Baruch University Award in memory of his mother, to support scholars who have written unpublished monographs for full-length books on Confederate history.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

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 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 France and Britain demanded of Germany, and supported Wilson's view that there needed to be new forms of cooperation between nations, and supporting the creation of the League of Nations.[4]

In the 1920s and 30s, 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.[5] Baruch remained a prominent government adviser during this time, and supported Franklin D. Roosevelt's domestic and foreign policy initiatives after his election.

During President Roosevelt's "New Deal" program, Baruch was a member of the "Brain Trust" and helped form the National Recovery Administration (NRA). He was also a major contributor to Eleanor Roosevelt's controversial initiative to build a resettlement community for unemployed mining families in Arthurdale, West Virginia.[6]

Presidential adviser: Second World War


When the United States entered World War II, President Roosevelt appointed Baruch a special adviser to the director of the Office of War Mobilization. He supported what was known as a "work or fight" bill. Baruch advocated the creation of a permanent superagency 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.[7] Baruch's ideas were largely adopted, with James Byrnes appointed to carry them out. 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.

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 were 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 the at the White House, Roosevelt declined to discuss the job offer further.[8]

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.

Baruch resigned from the commission in 1947. His influence began to diminish, as he grew further out of step with the views of the Truman administration.[9]

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: he became known for this.

In 1960, on his ninetieth birthday, a commemorative park bench in Lafayette Park across from the White House was dedicated to him[10][11] by the Boy Scouts.[12]

He continued to advise on international affairs until his death on June 20, 1965, in New York City, at the age of 94.[13] His funeral at Temple Shaaray Tefila, the family synagogue, was attended by 700 people.[14] His grave is at Flushing Cemetery, Flushing, Queens, New York City.

Thoroughbred racing

Bernard Baruch owned a string of Thoroughbred racehorses and raced under the name, Kershaw Stable. In 1927 his horse, Happy Argo, won the Carter Handicap.

Legacy and honors

Purchase of Hobcaw Barony (Bellefield Plantation), Georgetown County, South Carolina


Between 1905 and 1907, Bernard Baruch systematically purchased a total of approximately 15,560 acres (63 square kilometers) of the former 18th century

The Trustees of Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology & Forest Science. 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.

References

Primary sources

  • Bernard M. Baruch Baruch: My Own Story (1957) two volumes. ISBN 1-56849-095-X
  • Bernard M. Baruch; The Making of the Reparation and Economic Sections of the Treaty 1920.
  • Bernard M. Baruch; American Industry in War: A Report of the War Industries Board (March 1921) ed by Richard H. Hippelheuser; 1941.

Scholarly secondary sources

  • Eisenhower worked closely with Baruch in 1930.

External links

  • Bernard M. Baruch Papers at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University
  • Bernard Baruch Portrait
  • Bernard Baruch – Jewish Virtual Library
  • Bernard Baruch Bench Of Inspiration
  • Baruch College of the City University of New York
  • Investment Banking Club – Bernard Baruch College
  • Annotated bibliography for Bernard Baruch from the Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues
  • FBI file on Bernard Baruch
  • A film clip ]
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Eleftherios Venizelos
Cover of Time magazine
25 February 1924
Succeeded by
Reginald McKenna
Preceded by
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Cover of Time magazine
12 March 1928
Succeeded by
Robert Dollar
Preceded by
Benito Mussolini
Cover of Time magazine
28 June 1943
Succeeded by
Aleksandr Vasilevsky

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