(1870 - 1965)
Bernard Mannes Baruch was often referred to as the "elder
statesman" because through three wars the presidents of
our country called upon him for his advice and expertise.
Baruch was born on August 19, 1870, the second of
four sons of Belle and Simon Baruch. His father was a
field surgeon for the Confederate Army during the Civil War. In 1881,
the Baruchs moved to New York City, where his father continued his
medical career as a general physician specializing in appendicitis and
Bernard and his brothers went to the public schools in New York
City. He was quite active in sports at the College of the City of New
York. It was during a collegiate baseball game that he injured an ear,
which impaired his hearing. After graduating from college, he went
through many jobs until he accumulated enough money to buy a seat
on the New York Stock Exchange. His financial acumen made him a
millionaire at the age of 30.
Baruch was a devoted member of the Democratic Party and
contributed generously to it. When Woodrow Wilson became president,
Baruch was a frequent visitor to the White House. During World War
I, President Wilson appointed him to the Advisory Commission to the
Council of National Defense. Accepting the appointment, Baruch
resigned his positions with industry, liquidated his holdings and sold his
seat on the Stock Exchange. He bought millions of dollars of Liberty
Baruch played an active role on many government commissions.
After the war, he went with President Wilson to the Versailles peace
conference. He also played active roles in the administrations of
Presidents Harding and Hoover, and was a member of the "Brain Trust" in
President Roosevelt's "New Deal." In the early 1930s, Baruch urged
the stockpiling of rubber and tin, which are necessary items for war.
Baruch anticipated that the United States would be involved in World
War II and constantly urged our government to build up the armed
During World War II, Baruch was involved in many committees
for the war effort. He did his best thinking sitting in the parks of
Washington, D.C., and New York City. He could always be seen with other
people discussing affairs of the government on a park bench, which
became his trademark. During the Korean War, Baruch called for an
expansion of the Voice of America to counteract the enemy propaganda.
Bernard Baruch contributed to charities and colleges, making a gift
of a million dollars to Columbia University in memory of his father.
He was married to Annie Griffen and they had three children.
Sources: This is one of the 150 illustrated true stories of American heroism
included in Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America : 150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, © 1996,
written by Seymour "Sy" Brody of Delray Beach, Florida, illustrated
by Art Seiden of Woodmere, New York, and published by Lifetime
Books, Inc., Hollywood, FL.