Bernard Baruch

From Academic Kids

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Baruch_TIME_1928.jpg
Bernard Baruch on the cover of TIME magazine, 1928.

Bernard Mannes Baruch (August 19, 1870June 20, 1965) was an American financier, stock market and commodities speculator, statesman, and presidential adviser. After his success in business, he devoted his time toward advising a range of American presidents including Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy on economic matters for over 40 years; this is why Baruch was highly regarded as an elder stateman. Described as a man of immense charm who enjoyed a larger-than-life reputation that matched his considerable fortune, He is remembered as one of the most powerful men of the early 20th century.

Contents

Beginnings

Bernard Baruch was born in Camden, South Carolina on Friday August 19, 1870 to Simon and Belle Baruch. He was the second of four sons. His father was a German immigrant who came to America in 1855 to avoid conscription in the Prussian army, but alas military service was his destiny so he became a field surgeon on the staff of Robert E. Lee for the Confederate army during the Civil War. In 1881, the family moved to New York City, and he graduated from the City College of New York eight years later. Shortly thereafter, he was hired for his first job as an office boy; earning $3.00 a week.

He eventually became a broker, and then a partner in the firm of A. Housman and Company. With his earnings and commissions he was eventually able to buy a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. There he amassed a fortune before the age of 30 via speculation. In 1903, he had his own brokerage firm, and had gained the reputation of "The Lone Wolf on Wall Street" because of his refusal to join any other financial house. By 1910, he had become one of Wall Street's financial leaders.

Presidential advisor

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Cover of Time Magazine (February 25, 1924)

During World War I, he advised President Woodrow Wilson on national defense, during which time he became the chairman of the War Industries Board. At the war conclusion, he was seen with President Wilson at the Versailles Peace Conference.

Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt's "New Deal", Baruch was a member of the "Brain Trust." As the "Storm Clouds" of World War II approached, he proposed a number of wartime economic measures including:

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, he was called upon by President Roosevelt to help with the United States war effort. Roosevelt offered the post of Treasury Secretary to Baruch, but the offer was declined because Baruch wanted to remain in his long lasting role as an unofficial adviser.

In 1946, he was appointed the United States representative to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC) by President Harry S. Truman. On Friday, June 14, 1946, Baruch presented his Baruch Plan to the UNAEC, which proposed international control of then-new atomic energy.

Park Bench Statesman

Baruch was a high profile public figure, and did his best thinking in Washington D.C's Lafayette Park and in New York City's Central Park. It was not uncommon to see him discussing government affairs with other people while sitting on a park bench; this became his trademark. It was said that his office was a park bench near the White House.

In 1960, on his 90'th birthday a commemorative park bench in Lafayette park across from the White House was dedicated to him. One would think after 90 years work, a person would stop to rest, but Baruch was not satisfied with staying put. He continued to advise on international affairs until his death on Sunday June 20, 1965 in New York City at the age of 94.

Miscellaneous Facts

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Baruch_TIME_1943.jpg
Cover of TIME magazine, 1943.
Latitude (33.35) Longitude (-79.18)
  • He made a fifty-thousand dollar contribution to Woodrow Wilson's 1912 presidential campaign. I'm sure it was his highly valued advice that earned him his place as a footnote in history, though. He was richly rewarded with information from government officials which aided in his personal investment decisions.
  • It is a common misconception that Baruch coined the term "Cold War" in a speech made on April 16, 1947. While this is widely received as true, it is in fact false; it was coined by dystopian author George Orwell.
  • Baruch owned a tungsten (Wolfram) mining community named Atolia in California's Mojave desert. During the years 1906 to 1926, Baruch spent one month a year at Atolia. The once thriving community of 4000 individuals became a ghost town when after World War I tungsten was no longer considered a strategic material and lower cost sources were developed.
  • Baruch College, in Manhattan, New York, has a statue of Bernard Baruch sitting on a bench inside of its entrance center. This statue is often mistaken to be a real person.
  • He was on the cover of TIME magazine a total of three times in his life.
Latitude (40.7522) Longitude (-73.7994)

Bibliography

Mr. Baruch
By Margaret L. Coit
2000 - 698 Pages - ISBN 1587980215
Bernard M. Baruch: The Adventures of a Wall Street Legend
by James L. Grant
1997-1983 - 265 pages - ISBN 0471170755
The Speculator: Bernard M. Baruch in Washington, 1917 - 1965
By Jordan A. Schwartz
1981 - 679 Pages - ISBN 0807813966
Bernard Baruch: Portrait Of a Citizen
by William Lindsay White
1971-1950 - 155 Pages - ISBN 0837133483
Baruch: My Own Story
By Bernard M Baruch
1957-1996 - 2 Volumes - ISBN 156849095X
Bernard Baruch, Park Bench Statesman
by Carter Field
1944

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