Baruch, Bernard M.
1952 TLS from the financier-statesman – he has no hobbies, gets enjoyment from work!
Description: (1870-1965) So. Carolina-born Jewish-American financier, stock investor, philanthropist, statesman, and political consultant, advisor to Presidents Wilson and Roosevelt on economic issues.
In 1881 the family moved to New York City, where he graduated from City College of New York. He became a broker then a partner in A. A. Houseman & Co., bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange and amassed a fortune before 30 from speculation in sugar when Hawaiian sugar plantations were booming. He founded the Intercontinental Rubber Company of New York which dominated the US guayule rubber market with holdings in Mexico. By 1903 he had his own brokerage firm, and was called “The Lone Wolf of Wall Street” because he refused to join any financial house. By 1910, he was one of Wall Street’s best-known financiers. He appeared on the Feb. 24, 1924 cover of Time Magazine. Baruch made millions in the bull US stock market in stocks from 1924 but anticipated a Wall Street crash as early as 1927 and sold stocks short periodically in 1927 & 1928.
In 1916, he left Wall Street to advise President Wilson on national defense and terms of peace. He served on the Advisory Commission to the Council of National Defense and, in Jan. 1918, became chairman of the new War Industries Board which managed the US’ WW I economic mobilization. In 1919, Baruch was a Paris Peace Conference staff member and opposed reparations France and Britain demanded of Germany, and supported creation of the League of Nations. In the 1920s and 30s, he expressed concern that the US needed to prepare for another war and wanted a more powerful War Industries Board for maximum coordination between civilian business and military needs. He remained a prominent government adviser and supported FDR’s domestic and foreign policy initiatives after 1932. In 1940, he provided funding to aid Truman’s bid for Senate reelection.
On US entry into WW II, President Roosevelt appointed him special adviser to the director of the Office of War Mobilization. He supported a “work or fight” bill and advocated creation of a permanent superagency akin to his old Industries Board. Baruch’s ideas were largely adopted, carried out by James Byrnes. These policies likely cut 2 years off the time to produce tanks, bombers, etc. He remained a trusted adviser and confidant of FDR who spent a month at Baruch’s So. Carolina estate, Hobcaw Barony, in 1944.
In 1944, Baruch commissioned a committee of physicians which developed recommendations for establishing the medical specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and provided $1M+ to fund medical schools to further this cause. Baruch’s father, Simon Baruch, a surgeon, was the 1st teacher of physical medicine at Columbia. In 1944, Baruch and Dr. Howard Rusk, an Air Force physician, advised President Roosevelt to expand rehabilitation programs for injured soldiers in all the armed forces. After the war, these programs were adopted by the VA.
In 1946 President Truman appointed Baruch as US representative to the UN Atomic Energy Commission (UNAEC). On June 14, Baruch presented his Baruch Plan to UNAEC, proposing international control of then-new atomic energy, rejected by the USSR; a stalemate ensued. Baruch resigned in 1947, his influence diminished as he grew further out of step with the Truman Administration’s views.
Baruch was well-known and often walked or sat in Washington DC’s Lafayette Park or in NYC’s Central Park where it was not uncommon for him to discuss government affairs with other people while sitting on a park bench. On his 90th birthday, a commemorative park bench in Lafayette Park across from the White House was dedicated to him by the Boy Scouts. A life-size bronze of Baruch sitting on a bench is in the lobby at Baruch College’s Vertical Campus at 1 Bernard Baruch Way in NYC. Baruch College of City University of New York was named for him and the Saratoga Race Course named the Bernard Baruch Handicap in his honor.
TLS on his 10 x 7 ¾ personal NYC letterhead, 9/2/52, to Dr. Robley D. Stevens, Washington DC. Baruch thanks him for his letter and is sending a photograph. He states that he has no hobbies stating: “I had to work my way through life and did not have much time to do anything but apply myself. I think I get more enjoyment out of working than any[crosses out” body” and handwrites “thing’] else.”
Condition: Good, stains at right side below and above part of signature and at top.