Baruch, Bernard

Baruch, Bernard (Mannes)

(1870–1965) financier, public official, philanthropist; born in Camden, N.C. Starting on Wall Street at $3 a week, he became a multimillionaire by his mid-thirties through his stock investments. He chose to devote himself to public affairs and became a friend of Woodrow Wilson, who appointed him chairman of the War Industries Board (1917) and a member of the president's war council. He participated in the postwar peace conference, and with John Foster Dulles he coauthored The Making of the Reparation and Economic Sections of the Treaty (1920). Preferring to act as a personal consultant instead of holding official appointments, he continued to advise every president—and their top appointments—from Wilson through John F. Kennedy. Occasionally he did accept an appointment. During the 1930s, for instance, he advocated that the U.S. prepare and organize itself for the war he saw coming and in 1934 he accepted an appointment by President Franklin Roosevelt to chair a committee on mobilization legislation. After World War II he also accepted an appointment from President Harry Truman – as ambassador to the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission (1946). But for the most part he preferred his near-legendary role as "Mr. Baruch," offering advice from a park bench. He made many gifts to educational institutions, notably his alma mater, City College of New York.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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