One day while walking near the Griffen home I saw Miss Griffen approaching. Mustering all my courage, I reached the stoop of her house just as she did. Raising my hat, I asked if I were addressing Miss Annie Griffen. ‘No, indeed!’ she retorted with a toss of her head and walked up the steps (My Own Story, 99).
Eventually Baruch managed to have himself introduced and became a regular caller at Annie’s house. Annie was Episcopalian and Bernard was Jewish. Annie’s father never gave his consent and did not attend their wedding, however eventually he was forced to admit that he had been wrong. Bernard and Annie latter agreed that they would raise their two daughters Episcopalian and let their son decide for himself.
Isabel “Belle” Baruch, the first child of Bernard, named after his mother, was born in 1899. Upon her birth, the happy father wrote the following poem dedicated to his daughter:
Oh Isabel, Oh Isabel,
The day you were first visible,
Paternal pride and future hope
We centered all in thee.
Oh Isabel, Oh Isabel
We’re one and indivisible.
We constitute a family now,
Where there was two, there’s three
(Baroness of Hobcaw, 4-5).
Belle bucked social conventions dressing in tailored coats and neckties. A natural athlete, she pursued competitions in male dominated sports like sailing, hunting and horse racing. She spent much time living abroad in Paris where she represented the United States in equestrian competitions. Belle was a lesbian, her sexuality an open secret among her friends and rarely acknowledge by her family.
Belle was invested in matters concerning Hobcaw. She established organizations to help the residents of the property. An early conservationist, she sought to protect the land and wildlife of Hobcaw. The Belle W. Baruch Foundation, established after her death in 1964, continues her mission to conserve the natural and cultural resources of Hobcaw.
Bernard Baruch Jr.
Bernard Baruch, Jr., Baruch’s only son, was born 1903. He was married a number of times but preferred to lead a more obscure life than his father. He was a member of the New York Stock Exchange from 1928 to 1935. In 1937 he was commissioned in the Naval Reserve. During World War II he served in Naval Intelligence.
Renée Baruch, the youngest of the Baruch children, was born in 1905. Renée graduated with honors from Barnard College and later studied at Columbia University. She married H. Robert Samstag in 1935.
Scenes of a Young and Happy Family
Relaxing in Atlantic City
At the turn of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Atlantic City was the premiere destinations for relaxing along the Atlantic coast. The Baruch family often took advantage of the seaside activities for short getaways.