Between The Waters

Annie Griffen Baruch

The silver objects on this table are from Annie Baruch's 18th-century silver collection, which she  purchased for use in the Baruchs' New York home. On the recommendation of his friend, Jimmy Byrnes, Baruch donated the collection to the University of South Carolina.


Anne Griffen Baruch grew up in New York City, the privileged daughter of wealthy businessman Benjamin Griffen, a glass importer and the grandson of an Episcopal minister.


Benjamin Griffen was opposed to the intermarriage of Jews and Christians and thoroughly objected to Annie’s plan to marry Bernard Baruch.


The young lovers courted for eight years and developed a system whereby Baruch would know whether her father was at home - if the shades were up the coast was clear. 



Annie and Bernard were married on October 20, 1897, in an Episcopal ceremony, and the newlyweds moved into his parents’ home at 51 W. 70th St. in New York City. Bernard’s whole family was living there.


From left to right in this photograph, they are his parents Isabelle and Simon, Sailing, Hartwig, Annie, Herman and Bernard. 


Annie and Bernard lived at the Baruch home for two more years. In the fall of 1897 Bernard bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and in 1899 he and Annie moved into their own house and began their family.

In the early years of their marriage, Bernard and Annie Baruch traveled together frequently, leaving their children in the care of a governess and a nanny.


This postcard was written to Renee Baruch in July, 1915 from Yellowstone Park, while Renee was staying at one of the Baruchs’ rented summer estates in Bayport, Long Island. The event described on the card is disturbing, but Mrs. Baruch seems surprisingly nonchalant, writing: 


Dear Renee,

A robber held us up at the point of a pistol this morning at 9:30 in Yellowstone park- We had to throw him a lot of money and then he let us go on - all well.



Annie Baruch was shyer and more reclusive than her husband. A born-and-bred city dweller without much interest in hunting, she embraced the sporting life at Hobcaw Barony in her own way.


In this clip from one of the Baruch home movies, she does a little dance for the camera in leather pants and a fur coat, surrounded by guests and family members at the front door of the Old Relick.

WWI changed things for the Baruchs. Bernard Baruch sold his seat on the New York Stock Exchange and became active in politics, offering his services to Woodrow Wilson and becoming part of Wilson’s War Industries Board. He visited Hobcaw Barony less frequently during this period and spent less time with his family.


In 1919 , Baruch joined Wilson in Paris for the Peace Conference, and he invited Annie and their oldest daughter, Belle, who had been active in the war effort, to join him in France.


In this photograph, Belle and Annie are on a tour of Belleau Wood, the scene of a bloody 1918 battle. Belle fell in love with France, and a few years later she moved there, making it her primary home until 1937, when she built her house at Bellefield.

Annie and Bernard Baruch also drifted apart. They are pictured here on the Hobcaw Barony dock sometime between 1936 and 1938, but Annie actually spent less and less time at Hobcaw and more in New York City, without her husband.


Annie Baruch was wounded by the anti-Semitic attacks on her family and by the fact that Bernard was a known philanderer. He called his wife “the most wonderful woman in the world,” but his friend Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying, “He never paid any attention to her when she was alive.”


In 1937 the Baruchs had a New Year's party for 150 guests, including Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington, Mr. and Mrs. George Vanderbilt, and Clare Booth and Henry Luce. But a family tragedy overshadowed the festivities.

Lois Massey, longtime assistant to the Baruch family, accompanied Belle Baruch to her mother's funeral, which was private and held at the family home on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  

"I'll always remember," said Lois Massey, "she had the most beautiful blanket of flowers on her casket that I've ever seen...huge, multicolored pansies...She would have liked that."
Mary E. Miller, Baroness of Hobcaw: The Life of Belle W. Baruch

Annie Baruch, shown here in a studio portrait taken in 1910, was a sheltered young woman when she married Bernard Baruch.


Though they had a life of wealth and privilege, ultimately she was left behind, as her husband rose to international fame. Bernard outlived her by 27 years.










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