Friday, September 12, 2014

Confederate Surgeon Honored by Famous Son


Wealthy American financier Bernard Baruch was born in 1870 in Camden, South Carolina, the son of Dr. Simon Baruch, an East Prussian immigrant who became a Confederate surgeon.  Simon was a graduate of South Carolina Medical College and the Medical College of Virginia, entered Confederate service in 1862, and witnessed the carnage at Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Gettysburg, and later the western theater.   Dr. Baruch was later a Jewish member of the Ku Klux Klan in Camden which sought order in the postwar chaos.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"Unsurpassed Valor, Courage and Devotion to Liberty"
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

Confederate Surgeon Honored by Famous Son

"Just before his trip down to Hobcaw [plantation near Georgetown] with President Roosevelt, [Bernard] Baruch took the first steps toward accomplishing another long-cherished ambition, setting up a research foundation that he hoped would be of tremendous benefit to mankind in general and returning soldiers in particular.

He provided $1,100,000 for the promotion of "physical medicine," especially for war veterans to whom such treatment might prove beneficial.  The money was distributed as follows:

$400,000 to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

$250,000 to New York University College of Medicine.

$250,000 to the Medical College of Virginia, at Richmond.

$100,000 to various other medical schools.

$100,000 to provide fellowships and residencies.

The survey for the program . . . was made by a committee headed by Dr. Ray Lyman Wilbur, chancellor of Stanford University and an old friend of Baruch. Dr. Frank Krusen, professor of physical medicine at the University of Minnesota, agreed to act as chairman of the committee that will put the program into effect.

Baruch announced that the gift was in honor of his father, Dr. Simon Baruch, of whose record and achievements Baruch was enormously proud.  It was Dr. Baruch's interest in physical medicine, particularly treatment by water,  that resulted in the family's moving to New York from South Carolina.  So interested was Dr. Baruch in research that in 1900 Baruch persuaded his father to retire from active practice so as to give all his time to medical research.

Many of the results of his experiments are preserved in the Army Medical Library, in Washington, as is also Dr. Baruch's first effort in print, called "Two Penetrating Bayonet Wounds of the Chest" and published in The Confederate States Medical and Surgical Journal.

The Army Medical Library also preserves a copy of Dr. Baruch's Reminiscences of a Confederate Surgeon, which was published in 1915, and an address by the doctor on January 19, 1918, which was virtually a biography of Robert E. Lee, delivered before the Confederate Veterans Camp of New York at the Hotel Astor."

(Bernard Baruch, Park Bench Statesman, Carter Field, Whittlesey House, 1944, pp. 300-302)