Bernard and Annie Griffen Baruch had three children. Pictured here in a 1908 photograph, they are, from left to right, Bernard, Jr., Renee and Belle.
The children are wearing Griffen plaid kilts, a nod to their mother’s Scottish heritage. All the Baruch children were born in New York City after their father had established his fortune, and were raised by French and German nannies.
They led lives typical of the very rich, attending private schools, summering at their grandfather’s home on Long Island and pursuing sports such as horseback riding and sailing.
Annie and Belle Baruch, c. 1900. Courtesy of the Belle W. Baruch Foundation and the Georgetown County Digital Library
Belle Baruch was the oldest of the three and, like all oldest children, enjoyed a period of time when she was the only child.
Belle first visited Hobcaw when she was five years old, as seen here with her brother, Bernard Jr. This photograph was taken shortly after Bernard Baruch purchased the property and before his third child, Renee, was born.
The second photograph dates from 1907 and shows eight-year-old Belle on the left, Aileen Donaldson, daughter of the former owner of Hobcaw Barony, Bernard Jr. and Superintendent Jim Powell.
They are riding through Barnyard Village, one of four African-American settlements at Hobcaw Barony.
African Americans were still living at Barnyard at the time this photograph was taken, though none are visible in the shot.
Belle Baruch was an excellent hunter. In the photograph on the center of this page, from 1918, she holds a turkey she has killed, while in the background one of the African-American servants is occupied with a task, perhaps selecting oysters.
Beginning around the time Bernard Baruch bought Hobcaw, the wild turkey population went into steep decline, as Baruch recalls in his memoir:
At one time the turkeys were so numerous that I often had to stop my buggy to let large flocks cross the road. I tried, without too much success, to protect them against the increasing numbers of foxes, possums, coons and wild hogs that raided their nests. These wild hogs or boars were descended from domestic animals that had taken to the woods, and could be quite dangerous when molested.
Bernard Baruch, Baruch: My Own Story
In the 1940s Belle took part in a successful nationwide effort to reintroduce wild turkeys, and shot them only occasionally, for holiday meals.
In the 1941 photo on the right she is pictured with her partner, Dickie Leyland, and a Christmas turkey.
In her later years Belle lost her enthusiasm for hunting altogether and devoted her time and energy to conservation.