• “Bernard Baruch,” 1919. Bernard Baruch was a financier who made his fortune on Wall Street in large part due to an innate understanding of business and industry. His World War I service was so successful, he would be called on as an economic advisor during World War II as well. Courtesy of Belle W. Baruch Foundation via South Carolina Digital Library.

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    Bernard Baruch
    • Date
    • 1919
    • Creator
    • Harris and Ewing
    • Description
    • In a 1919 photograph, Bernard Baruch poses in the same year he was delegate to the Paris Peace Conference, traveling with President Woodrow Wilson. The portrait was signed by BMB, “To Ed Kaminski, my lifelong friend, with affection of BM Baruch 191... more
      In a 1919 photograph, Bernard Baruch poses in the same year he was delegate to the Paris Peace Conference, traveling with President Woodrow Wilson. The portrait was signed by BMB, “To Ed Kaminski, my lifelong friend, with affection of BM Baruch 1919”. Ed Kaminski was Baruch’s cousin and a resident and civic leader of Georgetown, S.C. less
    • Rights
    • Belle W. Baruch Foundation. All rights reserved. For information contact Hobcaw Barony at 22 Hobcaw Road, Georgetown, SC 29440.
    • Partner
    • South Carolina Digital Library
    • Contributing Institution
    • Belle W. Baruch Foundation, www.hobcawbarony.org

  • This illustration entitled, "The First Victims of the War," by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, appeared in the Washington Evening Star on August 1, 1914. It shows stranded passengers who could not get to America from Europe as World War I breaks out in Europe. Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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    The First Victims of the War
    • Creator
    • U.S. Senate. Office of Senate Curator. ?-.
    • Description
    • This illustration entitled, "The First Victims of the War", by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which appeared in the Washington Evening Star on August 1, 1914, shows stranded passengers who could not get to America from Europe as World War I breaks out... more
      This illustration entitled, "The First Victims of the War", by cartoonist Clifford Berryman, which appeared in the Washington Evening Star on August 1, 1914, shows stranded passengers who could not get to America from Europe as World War I breaks out in Europe. less
    • Rights
    • Unrestricted.
    • Partner
    • National Archives and Records Administration
    • Contributing Institution
    • Center for Legislative Archives

  • "National Naval Volunteers of Lynn, Massachusetts, on Union St., April 1, 1917. Leaving for U.S.S. Kearsarge at the Charles Town Navy Yard." Courtesy of the Lynn Public Library via Digital Commonwealth.

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    National Naval Volunteers of Lynn of Union St., April 1, 1917. Leaving for U.S.S. Kearsarge at the Charles Town Navy Yard.

Before entering the conflict in 1917, the United States needed to prepare not only its army, but also its economy. President Wilson formed the War Industries Board (WIB), which was assigned to oversee the nation’s finances and economy. The first two men assigned to head this group resigned due to the lack of actual control over the nation’s spending and intense stress, as the Board remained powerless in its first incarnation because of Wilson’s antitrust convictions. In 1918, Wilson increased the Board’s reach and handed its leadership over to Bernard Baruch, a successful American financier.

The Board was granted full rights to allocate supplies, fix prices, and standardize goods throughout the country. About one-quarter of all goods and foodstuffs produced was sent to the frontlines in Europe. One of the largest challenges facing Baruch and the WIB was the issue of labor. The work force took a major hit during the war as America closed its doors to new immigrants and shipped able-bodied men to war. Women and African Americans were able to take advantage of these holes in the labor force by joining industries in which they had previously been denied involvement.