View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, October 08, 2003

North vs. South

I've been reading Bernard Baruch's autobiography in my copious free time. DU doesn't teach a history of American business (which might help explain where we are now), so I've felt the need to supplement it myself. Baruch's family was of very old German-Jewish stock, although he himself married out and his children were raised Episcopalian. They were also southern, from Camden, South Carolina. His father served with distinction as a surgeon in the Confederate Army.

They moved north in 1880 when he was 10, and he later attended CCNY. At the time, Jews were bascially barred from joining northern fraternities. He has this to say:

The Greek-letter societies or fraternities played an important part at the college. Although many Jews made their mark at the college, the line was drawn against them by these societies. Each year my name would be proposed, and a row would ensue over my nomination, but I never was elected. It may be worth noting, particularly for those who regard the South as less tolerant than the North, that my brother Herman was readily admitted to a fraternity while he attended the University of Virginia.

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