In this Book

Baroness of Hobcaw
summary
Belle W. Baruch (1899–1964) could outride, outshoot, outhunt, and outsail most of the young men of her elite social circle—abilities that distanced her from other debutantes of 1917. Unapologetic for her athleticism and interests in traditionally masculine pursuits, Baruch towered above male and female counterparts in height and daring. While she is known today for the wildlife conservation and biological research center on the South Carolina coast that bears her family name, Belle's story is a rich narrative about one nonconformist's ties to the land. In Baroness of Hobcaw, Mary E. Miller provides a provocative portrait of this unorthodox woman who gave a gift of monumental importance to the scientific community. Belle's father, Bernard M. Baruch, the so-called Wolf of Wall Street, held sway over the financial and diplomatic world of the early twentieth century and served as an adviser to seven U.S. presidents. In 1905 he bought Hobcaw Barony, a sprawling seaside retreat where he entertained the likes of Churchill and FDR. Belle's daily life at Hobcaw reflects the world of wealthy northerners, including the Vanderbilts and Luces, who bought tracts of southern acreage. Miller details Belle's exploits—fox hunting at Hobcaw, show jumping at Deauville, flying her own plane, traveling with Edith Bolling Wilson, and patrolling the South Carolina beach for spies during World War II. Belle's story also reveals her efforts to win her mother's approval and her father's attention, as well as her unraveling relationships with friends, family, employees, and lovers—both male and female. Miller describes Belle's final success in saving Hobcaw from development as the overarching triumph of a tempestuous life.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-5
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. v-vi
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  1. List of Illustrations
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. 1. Paternal Pride and Future Hope
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. 2. The Only Real Place on Earth
  2. pp. 9-17
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  1. 3. Life Lessons at Hobcaw
  2. pp. 18-23
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  1. 4. A Study in Determination
  2. pp. 24-26
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  1. 5. From Debutante to the World Stage
  2. pp. 27-33
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  1. 6. Henry Ford and Anti-Semitism
  2. pp. 34-36
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  1. 7. Resolution and Independence
  2. pp. 37-40
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  1. 8. Lois Massey
  2. pp. 41-44
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  1. 9. Travels with Edith Bolling Wilson
  2. pp. 45-47
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  1. 10. An Awakening
  2. pp. 48-50
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  1. 11. La Belle Équitation
  2. pp. 51-55
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  1. 12. Success and Romance at Home and Abroad
  2. pp. 56-65
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  1. 13. Triumphs with Souriant and Rumors of War
  2. pp. 66-69
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  1. 14. European Friends and a Fleeting Betrothal
  2. pp. 70-77
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  1. 15. Bargaining for Bellefield
  2. pp. 78-83
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  1. 16. Lois Massey and Prewar Europe
  2. pp. 84-89
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  1. 17. Varvara Hasselbalch’s American Sojourn
  2. pp. 90-101
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  1. 18. Life Stateside and War Abroad
  2. pp. 102-112
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  1. 19. Personal and National Turmoil in 1941
  2. pp. 113-119
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  1. 20. U-Boats and Spies along the Carolina Coast
  2. pp. 120-127
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  1. 21. Dickie Leyland at Hobcaw Barony
  2. pp. 128-133
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  1. 22. FDR’s Visit to South Carolina
  2. pp. 134-141
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  1. 23. War’s End and the End of an Era
  2. pp. 142-145
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  1. 24. Winds of Change in Postwar America
  2. pp. 146-152
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  1. 25. Philanthropy and Ecology
  2. pp. 153-158
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  1. 26. From Constable to Baroness
  2. pp. 159-169
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  1. 27. Paul Dollfus and Frances Milam
  2. pp. 170-175
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  1. 28. The Passing of Jean Darthez and Souriant III
  2. pp. 176-180
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  1. 29. Into the Twilight
  2. pp. 181-192
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 193-194
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  1. Appendix: Hobcaw Barony Today
  2. pp. 195-198
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 199-204
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 205-206
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 207-212
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