Violet Oakley, Bernard M. Baruch, United Nations Series
A leading figure in American art throughout her life, Violet Oakley (1874 -1961) was a painter, muralist, illustrator, portraitist, architectural and industrial designer, writer, civic leader, and advocate for world peace.
When the United States did not join the League of Nations after World War I, Oakley went to Geneva Switzerland and spent three years making portraits of the assembled delegates from across the globe, many of which were published in the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin and in her portfolio, "Law Triumphant" (1932). Later, in the years after WWII, she also attended the first meetings of the United Nations and again made portraits of the delegates. Many of these portraits are in Woodmere’s collection.
Baruch made his fortune on Wall Street and came to be known as the "Park Bench Statesman". He was an economic adviser during two World Wars and a confidant to six presidents. In 1946 President Harry S. Truman appointed Baruch representative to the UN Atomic Energy Commission. Baruch College of the City University of New York was named for him.
The very last meeting that I was able to attend in June was the opening session of the Commission on control of Atomic Energy, at which Bernard Baruch presented the United States plan. With my other drawings in the corridor is a small pencil sketch of him -with exciting quotations for his speech written all around it: One felt that this was perhaps the most fateful and critical moment in history. Baruch opened by saying: 'We have come to choose between the Quick and the Dead. . . the Bomb waits not on debate. . . as there is no possible defense. . . it means not only the outlawing of the Atomic Bomb but the outlawing of war itself!'
-Violet Oakley, 1946