BARON, BERNHARD


BARON, BERNHARD
BARON, BERNHARD (1850–1929), industrialist and philanthropist. Born in Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Baron immigrated to the United States as a boy and worked in a Maryland cigar factory. In 1890 he began manufacturing cigarettes by hand, to be sold at a cheap price. He opened a factory in Baltimore in 1894 and two years later perfected his own cigarette-making machine. In 1896 he took his invention to London, where he set up a company for manufacturing cigarettes. Seven years later he purchased Carreras, one of the oldest tobacco companies in England, and as a result of an extensive advertising campaign expanded it into one of the largest cigarette companies in the world. Within 20 years Baron had accumulated a fortune with over $20 million, much of which he proceeded to give away on an unprecedented scale. He set up two charitable trusts in his name, which distributed over £1 million to hospitals and children's homes, and made substantial gifts to the Jewish National Fund, the Keren Hayesod, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He also made possible the erection of a new building for St. George's Jewish welfare settlement in the East End of London. Despite his enormous wealth – he left £4.9 million – Baron remained simple in his tastes and despised opulence. He refused a title but after his death his son, Louis Bernhard Baron (1876–1934), was made a baronet. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: P.H. Emden, Jews of Britain (1943), 491–5; DNB, Concise Dictionary, pt. 2 (1961), S.V. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Black, "Bernhard Baron: Tobacco and Philanthropy," in: TJHSE, 36 (1999–2001), 71–80; ODNB online; DBB, I, 177–81.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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