The Daily Gamecock

ETV airs documentary on 'The Baruchs of Hobcaw'

Film highlights history of preserved coastland now vital to USC researchers


Hobcaw Barony, a 17,500 acre nature preserve near Georgetown, South Carolina, is not only a unique preservation of South Carolina’s natural coast but it is also an important resource to USC’s research in marine and coastal sciences. This stretch of marsh it is now the subject of a new ETV documentary premiering this week entitled “The Baruchs of Hobcaw”.

The documentary is one in a series of weekly programs called “Carolina Stories,” which airs a different feature on South Carolina each Thursday. Directed and produced by Betsy Newman, “The Baruchs of Hobcaw” will take a look at the influential family that purchased the land in 1905 and made it what it is today.

When asked how she came up with the idea to tell the story of the Baruch family, Newman explained how she uses the documentary as the way a jeweler uses a lense to look at all the different facets of a diamond.

“When someone suggested to me that Hobcaw had this rich story, it really fit with my interests in that part of the state,” Newman said. “One thing I’ve tried to focus on in my work is environmental success stories, and that is one part of the Hobcaw story because Belle Baruch saved Hobcaw Barony from development and preserved it for education and research. [She] was an environmentalist before a lot of people had even heard that word.”

Belle Baruch was the daughter of Bernard Baruch, who was an influential advisor to seven U.S. Presidents in the early 20th Century and who initially purchased the land. Hobcaw was first used as a hunting retreat for Bernard, and was later on passed on to Belle, who wanted to preserve the land for environmental research for South Carolina colleges and universities.

Today, The Hobcaw Barony Discover Center is a 10,000 square foot facility that features exhibits on history and ecology as well as classrooms and seminar rooms. Through the Belle W. Baruch Foundation, both The University of South Carolina and Clemson University have long-term research facilities on the property devoted to forestry, marine science, wildlife management, history, and archeology.

Senior Interpreter at Hobcaw Barony Richard Camlin said that the research being done at Hobcaw impacts people in ways that they don’t even know.

“I think it’s Belle’s gift of Hobcaw being used for research that is now the legacy,” said Camlin. “Few were setting land aside in this area at the time Belle created the foundation. Development is all around, but Hobcaw remains the same.”

The “Baruchs of Hobcaw” premiered Thursday night on ETV, but viewers can catch one of its three encore showings on November 20th at 4 pm on ETV, November 21st at 9 am on ETV World, or November 23rd at 8 pm on the SC channel. For more information on Belle Baruch and Hobcaw Barony, visit


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