Everett Moore Baker papers
Scope and Contents of the Collection
The major portion of the collection consists of correspondence, covering Baker's life, 1901- 1950. The first two folders contain letters written from childhood to student days at Dartmouth, and are almost all letters from him to his mother. The next six folders consist of business letters or letters of congratulations to Baker on various occasions: his ordination in 1929; his election to the Vice Presidency of the American Unitarian Association in 1937; his appointment as minister at Cleveland in 1942; and his appointment as Dean at MIT in 1946. These are in order by date of the incoming letter, together with Baker's reply, when available. The three folders at the end of the correspondence section are letters of condolence, sent to his wife, by colleagues and friends of Baker, including Julius A. Stratton. There are a few letters about Baker interfiled in the other folders of letters as well; it seemed most useful to keep all correspondence in a strictly chronological order. There are five folders of Baker's own writings, many in his own hand: three of notes, lectures, sermons, and scripts for radio shows; one of prayers; and one of creative writing, which includes a poem, and scripts for two plays. The next folder contains memorials and tributes to Baker, written by friends and colleagues, including James R. Killian. The last folder contains memorabilia documenting important events in Baker's life.
The richest part of the collection is found in the first two folders. Most of these letters were written while a student at Exeter and Dartmouth. They are all personal letters to his family, mainly to his mother, and provide the best personal and biographical material. Most of the other letters are business letters or letters of congratulations. The letters of condolence, of course, express what others thought of him. The first three folders of Baker's own writings, as well as his letters, offer his views on religion, his values, and his ideas about life and one's responsibility.
Unfortunately, the collection does not adequately represent Baker's careers or activities, as there are large gaps, especially in the correspondence. There are no letters from the time when he was at Harvard (1925-1928), or from most of the period when he was Vice President of the American Unitarian Association (1938 - 1941), and there are very few letters from the time of his stay in Providence (1929) 1937). Though this collection was accepted because of Baker's tenure as Dean at MIT from 1947 to 1950, there is little information on this period in the collection. In the notes and lectures section, there are four lectures which he gave while at MIT: one in folder 13; three in folder 14. It is only through some of the letters of condolence, and the memorials written about him, that some information about his position in the MIT community is found.
There is one other source on Baker in the MIT Archives. It is an anthology of memorials and tributes to Baker, with some of his lectures, called Everett Moore Baker (New York: Privately printed, 1951).
Historical Collections [The MIT Museum] has some biographical material on Baker, as well as photographs.
- 1901 - 1950
- Baker, Everett Moore (Person)
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Everett Moore Baker was born on August 28, 1901, in Newtonville, Massachusetts, son of George D. and Mary Hutton Baker. He died on August 31, 1950. He led an active life as a minister, a citizen concerned with community and international affairs, and lastly as Dean of Students at MIT (1947-1950).
Baker graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1920, and from Dartmouth College in 1924. His interest in the ministry developed early. In his final year at Dartmouth, he taught a Sunday School class at a local church, and led services every Sunday for a group of people in the country who had no church nearby. Upon graduation from Dartmouth, he entered Harvard Divinity School. While studying for the ministry, he served as assistant pastor of Mt. Vernon Church in Boston. He remained there until 1929, when he graduated from Harvard and was ordained as a minister of the Unitarian Church.
Baker moved to Providence, R.I., with his wife, Helen Macdonald Baker, whom he had married in 1928. He was pastor of the Westminster Church in Providence from 1929 to 1937. During this period he was active in community affairs. At different times he was chair of the Rhode Island Interdenominational Commission for Social Action, Chair of the R.I. League of Nations Association, and the director of the Consumers League of Rhode Island. While in Providence, his two sons were born; David Everett in 1932, and Sidney Macdonald in 1937.
From 1937 to 1942, Baker was Vice President of the American Unitarian Association, the central executive body of the Unitarian Churches of the United States and Canada, and in 1937 he moved to Boston, the headquarters of the AUA. In addition to the usual administrative work, Baker directed the publishing business of the Unitarian Church. He also directed the New England Unitarian radio hour for three years. In 1941, he compiled and edited an anthology of poetry and prose for men and women in the military service, Think on These Things. Over three million copies of this work were distributed during the war.
From 1942 to 1946, Baker served as pastor of the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland. Although Baker gave up his position as Vice President of the AUA, he remained on the board of directors until his death in 1950. He lectured in Sociology at the Cleveland College of Western Reserve University from 1944 to 1945. He participated as chair, board member and member of many different associations: National Consumers League for Fair Labor Standards; Unitarian Ministerial Union; Unitarian War Service Council; Youth Bureau; Travellers Aid Society, Mental Hygiene Association of Cleveland; Welfare Federation of Cleveland; Cleveland Council on World Affairs; Better Housing Association of Cleveland. Baker was very outspoken in his views on racial problems, and was a member of the Mayor's Committee on Interracial Relations, and a member of a committee on minorities of the War Manpower Commission. In 1945, he published some of his more controversial sermons on racial and religious prejudice.
Baker returned to Boston in 1947, after accepting the position of Dean of Students at MIT. He was the first minister chosen for this position. He had authority and responsibility for overseeing all aspects of student welfare and for the Institute's relationship with student government, as well as with recognized student activities such as athletics and fraternities. While Dean, Baker became a member of the World Affairs Council of Boston, and in 1950, became the chair of the International Student Service, whose headquarters were in Geneva. On August 11, 1950, he left Cambridge to address the annual conference of the ISS, which opened in Bombay on August 15. He died on August 31, near Cairo, Egypt, when his plane crashed on the return flight.
Though he was Dean for only three years, Baker made a great impact on the MIT community. On the suggestion of both students and faculty, the newest undergraduate dormitory was named the Everett Moore Baker House, in recognition of the contribution he had made to MIT. Students created the Everett Moore Baker Memorial Foundation, an organization whose goal was to continue the work of Dean Baker. They campaigned to raise a large sum of money, the interest of which was to be used each year for an appropriate project. As of April, 1951, $15,000.00 had been raised, with contributions from students, faculty, and alumni.
Baker received two honorary degrees, both Dr. of Divinity; from Tufts College in 1938, and from Dartmouth College in 1949.
0.7 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes)
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- Baker, Everett Moore (Person)
- Guide to the Papers of Everett Moore Baker
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- Jeanne Duperreault
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- 2021 August 18: Edited by Lana Mason to remove aggrandizing terms in the biographical note description.
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