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Guide to the Edgar R. Baker Papers
1926-2011 (bulk, 1940s-1969)
 MS 3156

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Larry Weimer and Duncan Knox

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on January 04, 2021
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Container List

Series II. Subject Files, 1926-2011 (bulk, 1930s-1960s). 1.5 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series, compiled by the processing archivist, brings together various files in the collection that have a subject orientation with different formats. The subject matter ranges from Baker's elementary school years in the 1920s-1930s through his career with Time Inc. in the 1940s-1960s and ends with the reminiscences following his death in 1969.

Most of the files relate to Baker's career with Time Inc., especially with Time-Life International (TLI) from the mid-1940s until his transfer and promotion to corporate executive roles in 1965-1966. Files from the mid to late 1940s include documentation about the emerging vision for Time's global expansion. The growth of the business and Baker's career can be traced through the files, which includes press releases, Time Inc's in-house newsletter FYI, clippings, tearsheets, and some correspondence and memos. Two important events co-sponsored by Time that Baker was responsible for are well-represented in these files: the Inter-American Investment Conference held in New Orleans (1955) and the International Industrial Development Conference held in San Francisco (1957). Also in the files are the text of several remarks or speeches on foreign trade policy, economics and relations between the United States and Asia and elsewhere that were made by Baker to the Far East-America Council of Commerce and Industry, Export Managers Club of New York, and other such groups. Baker's trip to Poland in 1959 as part of a small delegation with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce is documented with Baker's notes on the trip and other material.

The files from the mid to late 1960s, that is, after Baker was transferred out of the International Division, are sparser, but still hold several proposals for corporate acquisitions or initiatives from Baker to the Time Board or other executives. Baker's wife, Alice, traveled overseas with him at times and supported his work with duties as hostess to some events; her first-hand perspective on Baker and his contributions were documented in a 1980 letter to Time historian Curt Prendergast, and that is in these files.

More specific information on the content of each file is provided in the container list. Patrons should be aware that many of the documents in this series suffered from water damage and rusting of staples and paper clips and so are often discolored, stiff or have other signs of damage; nonetheless, all but a few documents are readable.


The series is arranged primarily in chronological order. Many of the files, such as those concerning Baker's education, remain as found by the processing archivist. Others had their content rearranged somewhat to form a more linear progression.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 1 Boyhood School Years

Scope and Contents

Includes Baker's report cards from elementary school, junior high school, and high school; National Honor Society card; Paul Junior High honor certificate (1934); program for Central High School commencement (1937); a few papers written by Baker (1937?); and documents related to a scholarship won to Washington & Lee University (eventually declined by Baker).

Box: 2 Folder : 2-4 George Washington University Years (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Includes grade reports and transcripts; letters to Baker concerning school employment, scholarships, admissions to honor societies and to Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (1942); three writings by Baker on foreign policy; several papers, exam answers, and notes for courses; booklets, programs, and certificates in connection with honor societies; and commencement program. There are also several clippings for 1940-42, especially from the campus newspaper "The Hatchet," many of which relate to Baker's elections to GWU's Student Congress as the Progressive Party candidate.

Box: 2 Folder : 5 Early 1940s Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Includes various writings by Baker: a published letter to the editor of the Washington Star expressing concern about a distortion in the paper of Senator George Norris's speech against peacetime conscription; a lengthy letter to the editor of the New York Times concerning the economic relationship beteen the U.S. and Great Britain (1945); two writings about post-war U.S. global economic matters; and a short piece of fiction(?) written by Baker (undated, likely 1940s or 1950s). There are also a few small newspaper clippings about the wedding of Baker and Alice Newcomer; employment-related communications from government agencies to Baker dating from prior to his joining Time Inc.; and an October 1944 letter to James W. Pope at Time Inc. from Baker relating to his eventual employment there, with his resume.

Box: 2 Folder : 6-7 TLI. Project X (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

The documents relate to proposals and interest to launch foreign language edition(s) of TIME. Includes binder content of the proposal (likely 1945) with other documents that survey the origins of TLI and the early vision for international expansion.

Box: 2 Folder : 8 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes several telegrams to/from Baker in Calcutta, and copies of FYI and TIME (and a couple clippings) with summaries of Baker's worldwide trip. See also the Correspondence, Personal series for the many letters Baker wrote to his wife and other family members during this 1947 trip.

Box: 2 Folder : 9 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes press clippings about Baker's denials that TLI would receive government subsidies for overseas distribution; congratulatory note to Baker on the business's success; announcements about Baker's promotion to head of the International Division (and other organizational changes); a letter from Baker to Assistant Secretary of State George Allen responding to a constituent complaint about LIFE International using a photograph uncomplimentary to the U.S., and a few other documents.

Box: 2 Folder : 10 Central High School. Certificate of Distinction

Scope and Contents

Alumni award to Baker, with related documents.

Box: 2 Folder : 11 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes photographs, menu, and other documents for a dinner in London celebrating LIFE's first overseas printing operation (1950); programs for the United Nations American Public Relations Association Conference (1950) and the Institute on Brotherhood at Home and Abroad (1951), at which Baker was a panelist; roster of the Foreign Trade Club of Detroit and outline of Baker's remarks, titled "The Real Voice of America," delivered to the group (1951); and copies of FYI and other print matter.

Box: 2 Folder : 12-13 TLI Matters (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

The first folder holds congratulatory letters, and related annoucements, to Baker for his promotion to Managing Director of TLI; and clippings and a transmittal to staff of the first issue of LIFE EN ESPANOL. The second folder holds a transcript of a radio broadcast interview of U.S. Senator Styles Bridges in which Baker is a co-interviewer asking about President Truman's seizure of the steel mills; a "first draft statement by the Committee on Foreign Investment and Economic Development"; and a galley print of Baker's remarks titled "The Carrot and the Stick," given to the Export Managers Club of New York, with related documents indicating it was also delivered to the World Trade Club of Denver.

Box: 2 Folder : 14 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes Baker's remarks delivered to Milwaukee export managers (July), to the Far East-America Council of Commerce and Industry on "The Climate of Business Opinion in Japan" (October), a "Los Angeles Speech" on U.S.-Asia relations (November), and a summary of panelist comments, including Baker, on "Asia's Challenge to Private Enterprise" (December); and documents related to other presentations by Baker, though not his remarks in those cases. The folder also holds some copies of FYI and clippings.

Box: 2 Folder : 15-17 TLI. Inter-American Investment Conference, New Orleans (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds two memos from Baker to TLI salesmen about the purpose and content of the conference; publicity material; preliminary registration list (with attached list of attendee wives to be hosted at luncheons by Baker's wife, Alice); printed "Proceedings," which includes transcripts of the speakers' remarks; and pre- and post-conference clippings and other similar material. (See also Series I, years 1954-55, for extensive memos and letters from Baker concerning the conference planning.)

Box: 2 Folder : 18-20 TLI Matters (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the material dates from 1955 with only a couple from 1956. The first folder holds news clippings, press releases, and remarks by Baker, all related to TLI's Japan operation, especially the opening in May of new offices in Tokyo's Sankei Kaikan building (several documents are in Japanese). The second folder holds mostly news clippings related to South America (several are in Spanish). The third folder holds Baker's brief remarks (possibly incomplete) as guest speaker at a class on foreign policy at Colgate in January and his later remarks at the Colgate Foreign Policy Conference in July; the folder also holds other documents related to Baker's presentations in other settings, though with no remarks here.

Box: 2 Folder : 21-23 TLI. International Industrial Development Conference, San Francisco (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds the conference materials (program, participant list and supplement, and facts and figures booklet); social program; publicity; personal items related to Baker's role at the conference (name tag, invitation), including a letter from Henry Luce to Baker with compliments; a preface by Baker for a book of proceedings (book not in collection); clippings; and a few other related documents.

Box: 2 Folder : 24-26 TLI Matters (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Includes announcements, clippings and congratulatory letters regarding Baker's promotion to Vice President; Baker's remarks to the Institute of Directors, London, with program, seating and table plan booklet, pen and pencil sketch of Baker at the podium, and clippings; menu and table plan for the dinner of the International Chamber of Commerce's British National Committee; a detailed memo concerning the financial status of the anticipated release of the movie "John Paul Jones" by Warner Brothers; a few thank you letters to Baker from employees; and news clippings (many in Spanish).

Box: 3 Folder : 1-2 TLI Matters (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds Baker's remarks made at the 21st Chicago World Trade Conference, with photograph, speaker name tag and ribbon, version of the speech as printed in "The Forwarder" as "Foreign Policy in the Space Age" and the version entered by Hubert Humphrey into the Congressional Record; Baker's remarks titled "What's Coming Up On the International Fronts?" made at the Economic Club of Detroit; statement by Baker before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on the informational media guaranty program; rough draft of remarks on U.S.-Soviet relations; Baker's proposal to the Time, Inc. Board to form a subscription processing and distribution subsidiary in Mexico; and clippings (many in Spanish).

Box: 3 Folder : 3 TLI. U.S. Department of Commerce Mission to Poland

Scope and Contents

Baker was one of two representatives from outside government who were part of Commerce Secretary Frederick Mueller's 5 member delegation to Poland in November. Folder holds Baker's handwritten notes on the trip, some photographs (though most are severely water damaged), bilingual program/itinerary, guest list for reception of delegation, invitations, and visa application and authorization form.

Box: 3 Folder : 4-6 TLI Matters (3 folders)

Scope and Contents

Includes itineraries and some invitations and related documents for Baker, accompanied by his wife, on their March-April global business trip to Japan, Vietnam (Saigon), Singapore, India, London, Berlin, and Paris; Baker's remarks titled "Two Proposals for Economic Cooperation in Southeast Asia" delivered at the 12th annual Far East Conference in New York, with program, two photographs, and report of proceedings; clipping from the NY Times of Baker's book review of "Power without Property" by Adolf A. Berle, Jr.; publicity booklet for the Chicago International Fair & Exposition; Economic Club of New York program and head table chart; and clippings.

Box: 3 Folder : 7 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes three undated speeeches, one titled "Portrait of America," a second concerning U.S.-Asia relations, and a third in rough handwritten form on the role of the U.S. in the world economy; a flyer publicizing Baker's appearance at the Toledo World Trade Week luncheon; a witty poem about Baker's travels; and some FYIs.

Box: 3 Folder : 8 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes Baker's remarks titled "Future Trends in International Economics" delivered to the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, with program and panelist biographies; remarks titled "The Outlook for the World Economy" delivered in St. Louis; an issue of "The General Electric Defense Quarterly" with remarks about public understanding and its effect on defense policy by a panel of TIME executives, including Baker; the booklet "Time Incorporated: An Informal History"; FYIs and press releases on TLI and Time reorganizations; and an undated (circa 1960?) letter from "Dave" writing about TLI matters in Japan.

Box: 3 Folder : 9 TLI Matters

Scope and Contents

The file holds only a few documents from these years including, from 1962, a report on South Africa generally and TLI's distributor, Central News Agency, in particular; and the report for one week of London circulation; and a few other documents.

Box: 3 Folder : 10 Promotions and Congratulatory Letters

Scope and Contents

The 1968 item is Baker's biographical statement as Vice President, Time Inc. and Director of Corporate Development, Time Inc.

1965-1966, 1968
Box: 3 Folder : 11 TIME Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes proposals to the Time Inc Board to create an educational joint venture with General Electric (1965) and to purchase New York Graphic Society (1966). Also Baker's article "The American Magazine Overseas" in "The George Washington University Magazine."

Box: 3 Folder : 12 TIME Matters

Scope and Contents

1967: Includes documents concerning the MGM transaction and a proposal to acquire the Newark (N.J.) Evening News. Several undated documents are likely from the 1960s and include 3 itineraries and guest lists and a transcript of Baker's remarks to an unidentified audience.

1967, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 13 News Clippings
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Miscellaneous Matters

Scope and Contents

Includes various documents not related to TLI: One sheet of stationery from New York Citizens for Kennedy and Johnson, with Baker listed as a Co-Chairman (1960?); a George Washington University (GWU) Fund Drive report on which Baker appears as the New York Chairman (1960); a biography of Baker apparently sent to the White House in connection with a possible appointment in the Kennedy administration, with telegram from Baker to his wife suggesting as much (1961); letter to Baker indicating he was awarded GWU's Alumni Achievement Award (1962); newsletter announcing Baker being named Chairman of GWU's annual fundraising drive (1963); and Baker's election to the GWU board as an alumni trustee and member of its council for arts and sciences (1967).

Box: 3 Folder : 15 Obituaries and Eulogies

Scope and Contents

Some of the documents are in Japanese.

Box: 3 Folder : 16 Post-Mortem

Scope and Contents

Includes items saved by, presumably, Alice Baker after Edgar's death. The principal item in this folder is a 15 page note to TIME historian Curt Prendergast expanding on some of the recollections Alice had shared wth him a few months earlier in an interview (1980). A 2011 note from Edgar's sister, Mildred Bowers, to her children expresses some of her thoughts about Edgar and the records he and Alice had left behind. Other items are a few clippings and tearsheets about Time and other matters that struck the compiler as related to Edgar's work and legacy.


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