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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 I. Outgoing Memos & Letters, Time Inc., November 1950-1969. 1 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series includes Edgar Baker's files of carbon copies of his outgoing correspondence. The bulk of this correspondence is in connection with his Time, Inc business matters, though there are minor exceptions to this. Most of the correspondence dates from late 1950 to 1964, during the period in which Baker was General Manager and then Managing Director of TIME-LIFE International (TLI).

Writing from New York to offices in London, Paris, Tokyo, Mexico City, and elsewhere, Baker's correspondence addresses a range of substantive issues concerning the international operation. These include business profitability, especially in the context of sales of advertising space and related ad rates; expense management, such as identifying alternative printing operation locations and establishing policies for travel and entertainment; market entry and publication launches, such as establishing a Spanish language edition, LIFE EN ESPANOL (1953) and opening offices in the Netherlands, India, and elsewhere; distribution, including focusing on the timing of delivery of the magazines to newsstands; and staff administration, including setting and enforcing sales force revenue quotas and other office performance measures, identifying housing arrangements and pension plan needs, and even considering plans for the safety of personnel in Paris should there be a military invasion (1951). While individual memos give insight into particular issues, the files also include Baker's overall business assessments of profit/loss, budgets, and the like; these are often copies of memos to Henry Luce and input for higher level reports to the Board and to stockholders.

In addition to writing about internal TLI operations and business concerns, much of the correspondence is concerned with country-specific issues impacting or potentially impacting TLI's business prospects. Many of these relate to protectionist actions, such as discriminatory taxation (e.g., Canada) or outright bans on American magazines (e.g., Cuba's Bloque de la Prensa's (Press Block) attempts to suppress US magazine circulation). Other memos survey countries more generally, such as Australia, Mexico, and Venezuela. The files also hold extensive documentation concerning planning for the international conferences held in New Orleans (1955) and in San Francisco (1957).

In 1965, with Baker's change in assignment to Vice President & Director of Corporate Development, most references to international business ends. These final folders hold fewer substantive documents, but there are several significant matters represented, including proposals from Baker for an educational joint venture with General Electric, purchase of New York Graphic Society, purchase of shares of MGM sufficient to claim Board representation, acquisition of the Newark Evening News, and the creation of a TIME-LIFE Films unit.


The series remains in its original order, which is chronological overall, though the content of each folder is reverse chronological.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1-18 Outgoing Correspondence Files, TIME-LIFE International (18 folders)
Box: 1 Folder : 19-22 Outgoing Correspondence Files, Corporate (4 folders)

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