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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 III. Correspondence, Personal, 1942-1971. 1 Linear feet

Scope and Contents

The series includes extensive personal correspondence of Edgar Baker. A substantial portion of this was written by Baker during his business trips for TIME-LIFE International, most to his wife Alice, but many to his mother, Ida, or other family members, including his grandmother, Elizabeth, called "Bamma." In these letters, Baker described his impressions of the country and its culture as well as his travel experiences. The richest and most extensive of these relate to Baker's 1947 months-long worldwide trip, and he writes from Australia, New Zealand, India, and other countries in that part of the world. 1947 also holds many letters Alice sent to Edgar during his trip.

The series also holds letters that Baker received from a few other correspondents. The most extensive of these letters came from two women: Jane Alden and June Bourke. According to a note in the file written by Alice, Alden was a girlfriend of Baker's in college and they reconnected at least for a time around 1949 when she worked for the U.S. State Department as a research analyst specializing in Japan. Bourke lived in London and Baker seems to have had a serious romantic relationship with her in the mid-late 1950s. Many letters from both women are in the series in which they discuss their activiities, the relationship, and generally express their affections.

Among the other correspondence is one 1962 letter from Ralph Bunche acknowledging Baker's letter of support for Bunche's potential Senate campaign and one 1968 letter from Hubert Humphrey (water damaged) thanking Baker for his support in the failed Presidential campaign. Various other correspondents send acknowlegements of gifts and other courtesies and social pleasantries. One letter is in French.

Finally, there are two large sets of correspondence centered on Baker's 1963 heart attack suffered while he and Alice were in Rome and on Baker's death in 1969. Most of the 1963 letters express get-well-soon wishes, but others relate to medical matters, arrangements for the Bakers's return home by ship, and the like. In addition to condolence letters to Alice, the 1969 files include documents related to the funding of an adjunct professor position in public and international affairs at George Washington University in Baker's memory.

Though the bulk of personal correspondence is in this series, some of the documents in Series I are of a personal nature. Most especially, there are several letters between Baker, his brother Don, and various businesses, lawyers and banks regarding estate settlement of his aunt, Irma B. Hoffman, as Edgar was the Estate Administrator.


The series is arranged with family correspondents in chronological order, followed by others, then the get-well/heart attack and condolence letters.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 1 Family Correspondents, 1942

Scope and Contents

3 letters from Edgar to his mother, writing from Mexico in August, describing his travels.

Box: 4 Folder : 2 Family Correspondents, 1945

Scope and Contents

Includes many letters from Alice, writing to Edgar during her stay in Florida with her relatives, Mr and Mrs Newton Merrill. Over the course of about 5 weeks, Alice wrote often about her activities there. Also a letter from Edgar's grandmother, Elizabeth ("Bamma"), and one from his sister, Mildred, both to Edgar and Alice.

Box: 4 Folder : 3 Family Correspondents, 1946

Scope and Contents

Includes 5 letters, dating from May-June. Edgar and Alice had traveled to Mexico together on a combination business and pleasure trip. Edgar traveled on to Guatamala and elsewhere in the region, while Alice remained in Mexico where her parents joined her. One letter is from Edgar to his parents describing his trip as he flew from Mexico to Guatemala. The other 4 letters are from Alice to Edgar (2), Edgar's mother (1), and someone at Winter Haven, all discussing her stay in Mexico.

Box: 4 Folder : 4-8 Family Correspondents. Edgar to Alice, 1947 (5 folders)

Scope and Contents

In 1947, Baker took a lengthy worldwide business trip, including Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands East Indies (NEI), India and elsewhere before returning home via Europe. These folders hold many of the letters he sent to Alice during this trip, recounting in some detail his observations and experiences. He attempted to number the letters in sequence, but there are gaps so it is not known if there are letters missing or if Baker misnumbered some, though both are likely. Only letters from February-June (Australia, South Pacific, Southeast Asia, India) are here.

Box: 4 Folder : 9 Family Correspondents. Edgar to Other Family, 1947

Scope and Contents

Includes several letters from Edgar to his grandmother, mother, father, and sister (and one to Edgar from his father) written while on his travels in Australia and Southeast Asia.

Box: 4 Folder : 10 Family Correspondents. Alice to Edgar

Scope and Contents

Many letters from Alice to Edgar as he traveled overseas, conveying updates about the family, social gossip, and her own efforts at starting a career. Edgar's father died while Baker was on his long trip and Alice refers to that in at least one of her later letters.

Box: 4 Folder : 11 Family Correspondents, 1948-49

Scope and Contents

Includes several letters from Edgar and Alice to his mother, grandmother and sister as they traveled in Europe in the late summer of 1948; London, Paris, Isle of Capri, and Geneva are the main datelines. Also, a few letters to Edgar in October from Alice as she returned to the U.S alone and he apparently traveled to Asia. One 1949 letter from Edgar writing from London to his mother.

Box: 4 Folder : 12 Family Correspondents, 1950-51

Scope and Contents

Includes an exchange of one letter each between Edgar and his mother while he was traveling in Tokyo (1950), with his travel itinerary for October-early November. 1951 letters include letters to Edgar from Alice and others (relatives?) regarding her travels and other matters in Europe in the spring. In the summer she connects with Edgar and they traveled in Eastern Europe, Greece, and the Mideast; there are three letters from them to Edgar's mother, with the travel itinerary.

Box: 4 Folder : 13 Family Correspondents, 1955

Scope and Contents

Includes three letters from Edgar in Tokyo to Alice and his mother, with related Time press release and clippings.

Box: 4 Folder : 14 Family Correspondents, 1957,1959

Scope and Contents

Includes 4 letters and 1 postcard from Edgar to his mother, writing from Florence (1947), Saigon, Egypt, and Warsaw.

1957, 1959
Box: 4 Folder : 15 Family Correspondents, 1962-64

Scope and Contents

Includes twelve letters and postcards from Edgar to his mother as he traveled in London and Spain (1962), in 1963 with Alice in South Africa, and in 1964 in Eastern Europe. In October 1963, Edgar suffered a heart attack in Rome and a couple of his letters refer to his recovery and his itinerary for the voyage back to New York. One letter is written in response to the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Box: 4 Folder : 16 Family Correspondents, undated

Scope and Contents

Includes several letters between Edgar, Alice, his mother, and other likely family members that are undated.

Box: 4 Folder : 17-19 Other Correspondents (3 folders)
circa 1950-1968
Box: 4 Folder : 20 Miscellaneous

Scope and Contents

Includes two carbon copies of a sworn statement by Baker attesting that a former government agency colleague had not expressed Communist sympathies; an unattributed carbon copy of a soldier's outline of his movements in World War II Europe at D-Day and after; and a clipping and stamps that became separated from the correspondence.

1953, undated
Box: 4 Folder : 21-24 Heart Attack Related (4 folders)
Box: 4 Folder : 25-31 Condolences and Related (7 folders)

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