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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

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Baker, Edgar R. (Edgar Robey), 1920-1969
Title: Edgar R. Baker papers
Dates [inclusive]: 1926-2011 (bulk 1940s-1969)
Abstract: The collection holds the papers of Time, Inc. executive Edgar R. Baker (1920-1969), especially as they relate to his almost two decades as head of Time's international unit, TIME-LIFE International, during its years of expansion from the mid-1940s to mid-1960s. The collection includes business and personal correspondence; subject files; speeches on U.S. foreign relations; photographs of business meetings, conferences, and social gatherings; and memorabilia from childhood school years to adulthood. An extensive set of carbon copies of Baker's business letters and memoranda from 1950 into the 1960s provides insight into Baker's leadership in confronting both internal challenges (performance of overseas offices and staff, expense management, revenue growth) and external obstacles (protectionist markets, government regulations, censorship) in expanding Time's global presence. Baker's personal letters to his wife and mother while traveling abroad, especially during his months-long trip in 1947, provide another angle of vision on the work of an international publisher seeking to extend American economic and policy interests globally in the post-World War II era.
Quantity: 5 Linear feet in four record cartons and one flat box
Language: The documents in the collection are primarily in English, with some in Spanish, Japanese, and French.
Call Phrase: MS 3156

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Biographical / Historical

Edgar Robey Baker, Jr. (1920-1969) was an executive with TIME Inc. with responsibility for leading the company's international division during its expansion in the decades immediately after World War II.

Baker was born on October 16, 1920, in Washington, D.C. He attended public schools in Washington including Whittier elementary school, Paul Junior High School and Central High School. He earned an AB in Economics from George Washington University (GWU) in 1941, where he was a member of the honorary society Phi Beta Kappa. After some graduate studies, he worked as an economist for the U.S. government from 1942 to 1945 in the Department of Labor, Lend-Lease Administration, and Foreign Economic Administration. In 1944, Baker married Alice Newcomer of Winter Park, Florida, an aspiring journalist whom he had met at GWU.

In December 1945, Baker was hired by TIME Inc. as an assistant to the Managing Director of LIFE. In 1946, he was named General Manager of TIME's new operating division, TIME-LIFE International (TLI), reporting to C.D. Jackson. In 1949 Baker succeeded Jackson, who became Publisher of FORTUNE, and was promoted to Managing Director of TLI, becoming head of TIME Inc.'s international division with responsibility for its worldwide publishing operations. He reached executive rank in 1957, being elected a Vice President that year.

By the end of Baker's tenure at TLI in 1964, TIME's global presence had grown to include offices in 20 countries publishing 10 international editions, including some in languages other than English, with circulations of about 1.5 million each. Among these was a Spanish language version of LIFE and a Japanese language version of FORTUNE. He played a leadership role behind two significant TIME, Inc. initiatives: the 1955 Inter-American Investment Conference in New Orleans and the 1957 International Industrial Development Conference in San Francisco. He was a frequent conference speaker or panelist on topics concerning United States foreign relations and foreign trade in the postwar era. In 1959, Baker was a member of the small delegation to Poland headed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Frederick H. Mueller.

Baker was based in TIME's New York headquarters, but he traveled often through Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, and South and Central America, sometimes accompanied by his wife, Alice. In the midst of one such trip spanning the globe with Alice, in September 1963, Baker suffered a heart attack in Rome. He recovered and returned to the U.S. by ship in late 1963.

In early 1965, Baker was transferred from TLI, replaced by his lieutenant, Charles (Charley) Bear. In his new role as a Corporate Vice President and, in 1966, as Director of Research and Development, Baker was responsible for identifying new business lines and products for the diversification of TIME, Inc. In this role, Baker became involved with an educational joint venture with General Electric, TIME Inc.'s investment in film studio MGM, and the acquisition of book publisher Little, Brown, among others.

Beyond TIME Inc., Baker remained attached as an alumni to George Washington University, supporting their fundraising efforts. Politically, he was a liberal Democrat who was an early supporter of John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential campaign; as a result Baker was apparently in consideration for a foreign service role in the new administration. He was an avid baseball fan, especially of his hometown Washington Senators. He and Alice lived at 980 Fifth Avenue in New York and had a summer home in Sharon, Connecticut. On June 11, 1969, Baker died at the age of 48, reportedly of acute infectious hepatitis.

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Scope and Contents

The collection holds the papers of Time, Inc. executive Edgar R. Baker (1920-1969), especially as they relate to his almost two decades as head of Time's international unit, TIME-LIFE International, during its years of expansion from the mid-1940s to mid-1960s. The collection includes business and personal correspondence; subject files; speeches on U.S. foreign relations; photographs of business meetings, conferences, and social gatherings; and memorabilia from childhood school years to adulthood.

An extensive set of carbon copies of Baker's business letters and memoranda from 1950 into the 1960s provides insight on Baker's leadership in confronting both internal challenges (staff performance, expense management, revenue growth) and external obstacles (protectionist markets, government regulation and censorship) in expanding Time's global presence. These files also hold documentation about Baker's planning of two conferences: the 1955 Inter-American Investment Conference in New Orleans and the 1957 International Industrial Development Conference in San Francisco.

Though the carbon copy files directly reflect Baker's business activities, Baker's related personal papers provide further context to some of these events. Subject files hold several of Baker's speeches to trade groups providing insight into his animating views on U.S. foreign relations and economic policy in the 1940s-1950s. His personal correspondence, written to his wife and mother while traveling abroad, provide another angle of vision on the work of an international publisher seeking to extend American economic and policy interests globally in the post-World War II era.

Further, while the memos, correspondence and subject files track TIME-LIFE International's, and Baker's, successes, the collection also provides a sense of the personal effort, stress, and cost of this success as glimpsed in letters with their suggestion of marital tensions, the business social settings with their attendant drinking and smoking depicted in the photographs, the get well letters in response to Baker's heart attack in 1963, and the 1969 condolence letters to his wife, Alice. The collection includes many of the obituaries and reminiscences of Baker, including a 1980 letter sent by Alice to Time historian Curt Prendergast reflecting on Edgar's career and achievements. Alice herself is well-represented in the collection, with letters to Edgar during his travels, in some photographs, and in various travel itineraries that combine Time business and personal leisure, all illustrating the essential, even expected, role of a supportive spouse to the success of a married executive.


The collection is organized in four series:

I. Outgoing Memos & Letters, Time Inc. (1950-1969)

II. Subject Files (1926-2011)

III. Correspondence, Personal (1942-1971)

IV. Photographs & Memorabilia (1940s-1960s)

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Memorandums.
  • Photographs.
  • Passports.
  • Report cards.
  • Speeches (documents).

Subject Organizations

  • Inter-American Investment Conference (1955 : New Orleans, La.) [611]
  • International Industrial Conference (1957 : San Francisco, Calif.) [611]
  • Time, inc. -- History.
  • Time, inc. -- Management.

Subject Topics

  • Business travel.
  • Businessmen.
  • International business enterprises.
  • Periodicals -- Publishing.
  • Publishers and publishing.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Use Restrictions

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit:

Preferred Citation

The collection should be cited as: Edgar R. Baker papers, MS 3156, New-York Historical Society.

Related Materials

N-YHS holds the extensive archives of Time Inc. Those records consist of over 50 record groups, which are cataloged individually and described more fully in individual finding aids. An overview of the Time Inc. archive can be found by following this link: Guide to the Time Inc. Records Overview

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Edgar Baker's nephew, Josh Bowers, in 2019 and 2020.

Processing Information

Processed by archivist Larry Weimer in December 2020. Preliminary work was done by archival intern Duncan Knox in early 2020.

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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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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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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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Series IV. Photographs and Memorabilia, 1940s-1960s. 1.5 Linear feet in one flat box and part of a record carton

Scope and Contents

The series primarily includes photographs of Edgar Baker either alone (i.e., portraits, passport snapshots) or with others in business or business social settings. His wife, Alice Baker, appears in several of these either as she traveled with him or in the few personal photos here, specifically of the couple at their wedding reception. Most of the settings and other individuals are unidentified and undated, though there is one large set of photos taken at Baker's farewell party from Time-Life International. Two photographs--one of Adlai Stevenson and the other of Henry Luce--are inscribed by them to Baker.

In addition to photographs, the series holds a scrapbook given Baker by his Time colleagues on the occasion of his 40th birthday in 1960; the object is richly emblematic of the office humor of the period. The series also holds Baker's passports, a "26 Julio" pin of the type associated with the Cuban Revolution, and a few other items of memorabilia, as noted in the container list.


The series is arranged by format and subject matter.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 17 Photographs. Edgar only.
1950, undated
Box: 3 Folder : 18 Photographs. Edgar and Alice Baker

Scope and Contents

Includes wedding day photos, a souvenir photo taken at the Copacabana, arriving in Mexico City (1946), in Venice (1958), and others.

Box: 3 Folder : 19 Photographs. Edgar and Others

Scope and Contents

Includes Baker at conferences, business settings, business social settings, and others. Several are from Asia, including a set in which Baker arrives by helicopter on a building rooftop (likely Tokyo). One photo places him on the set of the MGM film "Alfred the Great."

Box: 3 Folder : 20 Photographs. Time-Life International Farewell Party

Scope and Contents

Many photos from the event marking Baker's move from TLI to a corporate management position at Time. Most of the photos taken by LIFE photographer Martha Holmes.

Box: 3 Folder : 21 Scrapbook. 40th Birthday Gag Gift

Scope and Contents

Includes about 40 pages of pictures with humorous comments related to Baker's position at TLI. Originally in binder, but removed for conservation purposes. At rear of binder, now in folder, is a "26 Julio" pin with note suggesting, humorously, that it was to be worn in good health on trips to Cuba.

Box: 3 Folder : 22-23 Memorabilia (2 folders)

Scope and Contents

Holds business cards (Time Inc. VP); United Airlines 100,000 Mile Club card; TLI accredited representative card; Associate Member, American Institute of Management certificate; guest of honor certificate from Montevideo, Mexico (1955), in Spanish; honorary citizen of New Orleans certificate (1954); original editorial cartoon by Flora, dated 1959, altered for presentation to Baker in 1966; gag TIME cover featuring Baker as fisherman with catch (1951); 6 passports (1946-68); International Driving Permit (1951); and TWA Royal Ambassador menu (in form of a scroll).

Box: 5 Oversize Photographs (flat box)

Scope and Contents

Includes these items: mounted photograph of Adlai Stevenson, inscribed and autographed to Baker (1957); mounted color photograph of a drawing of Henry Luce, inscribed and autographed to Baker; Baker with other fishermen showing their catch of sailfish; Baker in his office at Time (circa 1960); and 4 wedding day reception photos of Edgar and Alice.


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