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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

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)