President of the Massachusetts State College (now UMass Amherst) from 1933-1947. Includes correspondence with college, state, and federal officials, college suppliers, and alumni; speeches and articles; reports and other papers on topics at issue during Baker's college presidency, 1933-1947, particularly the building program; biographical sketches and memorial tributes; clippings and other papers, relating to Baker's career as professor of forestry at several colleges, trade association executive, and college president.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Hugh Potter Baker
The Hugh P. Baker Papers, 1919-1951, are made up of biographical materials, copies of some of Baker's writings, and administrative and official papers from his presidency at the Massachusetts State College, which began in 1933, soon after the institution had been renamed Massachusetts State College in 1931, and ended a few months after the institution became the University of Massachusetts, in 1947.
The papers consist of correspondence and memoranda exchanged with members of the faculty and staff and with state and federal officials, as well as reports on problems connected with the fiscal drought of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the labor-short and student-short period of World War II. The bulk of the administrative papers document the College building program in which Baker's administration brought several new buildings to the campus and launched the planning of a number of others. Some construction was funded from federal sources, while other building was financed by the Massachusetts State College Building Association, which the General Court chartered in 1939. The activities of the Building Association in particular alleviated the shortage of student housing on campus, which had long been the major barrier to the expansion of the College's educational program. The building program not only accommodated the moderate growth of the College's enrollment during the 1930s, but laid the foundation for the rapid expansion of the institution which began with the end of World War II and continued into the 1970s.
The papers also include correspondence and other materials related to the donation and manufacture of the Old Chapel Chimes, installed in 1937; the celebration in 1938 of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the College; the dispute between the State Commission on Administration and Finance, and College and federal authorities over the use of Federal Land Grant Funds; and the development of the School of Home Economics.
Further information on the course of affairs at the institution during Baker's tenure may be found in the published Annual Reports of the institution in RG 1/00/2, and in the papers of other college officials of his day, such as those of Dean William L. Machmer, in RG 6/1.
Some Baker correspondence, probably related to his roles at the Syracuse University School of Forestry and the American Paper and Pulp Association, are in the Ralph S. Hosmer and the National Forestry Program Committee papers in the archives and manuscripts collections of the Cornell University Library.
This collection is organized into two series:
Processed by W. B. Cook, Jr., 1982.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Hugh P. Baker Papers (RG 3/1/1933). Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.