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Baker papers

 Collection
Identifier: MS 0817

Scope and Contents

The Helen C. Baker Papers consist of correspondence, Gamma Kappa material, biographical information, a photograph album and photographs. Most of the material documents aspects of Baker's social life as a student at Mount Holyoke College from 1906-1910. Her correspondence includes a letter that she wrote on February 24, 1909 describing events during her Junior Prom and round robin letters exchanged by members of Gamma Kappa secret society between 1946-1981. Other Gamma Kappa material includes a letter giving Baker instructions for her initiation as a member in 1908, a copy of the organization's constitution and by-laws written by her, and programs for banquets as well as an address list and newsletters reflecting group activities after graduation. Baker was a member of the College's Glee Club and concert programs in the collection are for three concerts by the Glee, Banjo and Mandolin Clubs in 1909-1910. The remainder of this collection is chiefly consists of photographs. There are several photographs of Baker including formal portraits dating from her senior year at Mount Holyoke and her "passport picture" from circa 1919. Most of the other photographs are snapshots of groups of students between 1906-1910. The photograph album shows students participating in the rope jumping tradition at Commencement and enjoying parties, picnics, and hikes; also included is a photograph of a women in historical dress taken during Mount Holyoke's 75th anniversary celebration in 1912. There are also photographs of individual students, members of the Class of 1910 after graduation, the Class of 1910 basketball team, and Class dramatics (including one showing the cast of a minstrel show with several students in blackface). Most of the photographs offer a particularly clear view of clothing worn by college students in the early twentieth century. Biographical information includes a newspaper article about Baker's 100th birthday celebration in 1988 and her obituary from 1990.

Dates

  • 1906-1990
  • Majority of material found within 1906 - 1910

Conditions Governing Access

Unrestricted

Biographical Note

Helen Craig Baker was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 13, 1888 to Charles H. and Mary Craig Baker. She attended Montclair High School in Montclair, New Jersey before entering Mount Holyoke College in 1906 and graduating with a B.A. in French in 1910. She was a secretary at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey from 1910-1914, secretary to the president of Montclair (New Jersey) Normal School from 1914-1915, and secretary to the pastor of Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair from 1916-1919. Soon after World War I she worked for the Young Men's Christian Association; her duties included serving as a canteen worker in France from May-September 1919. She subsequently held a variety of clerical positions at AT&T from July 1920 until her retirment in about 1945. In 1923-1924 she also attended a secretarial school at Columbia University. She died on July 3, 1990 at age one hundred and two in Montclair, New Jersey.

Extent

1 boxes (Class of 1910)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Baker, Helen Craig, 1888-1990; student, clerical worker. Mount Holyoke College graduate, 1910. Papers consist of correspondence, material relating to the Gamma Kappa secret society, programs for Mount Holyoke College Glee, Banjo and Mandolin Clubs concerts, biographical information, a photograph album and photographs; primarily documenting undergraduate social activities and activities of members of Gamma Kappa and the Class of 1910 while at Mount Holyoke and after.

Arrangement

Arranged in 6 series: Series 1. Correspondence. Series 2. Gamma Kappa Material. Series 3. Concert Programs. Series 4. Biographical Information. Series 5. Photograph Album. Series 6. Photographs.
Title
Baker Papers, 1906-1990 (bulk 1906-1910)
Subtitle
Finding Aid
Status
Edited Full Draft
Date
© 2003
Language of description
Undetermined
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
English
Sponsor
Encoding funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Repository Details

Part of the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Contact:
50 College Street
8 Dwight Hall
South Hadley MA 01075-6425 USA
413-538-3079