Baker, Helen C.
Manuscript Collection: MS 0817
Agency History/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.
Scope and Content:
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 ca. 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.
Cite as: Helen C. Baker Papers, Mount Holyoke College,
Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley,
Access Restrictions: Unrestricted