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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.
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.
This collection is organized into six series:
Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:
Helen C. Baker Papers, Mount Holyoke College, Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA.
Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections
8 Dwight Hall
50 College St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Phone: (413) 538-2013
Fax: (413) 538-2370 Email Reference Form: http://www.mtholyoke.edu/lits/library/arch/forms/areq.htm