|Birth name||Jesse Randall Baxter Jr.|
|Also known as||Pap|
|Origin||DeKalb County, Alabama
Jesse Randall Baxter Jr. (1887 – January 29, 1960), known professionally as J.R. Baxter and sometimes referred to as "Pap", was an American Southern Gospel composer and publisher.
Baxter grew up in DeKalb County, Alabama, and was a schoolteacher; he married Clarice Howard in 1918. He studied with Thomas B. Mosley and Anthony Johnson Showalter, and in 1926 bought a stake in Virgil O. Stamps' gospel music publishing company. The Stamps-Baxter Music & Printing Company became one of the leading publishers of gospel songs in the early 20th century. Baxter ran the company's Chattanooga, Tennessee office until Stamps's death in 1940; following this Baxter moved to Dallas, Texas to run the main office.
Baxter's interest in schoolteaching led him to publish shape-note songbooks and sponsor a Stamps-Baxter School of Music, both of which contributed to the popularity of Gospel music.
Baxter also composed Gospel songs himself; his works include "Try Jesus", "Travel the Sunlit Way", "Something Happens (When You Give Your Heart to God"), "I Have Peace in My Soul", "Living Grace", and "I Want to Help Some Weary Pilgrim". After Baxter's death, his wife continued to run the business until she died, after which it was sold to Zondervan. In 1997, Baxter was inducted into the Southern Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.
- Ivan M. Tribe, J.R. Baxter. Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music. Routledge, 2005, p. 32.
- J.R. Baxter, Southern Gospel Music Association