James Francis Barker
He was born in 1871 in Keokuk, Iowa. He graduated from Cornell University in 1893 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and spent another year studying Architecture at the graduate level. He briefly worked at D. H. Burnham & Company and Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co. before switching to education, becoming Superintendent of the Manual Training Department at East Division High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1897. He left in 1904 to pursue similar positions at Grand Rapids High School and the Hackley School in Muskegon, Michigan. In 1906, he participated in the formation of East Technical High School in Cleveland, Ohio and served as its first Principal.
He married the former Kate Spooner in 1897 and raised one daughter.
He came to the Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute after his predecessor resigned to continue his work in the war relief effort. He oversaw the Institute during World War I, but subsequently left to become Superintendent of Junior and Technical Education in the Rochester City School System. He also served as general supervisor of evening, summer, and continuation programs for the Rochester School District.
After he retired, he operated a photographic studio called "The Eagle's Wing" on Nantucket Island during the Summer months. He named the studio after an island steamboat his grandfather had captained on the Great Lakes. He also pursued painting, pottery, metal working, and cabinet making.
He died in his Rochester home at the age of 78 and is interred on Nantucket.
- Saffran, Michael (March 2007), "RIT's presidential history", RIT news & events (Henrietta, NY: Rochester Institute of Technology) 39 (11), retrieved 2008-01-18
- "Death of James Barker, of The Eagle's Wing Studio", The Inquirer and Mirror (Nantucket, Massachusetts), 23 Dec 1950: 9
- "The Nantucket Art Colony, 1920-45". Nantucket Historical Association. May 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
- "James Barker, 78, Veteran Educator, Ex-RIT Head, Dies", Rochester Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, New York), 11 Dec 1950: 18
Carleton B. Gibson
|President of Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute
July 1, 1916–1919
Royal B. Farnum
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