James Francis Barker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people with the same name, see James Barker (disambiguation).
James Francis Barker
2nd President of the Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute
In office
July 1, 1916 – 1919
Preceded by Carleton B. Gibson
Succeeded by Royal B. Farnum
Personal details
Born 1872
Keokuk, Iowa
Died December 10, 1950(1950-12-10) (aged 78)
Rochester, New York
Resting place Prospect Hill Cemetery, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Katharine Spooner
Florence Mary Edmonds
Children Josephine Barker Cooper
Parents James Hussey Barker, Jr.
Maria Josefina Sarresqueta
Alma mater Cornell University
Profession Administrator
Religion Episcopalian[1]

James Francis Barker (1872 – 10 December 1950) was the second president of the Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute, succeeding Carleton B. Gibson, from 1916–1919.[2]

Gravestone in Prospect Hill Cemetery, Nantucket

He was born in 1872 in Keokuk, Iowa,[1] the son of a railroad ticketing agent and a New Orleanian of Spanish and French extraction.[3] His ancestors on his father's side included 11 of the 15 families who settled Nantucket in 1659.[1] 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. After being widowed in the late 1930s, he married Josephine M. Edmonds, a home economics teacher and half sister of International House of New York founder Harry Edmonds,[4] in 1941.

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 District.[5]:115 He also served as general supervisor of evening, summer, and continuation programs for the District.

After he retired in 1936, 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,[6] pottery, metal working, and cabinet making.

He died in his Rochester home at the age of 78 and is interred on Nantucket.[7]


  1. ^ a b c "Death of James Barker, of The Eagle's Wing Studio", The Inquirer and Mirror, Nantucket, Massachusetts, p. 9, 23 Dec 1950 
  2. ^ Saffran, Michael (March 2007), "RIT's presidential history", RIT news & events, Henrietta, NY: Rochester Institute of Technology, 39 (11), retrieved 2008-01-18 
  3. ^ United States Census Bureau (1880-06-01), 1880 United States Census, T9 (Sheet 223A), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States: National Archives and Records Administration, p. 223A, OCLC 16730058, retrieved 2014-11-02 
  4. ^ "Holmes-Edmonds-Miles Family Papers". http://www.lib.rochester.edu. Rochester, New York: University of Rochester. Retrieved 2014-10-19.  External link in |website= (help)
  5. ^ Gordon, Dane R. (2007). Rochester Institute of Technology: Industrial Development and Educational Innovation in an American City, 1829-2006. Henrietta, New York: RIT Press. ISBN 1933360232. OCLC 80360669. 
  6. ^ "The Nantucket Art Colony, 1920-45". Nantucket Historical Association. May 26, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-02.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  7. ^ "James Barker, 78, Veteran Educator, Ex-RIT Head, Dies", Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, p. 18, 11 Dec 1950 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Carleton B. Gibson
President of the Rochester Athenæum and Mechanics Institute
July 1, 1916–1919
Succeeded by
Royal B. Farnum