Ray Stannard Baker

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ray Stannard Baker

Ray Stannard Baker (April 17, 1870 in Lansing, Michigan – July 12, 1946 in Amherst, Massachusetts)[1][2] (also known by his pen name David Grayson) was an American journalist, historian, biographer, and author.


Baker was born in Michigan. After graduating from the State Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), he attended law school at the University of Michigan in 1891 before launching his career as a journalist in 1892 with the Chicago News-Record, where he covered the Pullman Strike and Coxey's Army in 1894.

In 1898[3] Baker joined the staff of McClure's, a pioneer muckraking magazine, and quickly rose to prominence along with Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell. He also dabbled in fiction, writing children's stories for the magazine Youth's Companion and a 9-volume series of stories about rural living in America, the first of which was titled "Adventures in Contentment" (1910) under his pseudonym David Grayson, which reached millions of readers worldwide.

In 1907 dissatisfied with the muckraker label, Baker, Steffens, and Tarbell left McClure's and founded The American Magazine. In 1908 after the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot got him involved, Baker published the book Following the Color Line: An Account of Negro Citizenship in the American Democracy, becoming the first prominent journalist to examine America's racial divide; it was extremely successful. Sociologist Rupert Vance says it is:

the best account of race relations in the South during the period – one that reads like field notes for the future historian. This account was written during the zenith of Washingtonian movement and shows the optimism that it inspired among both liberals and moderates. The book is also notable for its realistic accounts of Negro town life.[4]

He followed up that work with numerous articles in the following decade.

In 1912 after flirting with Communism, Baker supported the presidential candidacy of Woodrow Wilson, which led to a close relationship between the two men, and in 1918 Wilson sent Baker to Europe to study the war situation. During peace negotiations, Baker served as Wilson's press secretary at Versailles. He eventually published 15 volumes about Wilson and internationalism, including the 6-volume The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson (1925-1927) with William Edward Dodd,[5] and the 8-volume Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters (1927–39), the last two volumes of which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in 1940. He served as an adviser on Darryl F. Zanuck's 1944 film Wilson.

Baker wrote three autobiographies, Native American (1941), American Chronicle (1945) and Turtles (1943)

Baker died of a heart attack in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is buried there in Wildwood Cemetery. Buildings have been named in honor of both Ray Stannard Baker and David Grayson (his pen name). A dormitory, Grayson Hall, is at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The David Grayson Elementary School is in Waterford, Michigan. An academic building, Baker Hall, is at Michigan State University.

Baker's brother Hugh Potter Baker was the president of Massachusetts State College that later became the University of Massachusetts.


  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Shop Talks on the Wonders of Crafts (Chicago, 1895)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Our New Prosperity (New York: Doubleday & Company, McClure, 1900)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Seen in Germany (New York: McClure, Phillips, 1901)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Boys' Second Book of Inventions (New York: McClure, Phillips, 1903)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Adventures in Contentment (1907) (as David Grayson)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, The Atlanta Riot (1907)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Following the Color Line: An Account of Negro Citizenship in the American Democracy (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, New York, 1908) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, New Ideals in Healing (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1909)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Adventures in Friendship (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1910) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, The Spiritual Unrest (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1910) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Great Possessions: A New Series of Adventures (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1917) (as David Grayson) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, What Wilson Did at Paris (New York, 1919)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Woodrow Wilson and World Settlement (3 vols.) (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1922-1923) read vol. 3 online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, An American Pioneer in Science: The Life and Service of William James Beal, with Jessie B. Baker (Amherst, Mass: Privately printed, 1925)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard and William Edward Dodd, 'The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson (6 vols.) (1925-1927)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters (8 vols.) (New York: Doubleday, Page, and Doubleday, Doran) (1927-1939), "Youth, 1856-1890" (1927), "Princeton, 1890-1910" (1927), "Governor, 1910-1913 (1931)", "President, 1913-1914" (1931), " Neutrality 1914-1915" (1935), "Facing War, 1915-1917" (1937), "War Leader, April 6, 1917 - February 28, 1918" (1939), "Armistice, March 1 - November 11, 1918 (1939)" (1940 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography).
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Woodrow Wilson: Neutrality, 1914-1915 (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1935) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, The Capture, Death and Burial of J. Wilkes Booth (Poor Richard Press, 1940) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, Native American: The Book of My Youth (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1941)
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, American Chronicle: The Autobiography of Ray Stannard Baker (as David Grayson) (Charles Scribner's Son, 1945) read online
  • Baker, Ray Stannard, List of articles
  • Bannister, Robert C., Ray Stannard Baker: The Mind and Thought of a Progressive (1966)
  • Hamilton, John Maxwell, ed.m A Journalist’s Diplomatic Mission: Ray Stannard Baker’s World War I Diary (Louisiana State University Press, 2012). xxxiv, 469 pp. excerpt and text search


  1. ^ www.swarthmore.edu
  2. ^ www.encyclopedia.com
  3. ^ Baker, Ray Stannard (1945). American Chronicle. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. p. 84. 
  4. ^ Rupert Vance, "The 20th-century South as Viewed by English-speaking Travelers, 1900-1955" in Thomas D. Clark, ed., Travels in the New South: A Bibliography (vol 2, 1962) p 18
  5. ^ ncpedia.org

External links[edit]