Ray Stannard Baker


Ray Stannard Baker
Ray Stannard Baker

Ray Stannard Baker (April 17, 1870 – July 12, 1946), also known by his pen name David Grayson, was an American journalist and author born in Lansing, Michigan. After graduating from the Michigan 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,[1] 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 nine-volume series of stories about rural living in America, the first of which was titled "Adventures in Contentment" under the pseudonym David Grayson.

In 1906, Baker, Steffens and Tarbell left McClure's and created The American Magazine. In 1908, he wrote the book Following the Color Line, becoming the first prominent journalist to examine America's racial divide. It was extremely successful. He would continue that work with numerous articles in the following decade.

In 1912, 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 an 8-volume biography, the last two volumes of which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1940.

Baker wrote two autobiographies, Native American (1941) and American Chronicle (1945).

Baker died of a heart attack in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is buried there in Wildwood Cemetery. A dormitory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is named in honor of Baker but using his pen name David Grayson. A nearby dormitory, Baker Hall, is named after his brother Hugh Potter Baker who was the president of Massachusetts State College that later became the University of Massachusetts. A Baker Hall at Michigan State University is named in honor of Ray Stannard Baker.

Notes

  1. ^ Baker, Ray Stannard. American Chronicle. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. pp. 84. 

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