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American Literary Studies

Dorothy Dodds Baker and Howard Baker Papers

The Papers

Location of the Collection: Department of Special Collections, Green Library

Call Number: M0903

Finding Guide: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections. Electronic versions of this finding guide are also available. If you have Microsoft's Internet Explorer version 6.0 or higher, click here to connect to the XML version on the Stanford server; if not, click here for the html version on the Online Archives of California server.

Research Access and Use: Materials in the Department of Special Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the Special Collections' Reading Room in the Cecil H. Green Library. The Reading Room is open 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Photocopies, photographs, and microfilm can be made of some materials in the collections. For more information about the collections and access policies, please contact Special Collections by telephone at (650) 725-1022, by electronic mail at or by regular mail at the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6004.

Career of Dorothy Dodds Baker (1907 - 1968)

Novelist and dramatist, Dorothy Baker was born in 1907 in Missoula, Montana and attended Whittier College before graduating from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1929. There she met the poet Howard Baker, whom she married in Paris in 1930. Upon their return to the United States, she taught high school French and Spanish in Oakland, CA and then returned to UCLA to complete her M. A. in 1934. Her first novel Young Man with a Horn (1938), later made into a film by Kirk Douglas from her screenplay, won a Houghton Mifflin Literature Fellowship. She subsequently received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1942. Her next book was Trio (1943), which she adapted into a play with her husband Howard Baker. The play opened in December 1944 causing an immediate controversy and was closed the following February as a result of a campaign mounted against it by Protestant clergymen. She returned to the novel form with Our Gifted Son (1948) and Cassandra at the Wedding (1962). In 1967, she again collaborated with her husband to produce the television play Ninth Day for the series Playhouse 90.

Career of Howard Baker (1905 - 1990)

Poet, dramatist, and literary critic, Howard Baker was born in Philadelphia in 1905. In 1928 he received his Masters in English from Stanford University, where he became friends with Yvor Winters and served as co-editor of the literary magazine Gyroscope (1929-1930). After graduating from Stanford, Baker moved to Paris to pursue his studies at the Sorbonne. While living in France he met and was influenced by the writers Ernest Hemingway and Ford Maddox Ford, who helped him to publish his first work, the novel Orange Valley (1931). Returning to the United States in 1931, he took a position teaching English at the University of California at Berkeley. From 1937 to 1943 he taught English at Harvard University. In addition to the collaborations with his wife, his writings include the poetry collections Letter from the Country (1941) and Ode to the Sea (1954).

Highlights and Research Potential of the Dorothy Dodds Baker and Howard Baker Papers

The papers contain both published and unpublished manuscripts of poetry, plays, fiction and essays by both authors. There is also extensive correspondence with other writers, friends, and family, including Janet Lewis, Caroline Gordon, Carson McCullers, Allen Tate, Robert Penn Warren, Yvor Winters, and numerous others. Also present are numerous manuscripts by other writers, some unpublished and many in early drafts.

Selected Biography and Criticism

Contemporary Authors (Detroit, MI: Gale Research) New Revision Series vol. 1, p 31. Brief biography of Dorothy Baker.

Related Manuscript Collections at Stanford

Janet Lewis (1899 - )
Stafford, Clayton
Donald E. Stanford (1913- )
Yvor Winters (1900 -1968)




Last modified: July 3, 2006

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