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COLLECTION Identifier: Arch GA 6

John Calhoun Baker papers


The papers of Harvard Business School professor John Baker Calhoun consist of correspondence, subject files, research and writings, course material, and work done outside HBS.


  • 1928-1996


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored offsite; access requires advance notice. HBS Archives collections require a secondary registration form, please contact for more information.


5 linear feet (10 boxes)

The papers of John C. Baker cover the period he served in a variety of administrative positions at HBS. The bulk of these materials fall within the years he served as an Instructor (1934-1936), Associate Director of Business Research (1936-1942), Professor of Business Administration (1940-1945), Assistant Dean (1928-1936), Acting Dean (1940-1941), and Associate Dean (1941-1945). Additional material added at a later date document selected activities after Baker’s retirement from Ohio University.

The collection contains correspondence, reports, studies, financial statements, and statistics. The papers document the relationship between Baker’s personal and professional friendships and contain numerous correspondence from key executives from a variety of corporations.

The records in this collection also show the various directions taken at HBS during the Depression and WWII years. The documentation reflects the impact on HBS of turbulent social and economic events of the 1930’s and 1940’s such as the pursuit of scholarship monies during the Depression and the wartime use of HBS resources. Of special interest are Baker’s research on executive compensation of leading U.S. companies during the 1930s. A small portion of material exists from his tenure as trustee of Juniata College in the late 1930s, as well as his leadership at the Avon Home and the Boston School for Occupational Therapy. Correspondence pertaining to the 1977 Harvard Business Review article “Are Corporation Executives Overpaid?” is also included. No teaching or course materials were received in these papers.

Biographical Note:

John Calhoun Baker was born in 1895 in Everett, Pennsylvania, the son of Francis and Jennie (Calhoun) Baker. He was educated at Everett High School and received his BA from Juniata College in 1917 and his MBA from HBS in 1923. John C. Baker worked at Daniel Starch and Associates from 1924-1925 and Mason & Hamlin Piano Company from 1925-1926. In 1926 Baker returned to HBS as an instructor of Foreign Trade (1926-1927), International Relationships (1927-1928), and Finance (1934-1935). Baker became Assistant Dean in 1928. He resigned from HBS in January 1945 when he became the fourteenth president of Ohio University (1945-1961).

Among his writings during his HBS years are Executive Salaries and Bonus Plans; On Going Into Business (co-author); Introduction to Corporate Finance (co-author); and Directors and their Functions, as well as numerous magazine articles.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  1. Series I. Correspondence/Subject Files, 1928-1945; 1992
  2. Series II. HBS Research & Writing Records, 1936-1996
  3. Series III. Outside Work, 1930-1986
  4. Series IV. Restricted Material, 1933-1944

Physical Location



Four folders of miscellaneous correspondence dated 1962-1993 received via Professor Andrew Towl on June 20, 1994. One box of material related to article entitled, “Notes on the Lowell-Donham Era” received via Professor Andrew Towl on July 24, 1996.

Processing Information

Processed: by: Carole Foster, July 1994; Revised by Carin Casey, July 1996. Reviewed by Lisa Moorhead, April 2004.

Baker, John Calhoun, 1895-1999. John Calhoun Baker Papers, 1928-1996: A Finding Aid
Baker Library
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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