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COLLECTION Identifier: MC 415

Papers of Edith Mildred Baker, 1923-1977 (inclusive), 1923-1964 (bulk)


Speeches, reports, writings, etc., of Edith Mildred Baker, social worker.


  • 1923-1977
  • Majority of material found within 1923-1964

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Access. Open to research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright. Copyright in the papers created by Edith Mildred Baker is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.

Copying. Papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.


1.67 linear feet ((4 file boxes) plus 1 photograph folder, 1 folio+ folder)

This collection consists of speeches and writings by Edith Mildred Baker; the reports, proceedings, minutes, etc., of conferences, committee meetings, and institutes, many of which Baker attended; and issues of the American Association of Hospital (later Medical) Social Workers Bulletin that include articles by or about Baker. Virginia Insley, the donor of these papers, attached explanatory notes to various items.

The papers partially document Baker's professional life and her involvement in and leadership of the movement to make social services an integral part of state health care programs. They yield no information about Baker's family or personal life.

Most of the papers are printed, mimeographed, or typescript carbon copies. They have been divided into five sections: personal and biographical, including a photographic portrait (#1-2f+); speeches (#3-9); writings (#10-14); conferences, committees, and institutes (#15-50); and publications (#51-58). Some panel discussions in which Baker took part are included with speeches; some are with conferences, committees, and institutes. The material in each section is arranged chronologically; reprints of speeches were filed according to the date of the speech, rather than the date of the reprint.

Bound material was, where possible, dismantled for preservation purposes.

Additional material received in December 1998 (accession number 98-M203) was added to the collection in March 2016 and is housed in #59.


Edith Mildred Baker, social worker, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Harriet (Whiteley) and Charles E. Baker. After graduating from Simmons College School of Social Work, she was a social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital (1914-1923) and director of social services in the Washington University Clinics and Allied Hospitals, St. Louis, Missouri (1923-1935). In 1935, Dr. Martha May Eliot asked Baker to join the United States Children's Bureau (Department of Labor) in Washington, D.C., where she became director of the Medical Social Work department.

Baker believed that social services should be a component of health care for mothers and children. She was a leader in the field, organizing and participating in many conferences on the subject throughout the United States; she also helped schools of social work develop courses to prepare students for medical social work. After retiring from the federal government in 1954, Baker became chief of the Social Service Division of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health of the District of Columbia Department of Public Health.

Physical Location

Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Accession numbers: 86-M135, 92-M210, 98-M203

The papers of Edith Mildred Baker were given to the Schlesinger Library by Virginia Insley between July 1986 and December 1998. Accession number 98-M203 was added in March 2016.


The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Harvard University:

  1. The Meaning of Disease, Wm A. White (Baltimore: The Williams and Wilkins Co., 1926)


  1. Box 1: 1, 3-13
  2. Box 2: 14-30
  3. Box 3: 31-47
  4. Box 4: 48-58


  1. AAHSW = American Association of Hospital Social Workers
  2. AAMSW = American Association of Medical Social Workers
  3. CB = Children's Bureau
  4. DOL = Department of Labor
  5. HEW = Department of Health, Education and Welfare

Processing Information

Processed: September 1992

By: Bert Hartry

Updated and additional materials added: March 2016

By: Anne Engelhart

Baker, Edith Mildred. Papers of Edith Mildred Baker, 1923-1977 (inclusive), 1923-1964 (bulk): A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
Language of description
Processing of this collection was made possible by a grant from Clara G. Schiffer

Repository Details

Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository

The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.

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