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Baird (W. David) Papers
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  • Biographical / Historical
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Pepperdine University. Special Collections and University Archives.
    Title: Baird (W. David) Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0151
    Physical Description: 29.19 Linear Feet
    Date (inclusive): 1920s-2016

    Biographical / Historical

    W. David Baird is Dean Emeritus of Seaver College at Pepperdine University. He is a native of Edmond, Oklahoma, and served as Dean of Seaver College from 1998 to 2008. He obtained his AA degree from George Washington University; his BA degree in History and Geography from the University of Central Oklahoma; and his MA and PhD degrees in History and Geography from the University of Oklahoma. He served on the History faculty at the University of Arkansas (1968–1978) and Oklahoma State University (1978–1988), then coming to Pepperdine as the Howard A. White Professor of History in 1988, and became the Dean of Seaver College in 1998.
    Dr. Baird has written and edited many books and articles about the history of the American West and Native Americans. Some of his most notable books include a biography of Peter Pitchlynn (University of Oklahoma Press, 1972 and 1986), a history of the Quapaw Indians (University of Oklahoma Press, 1988), and a history of the state of Oklahoma (with Danney Goble, University of Oklahoma Press, 1994 and 2007). His most recent book is a history of Pepperdine University, entitled Quest for Distinction: Pepperdine University in the 20th Century (Pepperdine University Press, 2016).
    Dr. Baird began working on Quest for Distinction after he was asked by Pepperdine President Dr. Andrew K. Benton to write the seventy-fifth anniversary history of Pepperdine University. Research for the book started in 2009, and it was published in 2016.


    The collection is arranged into three series: Series One: Chronological Files, Series Two: Subject Files, and Series Three: Office of the Seaver Dean, 1976-2015. The Chronological Files are arranged chronologically, while the Subject Files and Office of the Seaver Dean Files are arranged alphabetically by folder title. Many folder titles were retained from Dr. Baird's original labeling.

    Scope and Contents

    This is a comprehensive collection of Dr. Baird's time as the Seaver Dean and the subsequent publishment of his book. The Chronological and Subject Files that compose the first series include many research materials that Dr. Baird used when writing Quest for Distinction. Most of the collection consists of paper documents, and many materials are photocopies. The materials in these files include newspapers, meeting minutes, handbooks, pamphlets, photographs, correspondence, reports, and essays. The collection also contains notes and outlines Dr. Baird created as he was writing Quest for Distinction.
    The Office of the Seaver Dean series includes files that contain documentation surrounding Dr. Baird's administration as Seaver Dean. Most of the files consist of paper documents, including meeting minutes and agenda, newspaper articles, handbooks, pamphlets, Pepperdine University publications, photographs, correspondence, and reports.
    Users who consult the materials in this collection should be able to get some insights into the rich history of Pepperdine University from its founding in 1937 through the early 2010s. However, Dr. Baird has noted that there is a lack of materials relating to the founder, George Pepperdine, as well as Batsell Baxter, Hugh Tiner, and David Davenport. Thus, users probably will not find many materials about them in this collection. However, users can access abundant information on the work of various faculty organizations on campus, as well as insights into student life and hiring procedures.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    The collection was given to Pepperdine University by Dr. Baird on 2016 June 22.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Accreditation (Education)
    Christian education
    Education, Higher -- California
    Education, Higher -- California -- Malibu
    Christian universities and colleges -- United States -- History
    Universities and colleges -- California -- History
    Universities and colleges -- California -- Malibu -- History