Scope and Content
Title: Looe Baker and Eliza Wardell Baker family papers
Inclusive Dates: 1700-1933
Bulk Dates: 1790-1901
Collection Number: mssBakerL
498 pieces in 10 boxes (9.3 linear feet)
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2191
Fax: (626) 449-3477
Abstract: An archive of the Baker family of New Jersey; consisting of family letters, manuscripts, legal documents, genealogical material,
photographs, letter book, two volumes, and ephemera.
Language of Material: The records are primarily in English
The collection has been fully processed and is available for research. The majority of the collection is in good condition
and may be copied; for any questions about the collection, please contact
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to
quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such
activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is
one, and obtaining permission rests with the researcher.
[Identification of Item], Looe Baker and Eliza Wardell Baker family papers, The Huntington
Library, San Marino, California.
Purchased from William Reese Company by the Library Collector's Council, January 19, 2008.
Looe Baker (1780-1854) was born into a New Jersey Quaker family; in 1801 he obtained a job as a commercial cotton trader
in Natchez, Mississippi Territory. In 1805 he married Eliza Baker nee Wardell (1781-1821), also from a New Jersey Quaker family;
together they had seven children though only two survived to adulthood. Eliza Wardell Baker was precocious and talented, a
voracious reader and published writer; she contributed essays to New Jersey newspapers, mostly under the pseudonym of “Jersey
Girl.” After Eliza Wardell Baker’s death from consumption in 1821, Looe Baker married Sarah Morris Kean (widow of Colonel
Peter Kean), and adopted her three children. Looe Baker died in 1854 and was buried in Morristown, New Jersey.
William Chapman Baker (1809-1901) was the son of Looe and Eliza Wardell Baker; during his lifetime he lived throughout
the United States, including Morristown, New Jersey, New Orleans, Louisiana, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Grand Rapids, Michigan.
W.C. Baker was a banker, a buyer of wholesale silk and a real estate investor. In 1842, he married Kate Stuart (1820-1853)
and together they had five children; after Kate Baker’s death, W.C. Baker married her sister Mary E. Turner (1814-1878), and
they had one child. During a trip to England W.C. Baker became interested in family history and thereafter collected a large
amount of genealogical material for the Baker and Stuart families. W.C. Baker died in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the age of
Scope and Content
The collection consists of correspondonce, manuscripts, volumes, family material and ephemera. The correspondence falls predominately
into two sections. The first section includes the letters between Looe and Eliza Wardell Baker, beginning with their friendship
in 1799, through their courtship and after their 1805 marriage when Looe was absent from home on long business trips. Their
loving correspondence covers family and domestic concerns, the cotton industry, and current events. The letters describe life
in Natchez, local and national politics, the New Madrid earthquakes, and the War of 1812. The second section, and the bulk
of the correspondence, concern William Chapman Baker; these letters include those dealing with his business interests, his
many children, siblings, cousins and other extended family members, and his genealogical research both in the United States
and England. The manuscripts include memoirs and diaries, poems, political and personal essays, a commonplace book and Eliza
Wardell Baker’s “Jersey Girl” columns. A large amount of the early letters and manuscripts have some damage, with loss of
text, but otherwise the material is in excellent condition.
The three volumes include: Discourse’s on the Death of Robert Stuart, Esquire (1848-1849) ; William Chapman Baker’s letter
book (1855-1868) ; Letters of Looe and Eliza Baker…Reminiscences and Sketch of the Family…(1924, March), this third volume
is a very rare and was compiled by Kate Stuart Lowry using the letters and other material in this collection. The three volumes
are somewhat fragile, with damaged spines.
The family material and ephemera include financial and legal documents, genealogical material for the Baker, Ferry, Stuart,
and White families, photographs and ephemera. The ephemera includes envelopes, printed material, newspaper clippings and early
New Jersey newspapers from 1821 and 1825.
The collection is arranged in the following series:
• Series 1: Correspondence and manuscripts (1799-1901)
• Series 2: Volumes (1848-1924)
• Series 3: Family material (1700-1933)
The material is arranged in chronological and alphabetical order within each series; more information can be found in the
series level notes.
Baker, Eliza Wardell, 1781-1821
Baker, William Chapman, 1809-1901
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Childbirth – United States – History – 19th century
Cotton trade – United States – History – 19th century
Death – United States – History – 19th century
Death – United States – History – 20th century
Diseases – United States – History – 19th century
Elections – United States – History – 19th century
Freedmen – United States
New Madrid Earthquakes, 1811-1812
Second Coalition, War of the, 1798-1801
Slavery – United States – History – 19th century
Society of Friends – New Jersey – History – 19th century
Spanish-American War, 1898
Tuberculosis – United States – History – 19th century
Yellow fever – United States – History – 19th century
United States – History – Civil War, 1861-1865
United States – History – War of 1812
United States – Politics and government – 19th century
Clippings (information artifacts)
Volumes (documents by form)