Baker, James Addison, 1930-

Alternative names
Birth 1930-04-28

Biographical notes:

Epithet: Lieutenant-Colonel

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000677.0x0001bc

Epithet: of Add MS 32688

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000677.0x0001bd

James Addison Baker III (b. 1930) was Chief of Staff for President Ronald Reagan from 1981 to 1985; Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988; campaign chairman for George Bush's Presidential campaign in 1988; Secretary of State from 1989 to 1992; and Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to President George H. W. Bush from 1992 to 1993.

From the description of Baker, James Addison, 1930- (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10567958

James Baker was born son of James Baker on 1 January 1847. He was educated informally by his father, and spent his childhood travelling extensively throughout Europe, Russia, and Africa. Later in life, he made a special study of Bohemia, and was awarded the Great Silver Medal of Prague for his literary work in 1908. Also in 1908, he was made a Knight of the Imperial Order of Francis Joseph. He was honorary secretary of the British International Association of Journalists from 1906 until his death, and of the International Press Conference from 1911 until his death. He wrote regularly for a great number of magazines, and published prose, poetry, and non-fiction including lectures which he read to troops at the front during the Great War. He was married to Agnes Anne Hallett, with whom he had three sons and three daughters. His principal published works include Quiet War Scenes: Poems and Translations (1879), Pictures from Bohemia (1894), and The Gleaming Dawn (1896). He died in Clifton, Bristol, in 1920.

From the guide to the James Baker Collection, 1882-1918, (University of Bristol Information Services - Special Collections)

Taj Mahal, in concert at Northfield, Mass., ca.1973

My father, Lawrence (Larry), the youngest of two boys, was raised in Kensington, Conn., and graduated from Mount Hermon School in Gill, Mass., then Wesleyan U in Middleton, Conn. He had served in the Army Air Corp during World War II. By the early 60's, he had become divisional sales manager of a multinational corporation. Mom, Harriet (Happy), was born in Boston and raised in small towns between there and Worcester. She was a graduate of Northfield Seminary located in Northfield, Mass., and Bryant College, at the time located in Providence, R.I. Mom worked as a homemaker, then in insurance and as town librarian. I grew up in Berlin, Conn., the oldest of 3 boys. I graduated from Bryant College in 1969.

After college, I joined VISTA and served as one of two VISTA's in The Pruitt Igoe Housing Project in St. Louis, Mo. After VISTA, I moved back to Connecticut and worked briefly as an auditor for a small hotel chain. My girlfriend (Anne who I'd met in VISTA) worked as a nurse. While trying to figure out what to do with our lives, via two fellow college alums, we stumbled onto The Brotherhood of The Spirit commune in Warwick, Mass. At the time, we, along with multitudes of other "Baby Boomers," were looking for some kind of deeper meaning and purpose than the usual options we had experienced. During two visits, we met many of the commune members and the founder Michael Metelica and learned the commune was established on a combination of Judeo-Christian and Eastern "mystical" ideas that included the belief in reincarnation. At the time there were about 200 members most of whom seemed amazingly energized and focused on their collective possibilities, on personal growth and on making a significant contribution to the world.

When we joined in 1971, the group was located in Warwick, and was in the process of completing an approximately 100 ft. long by 40 foot wide, four story, dormitory. This was an impressive structure that included electricity, a central heating system, many private rooms, a central meeting hall and a silk screening studio located on the top floor. Another building housed a recording and practice studio for a rock band (Spirit In Flesh) which had just signed a major recording contract. Another building was a preexisting large home with several attached additions that included a large kitchen and dining hall, bathrooms, living quarters and an office. The members seemed not only dedicated to getting good things done but were grounded, self-aware and skilled as well. The people and all this creativity along with the spirituality grabbed our imaginations. After a prospective membership of several weeks and working on various crews, garden, logging, farm, etc., I got the idea to start a magazine focused on communal living and the ideology we were pursuing.

With the enthusiastic blessing of Michael the founder and with absolutely no experience, I began this new venture. I started by visiting an underground newspaper (I have forgotten its name) published in Amherst, Mass. The staff generously introduced me to light tables and showed me how lay outs were done. I contacted a few printers and learned more. From there, I started talking up the idea amongst other commune members and writing and gathering articles and art for the first issue. Another member (Jerry Hayden) volunteered to create an advertising sales team to pre-sell advertising and our magazine was launched. Since FSP, I have worked as a self-employed contractor, president of a non-profit media service, founder/president of a business telecommunications consulting company, and as a real estate investor. I am divorced, have a son, and live in south eastern New Hampshire with my significant other of 10 years, Annie C.

I was a member of the Brotherhood of the Spirit Commune from the summer of 1971 until the fall 1975. The commune, founded in 1968, was a collective of mostly young people from myriad backgrounds and experience who came there seeking some deeper meaning and clearer purpose to their lives. In my own attempt at that, from 1971-1973, I served as the editor and publisher of The Free Spirit Press Magazine . The magazine was founded by me and Jerry Hayden. I, along with artist Mark Fahrner, created the first two issues. Mark did most of the art and I wrote and edited the articles and laid out the magazine. Additional work was contributed by commune members Bill Grabin, Donna Oehmig, Donna Jagareski, Jackie Metelica, Randy Kleinrock and Chris Garland.

While I put together the first issue, Jerry organized the sales team that brought in the $250 we used as the down payment to publish it. Jerry left the commune shortly thereafter but in the 4th issue he re-appeared to interview a Vietnam veteran tank commander. That interview eventually resulted in one of our best articles.

The first issue of the FSP was 10,000 copies. The magazine was printed black and white on newsprint by Old Colony Press located in Auburn, Mass. The early articles were primarily oriented to the spiritual, self-help, and music. Dale Sluter organized the first issue sales team which included Alan and Jane Harris, Melvin Weiner, Mike McCarty, Jon Haber, Larry Raffel, and others.

The second issue printing was 20,000 copies in three-color, also printed by Old Colony. It included more of the above plus some politics and two super hero comic strips, one created by Afan Sitagly-Manor and the other by Steve Heimoff. The advertisers were primarily Pioneer Valley retailers ranging from Brattleboro, Vt., to Amherst and Northampton, Mass.

Both issues were distributed around New England from an old, blue painted, school bus. Donna Oehmig and Alan Harris painted a long brightly colored rainbow, roof to wheels, on both sides along with the magazine name. Commune members looking to spend the day in Boston, Amherst, Brattleboro, Worcester, Springfield, etc., signed on to travel and sell the magazine on streets, college campuses and shopping malls throughout the area. These were primarily day trips leaving early in the morning and returning late into the night. These trips included Mike Scanlon who quickly became our distribution manager responsible for organizing and managing the trips and keeping the bus running with the help of Toby Keyes who ran the commune garage.

The third issue was an ambitious undertaking, 30,000 issues. Julie Howard and Darlene Cobleigh moved to New York City and sold national advertising. They closed several deals. Also, an ad was created and sold to Frye Boots a Massachusetts based company with a national distribution. The Frye Boot ad was created by commune members Steve Heimoff and Marty Liebman with Bonnie Goldstein as the model. It appeared in the third issue of the magazine. When we turned it into a large poster, it became Frye's first national ad which they displayed in retail outlets across the country. The magazine body was produced on 20lb. newsprint and offset printed by the Brattleboro Reformer newspaper. The issue cover was process color on heavy stock. The cover was printed by Vermont Printing of Brattleboro, Vt. The Brattleboro Reformer shipped the printed body to VP who then bound each cover and magazine body. The staff of the magazine was growing too. Bill Grabin helped with business, Dan and Jenny Brown who continued to work as distributors also contributed their talents as artists. Marty Leibman who had opened Lumiere Studios worked as photographer. Sue Spica became our accountant and office manager. Bruce Geisler and Anne Baker (VISTA girlfriend who became my spouse) became associate editors. Mitch Seiser became our music editor. Bruce and Mitch also hit the road traveling the entire East Coast, from Maine to Georgia setting up contracts for newsstand distribution thru a wide network of established regional magazine and newspaper distributers.

We also continued the distribution from the school bus. This team, calling themselves Anaconda Distributors, as responsible as any for the success of the magazine, was comprised of Mike Scanlon, Bill Grabin, Steve Wilhelm, Charlie Ribokas, Gordan Adams, Dan and Jenny Brown, Richard Safft, David DeGraffenreid, Irene White, Peter Harris, Carol Evans, myself (sometimes) and others who traveled up and down the East coast, occasionally, for up to two weeks at a time. At night, they would stay in homes of people they met along the way. Meals were whatever could be scraped together either from supplies on the bus or thru the generosity of their hosts. Road expenses like lunch, gas and tolls, tires, etc. were paid from the proceeds of their magazine sales. Wherever we had a major distributor some of the crew would cold call a local radio station and grab some live air time to tell our story and promote the magazine. College stations were especially receptive.

In Massachusetts, Anne, Bruce, and I did television appearances in the Boston and Springfield markets. This expansion phase all occurred in 1972 and '73. Unfortunately, with the fourth issue we greatly over-estimated the number of sales we could expect from newsstands. Of the 50,000 copies printed, in total we sold about 35,000 copies combined, probably less than 5000 of those were newsstand sales. It was also a time of escalating political/bureaucratic battles going on within the commune. The founder and his key people were looking to take control of all creative endeavors. Several businesses went under, FSP being one of them.

Looking back, that period has long been one of the greatest of my life. I still feel blessed to have had the shared experience of working with all those incredibly talented and positive people many of whom I am still friends with to this day. I hope you enjoy this collection of photos.

From the guide to the James Baker Free Spirit Press Collection MS 834., 1969-2005, 1969-1974, (Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries)

James Addison Baker III was a central figure in the presidential administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Baker served as Reagan's White House Chief of Staff from 1980 to 1985 and Secretary of the Treasury from 1985 to 1988, and as Bush's Secretary of State from 1989-1992. Baker also led presidential campaigns for both Bush and Reagan, as well as Gerald Ford, over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992. Along with Bush, he was one of the few people to retain high level government positions for all twelve years of the Reagan-Bush era. Baker also served as a chief spokesman and led George W. Bush's legal team during the recount of votes in Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

From the description of James A. Baker III papers, 1957-2002 (bulk 1972-1992). (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 64451065


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