A Guide to the

Louise Fontaine Baker Letter, 2004

SC 0065

Compiled by: Tiffany Cole, March 2017

 

Descriptive Summary

 

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Louise Fontaine Baker Letter, 2004

Collection No.: SC 0065
Creator: Louise Fontaine Baker

Extent: 1 letter folder; .06 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Louise Fontaine Baker Letter, 2004, is comprised of a five-page facsimiled account of Baker’s life including her time as a student during the 1920s at the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg.

 

Administrative Information

 

Access Restrictions: Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], [box #, folder #], Louise Fontaine Baker Letter, 2004, SC 0065, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: In February 2004, Louise Fontaine Baker sent a letter of her reminiscences of her life and of being a student at the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg to James Katzman, president of the JMU Alumni Association. It came by way of a Montpelier magazine reply envelope and was intercepted by Michelle Hite, Assistant Editor of Montpelier magazine. Hite sent a facsimile of Baker’s letter to Chris Bolgiano, Special Collections Librarian.
Processing Information: In order to streamline the process of applying collection numbers, Special Collections staff completed a large-scale renumbering campaign in the spring of 2017. This collection was previously cataloged as SU 2004-0904.

Bio/Historical Note:
Louise Fontaine Baker was born April 13, 1907 in Washington, DC to Dr. Maury Davidson Baker and Irene Dunn Baker. She attended the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg in 1926, though it is unclear for how many years she was a student. While a student, her permanent residence is listed as Richmond. Baker was a member of the 1926-1927 graduating class, having taken professional courses.

After one year of teaching first grade near Richmond, Baker went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts degree from William and Mary. She also obtained her Master of Arts degree from Columbia University. She was pivotal in organizing Richmond’s first Head Start program and assisted in summer teaching programs at the College of William and Mary, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, Penn State, and the summer Mexico program at Kent State University. Baker retired from Richmond’s Maury Elementary School. She was involved in several organizations including Pi Lambda Theta, the Woman’s Club of Richmond, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. She also traveled the world extensively, taking trips to China and Germany. Baker died March 28, 2011 at Westminster Canterbury in Richmond.

Scope and Content:
The Louise Fontaine Baker Letter, 2004, is comprised of a five-page facsimiled account of Baker’s life including her time as a student during the 1920s at the State Teachers College at Harrisonburg. In her account, Baker describes coming to campus to register: “My father accompanied me on the train to register for college. We passed a campus with stark grey stones (“Grey Stone hill” – in college song). I thought I was passing the Mental Institution in Staunton!” Of particular interest is Baker’s description of her roommates: “My first roommates proved to be disasters! One became pregnant and had to leave school and the next one developed TB – which required me to be fully examined.” Baker goes on to describe her teaching career, other universities she attended, and traveling.

Arrangement:
The letter is housed in one letter folder.

Bibliography:
Obituary for Louise Fontaine Baker, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 3, 2011.

Obituary for Louise Fontaine Baker, Legacy.com. Accessed March 1, 2017. http://www.legacy.com/Obituaries.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonId=150760446.

Program for the Eighteenth Annual Commencement Exercises, State Teachers College, June 8, 1927.

The Schoolma'am, 1926. Harrisonburg (Va.): State Teachers College.

Location of Originals:
The original letter was retained by Michelle Hite, Assistant Editor of Montpelier magazine.

Related Material: Louise Fontaine Baker, interviewed by Lisa Riley, 2005, SdArch 28-3, JMU Centennial Voices 2 Oral History Collection, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Contents:

Folder Title Box : Folder
Louise Fontaine Baker Letter, 2004 1:1