Ivan F. Baker papers, 1923-19711923-1971
Ivan Franklin Baker (1887-1976) was as Vice President and Treasurer of the Westinghouse Electric International Company. Baker was born in 1887 in Cedar Rapids, Nebraska. He joined the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company as an apprentice engineer in 1909 after graduating from the University of Nebraska. In 1919 he was sent to Japan as Far Eastern Manager, where he survived the Kanto (Tokyo) Earthquake of 1923. During this time he assisted in the organization of the Mitsubishi Electric Company. Baker returned to the U.S. briefly in 1927 and was then appointed European Sales Manager, where he served until 1938. He played a leading role in Westinghouse's program of overseas postwar recovery, finally retiring as Vice President and Treasurer of the Westinghouse Electric International Company in 1952. Baker took a strong interest in foreign affairs and in 1950 urged the equivalent of the Marshall Plan for East Asia. He continued to work as a consultant and official of trade missions through the 1950s. He died at Westfield, New Jersey, on June 29, 1976.
Scope and Contents
The Ivan F. Baker papers describe his overseas work with Westinghouse and his postwar activities promoting economic development and international trade. There are numerous engineering reports, memoranda, handbooks for trade fairs, conference proceedings, tear sheets, Westinghouse corporate publications, and Baker’s speeches and writings. The materials are arranged chronologically. Some items are in Japanese, Indonesian, and Spanish.
Among the few items on pre-war Japan are booklets and letters describing the Kant (Tokyo) Earthquake of 1923, articles on the Japanese electrical industry, and the text of a 1940 speech by M. Wakabayashi of the Mitsubishi Electric Company to the Tokyo English Speaking Society describing his impressions of the U.S.
The bulk of the papers deal with postwar reconstruction and the economic aspects of the Cold War. Notable items include a diary of A. L. Nadai describing a tour of Moscow and Leningrad when attending the 220th anniversary of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1945; a Westinghouse plan for Brazil (1945); the proceedings of the first international meeting of the Westinghouse Treasury Dept. (1946); a report on Baker’s trip to India (1948); a history of Westinghouse International’s war activities; a transcript of a written message of Emperor Hirohito with translator’s notes by the journalist Compton Pakenham, a pre-war friend of the Emperor’s, urging a modification of occupation policies (1950); and a Westinghouse International sales manual (1952).
Files and reports on trade fairs and conferences include the India-America Conference (1949); the Colgate University Conferences on American Foreign Policy; the Tokyo International Trade Fair (1955); and the Indonesian International Fair (1955). Other organizations represented are the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Council on Japan, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
Other items of note include an illustrated brochure of the Imperial Hotel at Tokyo (Teikoku Hoteru); a large promotional book by Ercole Marelli & C., an electrical manufacturing company of Milan, for which Baker was U.S. representative; an anti-American article by Yoshio Tsujimoto from the Bungei Shunju (1955); and the proceedings of a 1955 arbitration between Saudi Arabia and the Arabian American Oil Company over a rival oil tanker concession granted to Aristotle Onassis.
2 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.