Papers (1943-1958) of a professor of Geography at East Carolina University, including correspondence, military service records, clippings, historical accounts, photographic prints, postcards, scrapbooks, maps, and printed materials especially relating to his World War II service as a Technician Fifth Grade, in Company B, 361st Engineer Special Service Regiment in Arizona, California, France, The Philippines and Japan.
Simon Baker was born in Revere, Massachusetts on August 3, 1924. He served during World War II in Arizona, California, France, The Philippines and Japan as a Technician Fifth Grade in Company B, 361st Engineer Special Service Regiment. Baker received an honorable discharge in 1946. In 1949 he enlisted in the United States National Guard of Arizona with the Heavy Tank Company, 158th Infantry G. Baker was given his second honorable discharge (as a corporal) from the United States Army in 1953. That same year, he married Rosalie Kenner of London, England. Baker also received a master's degree in agronomy from the University of Arizona. In 1956, while a candidate for the doctor of philosophy in geography at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, Baker received a grant from the National Research Council to study planned agricultural development in the dry zone of Ceylon (known as Sri Lanka since 1972) under the Colombo Plan. Given this opportunity, Baker and his wife Rosalie decided to visit several other countries in Europe and Asia. Their trip lasted from August 1956 until July 1958. From August 1978 until January 1995 Baker served as a professor in the Geography Department at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina.
The collection consists of correspondence, military service records, clippings, historical accounts, photographic prints, postcards, scrapbooks, maps and printed materials. The collection is arranged in three series: military service, scrapbooks, and printed materials.
The military service series includes photographs taken by Baker during and after World War II in Arizona, California, France, The Philippines and Japan. Subjects covered include local residents in Normandy and Angeles (Luzon, Phillipine Islands), desert maneuvers in California and Arizona, local residents, rock crushers and a cannon factory in Itami, Japan, local scenes in Osaka, Japan, The V-E Parade and Mickey Rooney in France, a convoy of military ships in route between The Phillipines and Japan. Photographs of the ruins of Manilia following the United States invasion can also be found. Also in this series are photocopies of Baker's honorable discharge papers, the newsletter Wireless containing early reports of Japan's surrender in World War II and four postcard books featuring views of Mourmelon, France and the adjacent military base where Baker was stationed.
Contained in the scrapbooks series is a scrapbook documenting a trip to several countries in Europe and Asia taken during 1956-1958 by Baker and his wife. This trip included visits to England, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, India, China, Japan, Vietnam and The Phillipines. Also mentioned are the ships the couple traveled on, including the SS MAIPURA, SS LAOS and SS PIONEER MILLS. Materials in the scrapbook include maps, photographs, postage stamps, sketches, clippings, guidebooks and other ephemera. Many of the photographs feature historic sites and local residents. Specific locations include London, Amsterdam, Aden Colony (Arabia), The Island of Mahe in the Seychelles, Kathmandu, Singapore, Manila, Saigon, New Delhi (includes scenes of Prime Minister Nehru's birthday celebration), Tokyo, Hong Kong, Nepal and The Panama Canal. Also well documented is Colombo (Ceylon), the city where Baker resided while working on his study of planned agricultural development. Highlights at Colombo include The Buddha Jayanti Year 1957 (2500th year since the birth of Buddha), The Yala Game Sancturary, various tea estates, Colombo Zoo and the Hindu Festival. Other Colombo subjects present are the YWCA where the Bakers resided and a BSA motorcycle bought by the couple for transportation.
The printed materials series consists of Baker's correspondence and medical reports relating to his planned study in Ceylon, pages from National Geographic magazine that document locations that Baker visited while in Nepal, Baker's account of his visit to Tokyo and Hong Kong, several Chinese postcards and maps of Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Colombo Fort and Environs.
Gift of Dr. Simon Baker
Encoded by Jonathan Dembo, September 05, 2008
Processed by Meagan Vizard April 2010 Dale Sauter 2010
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.