Skip to main content

Baker, Charles Reeder, 1880-1970



  • Existence: 1880 - 1970


Charles Reeder Baker was born on April 8, 1880, in Lansing, Illinois (25 miles south of Chicago), son of Francis Ransom Baker and Luanna Brown Huff Baker. Charles had at least one sister, Carrie. The family moved to Riverdale in 1883, and Francis Baker became a station agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad. After graduating from grammar school in 1894 Charles completed the business and stenography course at the Chicago Business College. He graduated from the Northwestern University Dental School in 1903.

While in grammar school Baker worked with his father after classes were over each day, and when he had finished at the Chicago Business College he worked full-time as a stenographer for several companies. After four years of this Baker, influenced by his dentist and friend George B. Macfarlane, Chief Demonstrator at the Northwestern University Dental School, decided to become a dentist. Prior to entering the Northwestern Dental School in the fall of 1900 Baker completed a year of high school at the Chicago Y.M.C.A. evening school.

After graduating from Dental School Baker began practice in Riverdale, near Chicago. In 1904 he was appointed Demonstrator at the Dental School and put in charge of the orthodontic cases at the School Clinic. The next year Baker moved his office to downtown Chicago and expanded his relationship with the University by becoming Editor of the Northwestern Dental Journal, a position he held until the Journal ceased five years later.

In 1908 Baker was promoted to Instructor in Orthodontics at the Dental School and moved his office to Evanston where it remained for the rest of his life. In Evanston Baker devoted much time to dental work for the poor, especially children, and he assisted the Junior League's endeavors in this area for many years. In 1909 Baker gave up general practice and limited his work to orthodontics. He also resigned from the Dental School.

Teaching was one of Baker's most successful activities, however, and he was soon back at Northwestern as Recitation Master in Orthodontics, then as a member of the Advisory Staff for the School's Children's Clinic, and finally, in 1925, as founder and head of the Orthodontics Department with the title of Assistant Professor. The following year he was promoted to Associate Professor and in 1927 was made Professor of Orthodontics.

Baker was active in several organizations. He became a member of the Delta Sigma Fraternity in 1900 and assisted its programs throughout his life. He served the Dental School Alumni Association in many ways (President, 1925), and worked for local societies (e.g., charter member, President in 1928, Evanston Association of Dentists; Chicago Dental Society, President in 1932) and for national associations (e.g., American Association of Orthodontists, President, 1932; Fellow, American College of Dentists). His continued interest in dental education was indicated by his six years of service as Secretary of the American Board of Orthodontics and his election as President of the Board for 1942.

Writing and speaking claimed much of Baker's time and effort. Thirty of his scientific papers were published and he also wrote on historical topics. He gave papers and clinics at many meetings and presented several talks over the radio on dental subjects for the lay public. He was, officially or unofficially, historian of several organizations. Baker also served in a variety of editorial capacities.

Baker received several honors. The American Association of Orthodontists and the American Board of Orthodontics presented their highest honor, the Albert H. Ketcham Memorial Award, to Baker in 1954 at the Association's fiftieth annual meeting. Northwestern's Alumni Association honored him with the Award of Merit in 1947.

On September 22, 1908, Baker married Frances Macklin. Two children were born of this marriage: Frank Macklin, October 22, 1909, and Margaret Elizabeth, June 27, 1911. Frank, who remained single, died September 24, 1950; Margaret married Michael Harrison. Charles Baker married a second time, on May 12, 1932, Stella Marguerite Olson. No children came from this marriage.

Charles Reeder Baker was a professionally-minded and historically-oriented practitioner and teacher of dentistry. His life and career favorably influenced many students and colleagues.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Charles Reeder Baker (1880-1970) Family Papers

Identifier: 55/3
Abstract Charles Reeder Baker graduated from the Northwestern University Dental School in 1903. His career combined private practice (chiefly orthodontics) and positions at Northwestern University; he became Professor of Orthodontics in 1927. The Charles Reeder Baker family papers consist of biographical information on Baker, correspondence between Baker and members of professional societies, corresopndence from his son, Frank M. Baker (chiefly while serving in the Army Medical Corps in the Pacific...
Dates: 1861-1970