Image of Ray Stannard Baker


Lifetime: 1870 - 1946 Passed: ≈ 77 years ago


Journalist, Biographer, Historian


United States

Ray Stannard Baker

Ray Stannard Baker (also known by his pen name David Grayson) was an American journalist, historian, biographer, and author.

Baker was born in Lansing, Michigan. After graduating from the Michigan State Agricultural College (now Michigan State University), he attended law school at the University of Michigan in 1891 before launching his career as a journalist in 1892 with the Chicago News-Record, where he covered the Pullman Strike and Coxey's Army in 1894.

In 1896, Ray Stannard Baker married Jessie Beal. They had four children: Alice Beal, James Stannard , Roger Denio , and Rachel Moore .

In 1898 Baker joined the staff of McClure's, a pioneer muckraking magazine, and quickly rose to prominence along with Lincoln Steffens and Ida Tarbell. He also dabbled in fiction, writing children's stories for the magazine Youth's Companion and a nine-volume series of stories about rural living in America, the first of which was titled Adventures in Contentment  under his pseudonym David Grayson, which reached millions of readers worldwide.

In 1912 Baker published The Friendly Road, an account of the places he visited and people he met while on a walking tour of the United States. In that year's presidential election Baker supported the presidential candidacy of Woodrow Wilson, which led to a close relationship between the two men, and in 1918 Wilson sent Baker to Europe to study the war situation. He was in connection with the future president of Czechoslovak Republic Thomas Garrigue Masaryk in America yet, from May 1918. During peace negotiations, Baker served as Wilson's press secretary at Versailles. He eventually published 15 volumes about Wilson and internationalism, including the six-volume The Public Papers of Woodrow Wilson with William Edward Dodd, and the 8-volume Woodrow Wilson: Life and Letters , the last two volumes of which won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography in 1940. He served as an adviser on Darryl F. Zanuck's 1944 film Wilson.

Baker wrote two autobiographies, Native American and American Chronicle .

Baker died of a heart attack in Amherst, Massachusetts, and is buried there in Wildwood Cemetery. Buildings have been named in honor of both Ray Stannard Baker and David Grayson. A dormitory, Grayson Hall, is at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The David Grayson Elementary School is in Waterford, Michigan. An academic building, Baker Hall, is at Michigan State University. A trail in Amherst has also been named for Baker.

Baker's brother Hugh Potter Baker was the president of Massachusetts State College, which later became the University of Massachusetts.

Books by Ray Stannard Baker

Following the Color Line  Cover image

Following the Color Line

Non-Fiction Science
Power Culture Struggle America Civil War Anthropology Democracy United States Rural

We are presented both rural and urban points of view, struggles for survival, varying district relationships, the effect of lynching, power struggles, and political repercussions, among many other topics.