Richard A. Baker
Robert Byrd (left) with Richard A. Baker
|Born||March 18, 1940|
|Education||University of Massachusetts Amherst|
|Alma mater||Columbia University|
|Institutions||United States Senate|
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Richard Allan Baker (born March 18, 1940) was the first Historian of the United States Senate, serving through August 2009. He directed the United States Senate Historical Office from the time of its creation in 1975.
He wrote a weekly column on Senate history for a Washington newspaper (The Hill) and is the co-author (with Neil MacNeil) of the D.B. Hardeman Prize-winning The American Senate: An Insider's History, published in 2013, a history of Senate rules and customs.
Baker graduated in 1962 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and received master's degrees from Columbia University in 1968 and Michigan State University in 1965. He also obtained a Ph.D. in history from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1982.
Beginning in 1997, at the request of Senate Democratic Leader Thomas Daschle, Baker routinely opened the weekly luncheon meetings of the Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate with a brief historical anecdote or minute. These short essays were wide-ranging in topic and highlight recurring themes in the Senate's institutional development. In 2009, at the time of Baker's retirement, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell initiated a similar program for his party's members. Both Democratic and Republican programs are currently active, relying on presentations by the Senate's Historian and Associate Historian.
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