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Augusta Baker Papers

Identifier: SCL-MS-2020.03.16
The papers of Augusta Baker consist of 8.75 cubic feet of materials detailing her life as a librarian spanning from the 1930s through the 1990s.

Series One covers biographical information about Baker including interviews with her, vitae, personal letters, and death announcements. Also included are biographical materials on other librarians who were personal friends of Baker.

Series Two is photographs that show her work from the 1930s to 1990s, conferences and meetings from the 1960s to 1990s (including some undated photos). Snapshots of her family and friends as well as professional photographs of Baker.

Series Three is correspondence from the early 1930s to the end of her life, as well as correspondence with the family following her death. Correspondence is primarily with professional groups with which she was involved and publishing companies. Additionally there is some correspondence with friends regarding awards she received.

Series Four is education that includes course syllabi and materials from her classes at Columbia University, Texas Women's Unveristy, University of Washington, University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of South Carolina. Also included are papers from her involvement with children's education and lectures given at various universities around the country.

Series Five consists of honors and awards Baker received from 1966 to 1993, as well as some undated awards. Among these are her Honorary Doctorate from St. John's University (1978) and Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of South Carolina (1986).

Series Six is published writings spanning early 1940s to 1980s. Some of these include Young Years (1977), One World in Children's Books, Storytelling: Art and Technique (1977), and Julius Lester's Tales of Uncle Remus, v.1 Retold by Julius Lester with Intro by August Baker.

Series Seven includes conferences and workshops from the 1940s to 1990s, with emphasis primarily in the 1980s. These conferences and workshops consist of both those that were hosted by as well as those attended by Augusta Baker.

Series Eight is a continuation of series seven focusing on lectures, addresses and speeches given by Augusta Baker and others.

Series Nine is news articles covering the 1920s to 1990s and undated materials. Most materials cover the 1970s and 1980s, at the peak of Baker's career. Also included are staff bulletins from the New York Public Library from 1943 to 1994 with a significant gap between 1970 and 1973.

Series Ten focuses on administrative files from universities for which Augusta Baker worked.

Series Eleven details national as well as international professional organizations in which Baker was involved. Among these are the American Library Association, Women's National Book Association, Inc., and International Board of Books for Young People, among others.

Series Twelve is journals and magazines dealing with children's books and materials. There are a significant numer of journals/magazines in the miscellaneous category including unnamed/undated materials as well as those that only have one article from a specific journal.

Series Thirteen include miscellaneous materials primarily of special interest to Baker such as black history, literature, storytelling and religion.


  • 1911 - 1998

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

All rights reside with creator. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact The South Carolinaiana Library.


8.75 Linear Feet

Biographical / Historical

Augusta Baker was born in 1911 in Baltimore, Maryland. Her education background includes attendance at the University of Pittsburgh from 1927 to 1929. Following this, she attended the New York State College for Teachers where she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1933 and a Library Science degree in 1934. She was a children's librarian for the New York Public Library from 1937 to 1953. She continued at the New York Public Library as a Storytelling Specialist. In addition, she was a storytelling instructor at Columbia University during the summers and the New School of Social Research. She was also a consultant and lecturer on children's literature and storytelling. Among her most notable accomplishments are first recipient of the Dutton-Macrae Award 'for advanced study in the field of library work with children and young people.' Other awards she received include the Clarence Day Award for leadership given to the world of children's books and she received an Honorary Doctorate from St. John's University. She was also the founder of the James Weldon Johnson Collection, a collection of children's books about Negro life. This collection is housed at the Countee Cullen Branch of the New York Public Library. She was a delegate to the Mid-Century White House Conference on Children and Youth. Some of the professional societies she was a member of include New York Folklore Society, New York Library Association and American Library Association. She was a book reviewer as well as an author. She reviewed books for many publications, some of which were Library Journal and Saturday Review. She authored books such as Books about Negro Life and Children, which is a bibliography as well as Golden Lynx (1960), Young Years (1977), and The Black Experience in Children's Books (1971), among others. She co-authored One World in Children's Books as well as Storytelling: Art and Technique (1977) and edited The Talking Tree (1955), a book of folktales. She also compiled a revised edition of Stories, a List of Stories to Tell and to Read Aloud.

Mrs. Baker retired in 1974, but continued her work as instructor at Texas Women's University School of Library Science and the University of South Carolina's School of Library and Information Science. She also gave speeches at international workshops and conferences. Augusta Baker died on February 22, 1998.

Repository Details

Part of the South Caroliniana Library Repository

910 Sumter St.
University of South Carolina
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-5747 (Fax)

James Edge
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