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Louis Baker papers

 Collection
Identifier: Mss 1136

Collection Overview

The collection consists primarily of materials relating to the life and career of Louis Baker, president of the Charleston meat packing plant M. Baker and Sons. Photographs feature images of Louis and the M. Baker and Sons plant, as well as one family portrait of Morris and Rebecca Baker with their children Sophie, Louis, Julie, and Sarah. Also included are certificates from Louis Baker's involvement in several organizations, such as the National Independent Meat Packers Association, the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (renamed Shriners International), and the Scottish Rite of the Freemasons. There are also financial records from his position as treasurer of Beth Israel Synagogue (which later merged with Brith Sholom and became Brith Sholom Beth Israel Synagogue), a small amount of correspondence, and printed materials including synagogue programs and newspaper clippings, including advertisements for M. Baker and Sons, marriage announcements, and obituaries.

Dates

  • circa 1917-1968, 2007

Creator

Language of Material

Materials in English and Russian

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Copyright Notice

The nature of the College of Charleston's archival holdings means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. Special Collections claims only physical ownership of most archival materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Biographical Note

Louis Baker (1909-1955) was born to Rebecca Logan (1888-1958) and Morris Baker (1879-1952). In 1914, he immigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings to join his father, who had arrived in the United States in 1909. The family settled in Charleston, South Carolina, where Morris Baker began buying and selling livestock, eventually establishing his own meat packing plant, M. Baker and Sons. The Bakers became members of Beth Israel, a congregation established in 1911 largely by immigrants from eastern Europe.

Louis Baker joined his father at M. Baker and Sons in the late 1930s. A pioneer in Charleston County's beef cattle industry, Louis became a founding member of the Charleston County Livestock Growers Association and served as president of the South Carolina Meat Packers Association. He bought a large farm on Johns Island to raise cattle, which he sold wholesale from a packing plant in North Charleston. In 1940, he married Pearl Cohen (1912-2014) and the couple had four children, Barry Baker, Stanley Baker, Sharon Baker, and Sandra Baker. By 1944, the Bakers had opened a butcher shop at 556 King Street in Charleston. The store sold non-kosher meats from a counter up front and kosher meat from behind a partition, later becoming an exclusively kosher market.

In 1947, Louis and his wife, Pearl Cohen Baker, were among the founders of Charleston's new Conservative congregation, Emanu-El, though they continued to be active in Beth Israel as well. Additionally, Louis was a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (today known as Shriners International), and was a 32nd degree Mason. He died in 1955 at the age of forty-five from a damaged heart valve caused by having rheumatic fever as a child. Shortly after his death, M. Baker and Sons suffered significant fire damage and closed in 1957.

Extent

0.5 linear feet (1 slim document box, 1 oversize folder)

Abstract

Photographs, correspondence, and other papers of Louis Baker, president of M. Baker and Sons meat packing plant and founding member of the Charleston County Livestock Growers Association. Materials include photographs of Louis Baker and the M. Baker and Sons plant; certificates from Louis's involvement in the National Independent Meat Packers Association, the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (renamed Shriners International), and the Scottish Rite of the Freemasons; financial records from his position as treasurer of Beth Israel Synagogue in Charleston, South Carolina, correspondence, and printed materials including synagogue programs and newspaper clippings. Also includes recordings of his sons' Bar Mitzvah's at Congregation Emanu-El in Charleston.

Collection Arrangement

Materials are described at the folder level.

Acquisitions Information

Materials donated in 2011 and 2012 by Barry Baker.

Related Material

Related materials in Special Collections includes an oral history with Pearl Cohen Baker (Mss 1035-360).

Processing Information

Processed by Amy Lazarus, October 2015.

Creator

Source

Title
Inventory of the Louis Baker Papers, circa 1917-1968, 2007
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by: Amy Lazarus; machine-readable finding aid created by: Amy Lazarus
Date
2015
Description rules
DACS
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Special Collections
College of Charleston Libraries
66 George Street
Charleston South Carolina 29424
(843) 953-8016
(843) 953-6319 (Fax)