The real man

Ray Stannard Baker in front of the Jones Library Ray Stannard Baker at desk David Grayson's elm

Ray Stannard Baker was born in Michigan in 1870. He started his reporting career in Chicago before moving to New York City to work for McClure’s Magazine. In 1906 The American Magazine was founded by Baker, Ida Tarbell, and Lincoln Steffens. Baker was a muckraker, an investigative journalist, who wrote many articles about racism and labor unrest in America.

In 1906 the The American Magazine needed more articles to fill their pages and Baker agreed to write popular essays. To separate his more serious journalistic articles from the popular essays he adopted the pseudonym David Grayson.

In 1910 Baker moved to Amherst reflecting the Graysonian dream of the rural life. Baker supported the presidential candidacy of Woodrow Wilson and became close with President Wilson. He was the Director of the Press Bureau for the American delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. Later, Baker was selected as Wilson’s official biographer.

In 1930 Baker was elected to the Jones Library Board of Trustees and remained involved with the Library and Trustees for the rest of his life. He wrote Woodrow Wilson, Life and Letters and won the Pulitzer Prize for the Biography in 1940. He wrote most of the biography in his personal study on the third floor of the Jones Library. The desk on which he wrote the Wilson biography is housed in Special Collections at the Jones Library. He continued writing as Grayson through is life. He died in 1946 and donated his personal papers to the Jones Library.

To find out more about Ray Stannard Baker and David Grayson you can vist our Amherst and the Muses page focused on Baker or come to the Special Collections where we have all of his 'David Grayson' papers in our manuscript collection.

You can check out books written under the name David Grayson and those written under Baker's given name from the Jones Library.