Biography of Newton D. Baker

Newton Diehl Baker (1871-1937), was born on December 3, 1871, in Martinsburg, West Virginia, the second of four sons of Newton Diehl and Mary Ann (Dukehart) Baker. Baker entered Johns Hopkins University in 1888 and graduated from there in 1892. That same year, Baker went to Washington and Lee University where he obtained a law degree in 1894. From 1894 to 1896 Baker practiced law in Martinsburg. In 1896 he was summoned to Washington to serve as secretary to William L. Wilson, Postmaster-General in Cleveland's cabinet. When the Democrats left office the next year Baker went to Europe for a brief vacation. On his return voyage he met Martin A. Foran who invited him to practice law with his firm in Cleveland.

Baker accepted his offer and became a law clerk in Foran's firm until 1901 when he took the post as the assistant director of the city's law department. He became the city solicitor, a post he held until 1911. He was married to Elizabeth Leopold (ca. 1873-1951) in 1902. In 1911 he ran successfully for mayor and held that post until January I., 1916. After leaving office Baker had intended to practice law privately but his plans were altered on March 6, 1916, when President Wilson called him to Washington to be his Secretary of War. Baker served in this capacity until the end of Wilson's term. In 1921, Baker returned to practice law in Cleveland with his firm of Baker, Hostetler, Sidlo and Patterson. Baker died on December 25, 1937, and was survived by his wife and three children, Elizabeth B., Newton Diehl III, and Margaret B. Baker.


click here to view the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History entry for Newton D. Baker