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Raymond F. Baker papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 21/7/8

Scope and Content

The collections biographical materials, typescripts of talks and papers; professional correspondence with individuals including Murray Brawner, William L. Brown, Don Finley, Mario Gutierrez, Walter Hawkins, Stan Jensen, Bill/William Landgren, Fred Lehmann, J. Roy Quinby, Earl Thompson, Forest Troyer, Nelson Urban, Henry A. Wallace, James Wallace, and Robert Woods; professional correspondence with organizations, including American Seed Trade Association, Iowa Crop Improvement, Garst and Thomas, National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders, Seed Producers Advisory Service, Tagliabue Manufacturing Company, and United States Department of Agriculture; professional correspondence with foreign countries; and subject files.


  • Creation: 1924-2004, undated

Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Raymond F. Baker was born on February 21, 1906. He graduated from Iowa State College (University) with a B.S. (1935) in agronomy, but had started his career in 1926 after having met Pioneer Hi-Bred founder Henry A. Wallace at a corn day program at Iowa State. Fascinated by Wallace's work with corn hybrids, Baker temporarily left his studies at Iowa State and became Pioneer's second employee in 1928. He completed his Iowa State degree in 1935.

As Pioneer Hi-Bred's lead plant breeder for 43 years, Baker developed many of the company's first hybrid seed corns, including the first single-cross hybrid corn to be produced in volume. He is credited with establishing the scientific groundwork in the 1930s that helped Pioneer Hi-Bred become the world's largest seed corn company.

Baker served on the Pioneer board of directors from 1935 through 1985. He retired in 1971 as a corporate vice president and head of the corn research division, but continued to work in the company's plant breeding program.

In 1965, Baker was named a Fellow of both the American Society of Agronomy and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The American Society of Agronomy honored him as Outstanding Contributor to Science.

Baker was named National Chairman of the Iowa State University Achievement Fund in 1974, and was a lifetime member of the Iowa State University Memorial Union and a member of the Iowa State University Foundation Board of Governors. In 1991, Iowa State awarded Baker an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters -- the first honorary degree the university had awarded in more than 26 years.

Baker died in January 1999.


11.34 Linear Feet (27 document boxes)

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into five series:

Series 1, Biographical Materials, 1940-2004 (alphabetical)

Series 2, Professional Correspondence with Individuals, 1927-1966, undated (alphabetical)

Series 3, Professional Correspondence with Organizations, 1924-1966, undated (alphabetical)

Series 4, Professional Correspondence with Foreign Countries, 1933-1966 (alphabetical)

Series 5, Subject File, 1933-1967, undated (alphabetical)

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 21/7/8. Raymond F. Baker papers, 1924-2004, undated
March 6, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672