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Baker, Rawalt, and Hoffman Family papers

Identifier: Ax 007

Scope and Contents

The collection contains records of the Baker, Rawalt, and Hoffman family that include diaries, correspondence, photographs, negatives, and business records of Walter Baker.

Family correspondence consists of about 2,000 incoming and outgoing letters by various members of the Rawalt, Baker, and Hoffman families, from 1864-1962. Included here are letters written by John Rawalt, Jr (Ida Rawalt Baker's father) when he was stationed with Company "I" 51st regiment, Illinois State Volunteers, 2nd Division, 4th corps, in the civil war. Most of the correspondence from 1904-1908 is between Ida Baker and her son Walter while he was an engineering student at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University).

Ida Baker had a very active association with the Church of the New Jerusalem (also known as The American New Church) and the collection contains files of correspondence and publications from the group (1920s).

There are diaries by four people: Jonas C. Rawalt (Brother of Ida Rawalt Baker), 1879-1883; Ida Baker, 1883; Walter Baker, 1897-1959;, and William Baker, 1926-1953. The diaries tell of family relationships and everyday activities in Rolfe, Iowa, and the Salem, Oregon vicinity. The four diaries of Jonas C. Rawalt were written while he was a student at Urbana University, Ohio, and as a schoolteacher in Montgomery County, Iowa, and Fulton County, Illinois.

The business and personal papers of Walter R. Baker contain information about his employment with several independent telephone companies and correspondence with individual customers, as well as his annual reports. Baker was a member of the Bethel School District and the Oregon Farmers Union and his papers contain correspondence and reports regarding his association and business with those groups.

The collection also contains 118 photographic prints and 97 negatives, showing family and friends and scenes from Corvallis, Albany, and Newport. The amateur images date from circa 1905-1907 and are believed to be taken by Walter R. Baker; the original negative wrappers have extensive technical notes and have been kept for research use. Some of the portraits are from the 19th century.


  • 1864-1959


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time. Glass plate negatives and lantern slides are restricted due to the fragility of the format. All decisions regarding use will be at the discretion of the curator for visual materials.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The Baker family moved to the Salem, Oregon area from Iowa, where they had been farmers, during the 1890s. Walter H. Baker (1883-1962) and his wife Ida S. Baker (nee Rewalt) continued to farm in Oregon and Walter H. Baker also became an electrical engineer. The Bakers had three sons, William A., Walter R., and Paul. A sister of Ida Baker, Mary Hoffman (nee Rewalt), also moved to Salem with her husband William and son Harlan.


8 linear feet (11 containers) : 4 record storage boxes, 7 photo boxes

Language of Materials



The Baker family, consisting of Walter H. Baker, his wife Ida S. Baker (nee Rawalt) and their three sons, William A., Walter R., and Paul, as well as Ida Baker's sister, Mary Hoffman (nee Rawalt), her husband William and their son Harlan, all moved to the Salem, Oregon area in the 1890s. The collection contains records of the Baker, Rawalt, and Hoffman family that include diaries, correspondence, photographs, negatives, and business records of Walter Baker.


Material within this collection may have little to no intellectual or physical arrangement. Any arrangement may have derived from the records' creators or custodians. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the Baker, Rawalt, and Hoffman Family papers
Complete Description
University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Tanya Parlet
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA