Contents and Arrangement Expanded View

Collection Overview

Baker, James Addison (1930-)
James A. Baker III Papers
Public Policy Papers
Permanent URL:
1957-2011 (mostly 1972-1992)
340 boxes and 4 items
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-340


James A. Baker III served in senior government positions under three United States Presidents and was a central figure in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush in the 1980s and early 1990s. Baker also led presidential campaigns for Presidents Gerald Ford, Reagan and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992. The papers document nearly every stage of Baker's career, including his work on presidential campaigns, his time as White House Chief of Staff for both Reagan and Bush, and his terms as Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan and Secretary of State under Bush.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The James A. Baker III Papers document nearly every aspect of Baker's long career in politics and public service, including his time as White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Treasury under President Ronald Reagan, his term as Secretary of State under George H.W. Bush, and his work leading the presidential campaigns of Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush. Little documentation of Baker's time as Chief of Staff to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993 is present in the papers.

The collection includes a variety of correspondence, memos, handwritten notes, speech transcripts, video and audio tapes, and other material related to Baker's positions in government and on political campaigns. The collection also includes material documenting Baker's legal career and early political efforts, including a substantial amount of correspondence with future President George H.W. Bush, written between Baker and Bush in the 1960s and 1970s. Substantial documentation of the 1978 Texas Attorney General Campaign, the only time Baker ran for political office himself, also exists.

Please see individual series descriptions for detailed information about the scope of each series.

Collection Creator Biography:


The Leadership Documentary Project was created by PS Productions, a five-person multi-media production company that included Executive Producer Andrew M. Ling, Producer and Director Townley Patton, and PS Communication's director Phil Schwenk. In addition to the existing PS Production team, Mark Higbie was hired as Associate Producer and Coordinator, David Paton as the writer, and Jose A. Salgado as a videographer.

The documentary was the company's first major production and had the approval of James A. Baker III, a close friend of Townley Paton's father, David Paton '52.

Collection History


The collection was donated by James A. Baker III in 2002 . Additional accessions were donated in October 2004 , February 2011 and August 2011 .

Custodial History

The Baker Papers were housed at the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, at Rice University until December 2002. Material donated in October 2004 was previously kept at the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and Baker Botts law firm in Houston.


Accruals may occur at a later date.


Duplicates, material of little evidential or information value, and strictly personal documents have been returned to Secretary Baker. A large volume of newspaper clippings from major American newspapers have also been returned.

The February 2011 accession originally included four additional series, which were subsequently separated.

A series of board membership records spanned Baker's pre- and post-Washington career (additionally, some files from his work on the boards of regional organizations during the 1960's and '70s were interspersed throughout his personal financial records). Board participation during his post-Washington career includes work with St. Luke's hospital, Rice University, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University of Bremen, Electronic Data Systems, Radiant Energy Corporation, and King Ranch. These records encompassed twenty linear feet, were non-unique, and of extremely limited research value.

A series called soft costs documented accounting within Baker Botts of how to expense Baker's political work using Baker Botts resources was also removed from the collection. The series of two boxes consisted of spreadsheets of phone logs and billing codes, and no material regarding the substance of Baker's political work.

A series of campaign contributions from Baker's 1978 Attorney General campaign included two boxes of index cards of campaign contributors' contact information.

Finally, the "Income Tax Records" series is the only surviving part of what was once a series of personal financial records, spanning the 1960s through the beginning of the Reagan administration, which included cancelled checks, financial statements from investments, receipts, tax returns, trust statements, documentation from family legal issues and statements from charitable organizations. Because these records included personally identifiable information and were of limited research value, the vast majority were separated from the collection, although Baker's tax returns were retained.


These papers were processed with the generous support of David M. Rubenstein.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Daniel A. Santamaria and Joanna Peery Polyn in 2004, and updated in 2011 by Maureen Callahan. Finding aid written by Daniel A. Santamaria in 2004 and updated in 2011.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research use, with the following exceptions:

Interview transcripts in Series 12: The Politics of Diplomacy are closed unless permission, specific to each transcript, is granted by Secretary Baker as well as the person who gave the interview. Please contact the library for additional details. Audio cassette tapes of the same interviews in Series 14: Audiovisual Materials are also restricted; audio interviews related to The Politics of Diplomacy are closed unless permission, specific to each interview, is granted by Secretary Baker as well as the person who gave the interview.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

The audiovisual series includes videotapes on VHS and various other formats.

Credit this material:

James A. Baker III Papers; Public Policy Papers, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library
65 Olden Street
Princeton, NJ 08540, USA
(609) 258-6345
Storage Note:
  • Mudd Manuscript Library (scamudd): Box 1-340

Find More

Existence and Location of Copies

Microfilm of the collection will be available at the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, at Rice University.

Related Materials

Collections of related material are available at the presidential libraries of Presidents Ford, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. The Reagan library includes a collection of Baker's White House files (BAKER, JAMES A. III: Files, 1981-1985). The library also has a number of collections related to Baker's assistants, including James Cicconi, Richard Darman, Frank Hodsoll, and Margaret Tutwiler, which contain a large amount of material documenting his work.

The Baker Institute for Public Policy maintains a collection of memorabilia, political cartoons, and select documents, as well as a large number of photographs. Many photographs of Baker may also be found in Official White House photograph collections available through the Reagan and Bush Libraries.

Researchers may also wish to contact the National Archives and Records Administration, as well as the Office of the Historian at the Department of State.


The following works were consulted during preparation of the biographical note: Baker, James A. III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989-1992. New York: George G. Putnam & Sons, 1995. Newhouse, John, "Profiles: The Tactician," [James A. Baker III], The New Yorker, 7 May 1990, pp/ 50-82.

Subject Terms:
Finance, Public--United States.
German reunification question (1949-1990).
Legislation--United States.
Nuclear disarmament.
Persian Gulf War, 1991.
Political campaigns--United States--20th century.
Political candidates--United States.
Presidential candidates.
Presidents--United States--Election--1972.
Presidents--United States--Election--1976.
Presidents--United States--Election--1980.
Presidents--United States--Election--1984.
Presidents--United States--Election--1988.
Presidents--United States--Election--1992.
Presidents--United States--Election--1996.
Presidents--United States--Election--2000.
Presidents--United States--Staff.
Presidents--United States--Transition periods.
Statesmen--United States--Biography.
Statesmen--United States--Correspondence.
Tax reform.
World politics--1945-1989.
World politics--1989-
Genre Terms:
Born digital.
Sound recordings.
United States. Department of State
United States. Department of the Treasury
United States. President (1974-1977 : Ford)
United States. President (1981-1989 : Reagan)
United States. President (1989-1993 : Bush)
United States. White House Office
United States. White House Office. Office of Legislative Affairs
Middle East Peace Conference (1991 : Madrid, Spain)
Princeton University
Baker, James Addison (1930-)
Bush, George W. (George Walker), 1946-
Bush, George, 1924-2018.
Carter, Jimmy, 1924-
Darman, Richard Gordon, 1943-2008
Dole, Robert J., 1923-
Ford, Gerald R., 1913-2006.
Hodsoll, Francis Samuel Monaise
Meese, Edwin
Moore, Preston, 1931-
Nixon, Richard M. Richard Milhous 1913-1994
Reagan, Nancy, 1921-2016
Reagan, Ronald
Rove, Karl
Scowcroft, Brent
Tower, John G. (John Goodwin), 1925-1991
Texas--Politics and government--20th century.
United States--Foreign policy--1981-
United States--Foreign relations--1981-1993.
United States--Foreign relations--Soviet Union--20th century.
United States--Foreign relations--Middle East.
United States--Politics and government--1981-1989.
United States--Politics and government--1989-1993.