Baker Studies Program encourages study of the senator’s career and values
A former congressional and White House correspondent for The New York Times observed recently that throughout Senator Baker’s public career, the senator “reflected certain values—bipartisanship, a respect for the Congress as an institution, a sense of civility, and a belief in the value of compromise—values that are far less visible today in Washington than when he was there.”
Those values are at the heart of the Baker Studies Program’s mission, which is essentially twofold. First, the Baker Studies Program encourages and facilitates the maximum use of the Modern Political Archives housed at the Baker Center. These archives, which include the papers of Senator Baker and many of Tennessee’s most accomplished modern political leaders and jurists, are a significant and substantial resource for scholars, journalists, students, and others interested in regional and national history. For instance, the archives’ Oral History Program includes the transcripts of some 300 interviews of Senator Baker and numerous of his associates.
Second, the Baker Studies Program provides a unique forum for exploring the values that Senator Baker epitomized in his career in public service. Hopefully, public policy decision makers will be inspired by that career and will espouse those values that were Senator Baker’s hallmark.
Toward that end, the Baker Studies Program is sponsoring academic conferences on topics ranging from Senator Baker’s role in the Senate Watergate Committee’s investigation to the service rendered by Senator Baker as Senate minority and majority leader, President Richard Nixon’s overtures to Senator Baker as a possible successor to U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan, and Senator Baker’s tenure as White House Chief of Staff to President Ronald Reagan.
The director of the Baker Studies Program is Theodore Brown Jr., a University of Tennessee alumnus and a Vanderbilt Law School graduate who practiced law in Atlanta for 25 years before returning to Knoxville to begin his teaching career. Brown is a lecturer in the University of Tennessee’s Department of Political Science, where he teaches constitutional law, judicial process, and law in American society. He is also an adjunct professor of law in American legal history at the university’s College of Law. Brown is co-editor of Legal Papers of Andrew Jackson, published by the University of Tennessee Press, and is working on a book about the late Senator Estes Kefauver.