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Benjamin M. Baker, Jr., was born in Norfolk, Virginia. He received his B.S. in 1922 from the University of Virginia and his M.A. in 1925 from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar from 1922 to 1925. He earned his M.D. in 1927 from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. After spending four years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital as an intern and then resident, he joined the faculty of the School of Medicine in 1931. Baker served in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army during World War II and in 1945 acted as chief consultant in medicine for the U.S. Armed Forces in the Pacific area, leading a team that studied the use of atabrine as a malaria prophylactic.

Upon his return to Baltimore after the war, Baker became chairman of the Private Ward Committee at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was appointed professor of medicine in 1965. Baker studied coronary artery disease and pioneered the use of the ballistocardiogram in the diagnosis and evaluation of heart disease. He also helped to organize a long-term national study relating diet to heart disease, and in later years he directed research that resulted in new techniques for the early diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer. Baker received numerous honors throughout his career, including the Legion of Merit for his service during World War II and the Medical Alumni Service Award from the Johns Hopkins University in 1983. In recognition of the many years of service that he and his colleague Louis Hamman devoted to the general medicine clinic at Johns Hopkins, the facility was named in their honor in 1975.

Scope and Content

The Benjamin M. Baker, Jr., Collection spans his entire career at Johns Hopkins. It contains patient records, professional and personal correspondence, administrative records, and unpublished manuscripts, lectures and talks. The bulk of the collection consists of patient records from Baker’s private practice. The correspondence covers over 60 years and provides an overview of Baker’s life and career. Administrative records include planning documents and material concerning administration of the Clayton Fund.

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