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Melvin H. Baker papers

 Collection — Box: 1-15
Identifier: MS-0001

This collection details the history and development of the National Gypsum Company as seen by its founder and Chief Executive, Melvin H. Baker. It is mainly comprised of Baker's speech typescripts, business and personal correspondence, and records. Correspondence contains letters with Robert F. Kennedy, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, and Nelson Rockefeller, among many other distinguished individuals and organizations.

Included are volumes of Baker's privately published book, "My Second Forty Years," and typescripts of Donald R. Rizzo's 1965 book, "The Future Begins at Forty: The Story of the National Gypsum Company in Commemoration of its 40th Anniversary."


  • 1922-1967


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Melvin H. Baker Papers, 1922-1967, are open for research.


Copyright is held by the State University of New York at Buffalo, University Archives. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the University Archives before publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.


6.05 Linear Feet (15 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box)


Collection of materials from Melvin Houston Baker, Chief Executive of National Gypsum Company. Includes speeches, personal and business correspondence, and his privately published book, "My Second Forty Years." In 1957 Baker was awarded the Chancellor's Award, the highest award given by the University at Buffalo.

Biographical Note

Born in 1885 to humble beginnings in Sevierville, Tennesee, Melvin H. Baker would become a pioneer of industry. As one of the founders of the Buffalo-based National Gypsum Company, Baker served as Chief Executive Officer for 37 years, from 1928 until his retirement in 1965. National Gypsum is a supplier of building and construction materials.

Active in charitable and social organizations, Baker held directorships in 9 major business organizations and 10 civic groups, including the Buffalo Area Chamber of Commerce and the American Cancer Crusade. Holding 5 honorary university degrees, Baker established the Melvin H. Baker professorship in American Enterprise at UB's School of Management. He also received a citation for "Industrial Pioneering" in 1951 from the University at Buffalo, and was awarded the Chancellor's Medal in 1957.

After his retirement, Baker continued to serve on National Gypsum's Board of Directors until 1974, whereby he acted as a consultant until his death in 1976 at the age of 90.


This collection is arranged in five series: I. My Second Forty Years, II. Speeches, III. Correspondence, IV. National Gypsum Company, V. Personal.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of the Melvin H. Baker Papers, 1922-1967 were donated to the University Archives by Melvin Baker on November 4, 1966. Subsequent volumes of his book, "My Second Forty Years" were accessioned between 1967 and 1979. Additionally, a typescript of "The Future Begins at Forty: The Story of the National Gypsum Company in Commemoration of its 40th Anniversary" was received October 6, 1978.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff, circa 1966.
Finding Aid for the Melvin H. Baker papers
Finding aid prepared by Archives staff.
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)