James H. Baker collection  1861-1956 (bulk 1861-1863)
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The James H. Baker collection contains items related to his Civil War career in Company C of the First Regiment of United States Sharp Shooters. The collection includes photographs, ribbons, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook, among other items. A small, leather-bound Notebook lists members of Company C of Hiram Berdan's 1st United States Sharpshooters Regiment, including their dates of resignation or death. The book also contains a short history of the company and an extensive list of engagements at which the company was present. The notebook also includes a short note regarding the history of a "Stars and Bars" banner acquired by James H. Baker, with accompanying song lyrics. A short newspaper clipping entitled "Eli Perkins Gets a Good Story from Gen. Sherman" and a number of pressed leaves are also included among the notebook's contents.

Four Photographs include three Civil War-era portraits and as well as a later, black and white portrait. At least one of the older items is of James H. Baker.

The collection's 15 Ribbons include the following items:

  • Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters [Reunion] (1891)
  • Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters [Reunion] (1894)
  • The Governor's Guard of Memphis, Tenn. (1894)
  • "I Will March for Sound Money" (1896)
  • Large American flag, Berdan's U. S. Sharp Shooters [Reunion] (1896)
  • 17th Reunion Co. B. 2nd U. S. Sharp Shooters (1897)
  • 7th Annual Reunion Berdan's Sharp Shooters (1897)
  • 1st Michigan Sharp Shooters Association 25th reunion (1908)
  • U. S. Berdan S[harp] S[hooters] (1908, 3 items)
  • Small ribbon with American flag decoration (undated)
  • Large yellow ribbon reading, "Marshal" (undated)
  • Lansing Republicans (undated, 2 items)

Printed Items and Ephemera include the following items:

  • A card certifying Clarence O. Skinner's membership in the Civil War Book Club
  • A photograph of University of Michigan swimmer James Skinner, taken from Michigan: Champions of the West
  • Printed program from the "First Reunion of Co. K Berdan's Sharpshooters," 1889
  • Printed "Address of Comrade Judge Charles J. Buchanan" at a reunion of Berdan's Sharp-Shooters' Association, 1908

Newspapers and Clippings include an item describing the presentation of a ceremonial sword to James H. Baker, a photographic portrait of Baker printed just after his death, and a copy of the New York Herald from August 1, 1863.

Essays and Reminiscences include a rewritten copy of "Grandfather's Best Story of the War," detailing the involvement of a man nicknamed "California Joe" during the early years of the Civil War, and two copies of a typed biography of James H. Baker that focuses on his Civil War service.

A Scrapbook compiled in the 20th century contains a number of items related to James H. Baker's Civil War service. Items within the scrapbook include numerous letters written by Baker to his parents, wife, and sister, documents, and newspaper clippings. Many of the newspaper clippings date from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and detail reunions of Berdan's regiments. The scrapbook also encloses a copy of the Philadelphia Inquirer (September 26, 1861), and includes a photograph of Clarence O. Skinner taken in Ringen, Germany, in 1919.

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