Skip to main content

Marvel L. Baker, Animal Science Papers

Identifier: RG-08-09-10

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the papers of Marvel L. Baker and includes his own writings, articles on Baker, and photographs. Included in his writings is an autobiography, titled One Goosenest Wasp (Notes to his Grandchildren).


  • Creation: 1931-1977


Conditions Governing Access

The papers are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with the University of Nebraska. Copyrights are retained by the creators of the papers/records or their designees. For permission to reproduce or to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections. 

Biographical / Historical

Born on 3 January 1895, Marvel Leon Baker grew up on a farm in Pleasant Grove Township, Coles County, Illinois. He lived in Coles County until 1917, though between 1908 and 1920 his family lived in Wharton County, Texas. He attended high school in El Campo, Texas, and in Mattoon, Illinois, and graduated in 1913.

Baker attended Eastern Illinois State College in Charleston, Illinois, for one year. He enlisted in the U. S. Army in 1917 and served in Europe with the 33rd Division, 130th Infantry and with the 5th Division, 61st Infantry. He was discharged on 20 June 1919 with the rank of Second Lieutenant of Infantry. After his discharge, Baker married Florence Clyde Wortham on 30 June 1919. They moved to western Kansas where they ranched for two years.

In 1921, Baker began attending classes at Kansas State College. He graduated in 1924 with both a bachelor and master's degree in science. Baker moved with his family to Nebraska where he got a job as an assistant in animal husbandry at the University of Nebraska School of Agriculture in Curtis, Nebraska. He remained in the position until 1928 when he went to work as a cashier for the Security State Bank in Curtis.

Baker returned to the University of Nebraska in 1930 to work at the North Platte Experiment Station, where he focused on animal husbandry and assisted in the development of the North Central Regional Swine Breeding Project. In 1941, he moved to Lincoln and became Professor of Animal Husbandry. In 1946, Baker became the assistant director of the Agricultural Experiment Station, and from 1948 to 1955 he served as the associate director. During his term as associate director, Kansas State College awarded Baker an honorary doctorate of science for outstanding service to agriculture.

From 1955 to 1957 Baker served as Dean of the University of Nebraska Group at the University of Ankara in Turkey: In 1954, a contract signed between the University of Nebraska and the International Cooperation Administration (ICA), a government agency designed to strengthen international relations, had called upon the University to work with the Colleges of Agriculture and Veterinary Science at the University of Ankara to assist in strengthening Ankara's teaching and research programs.

Upon Baker's return to Nebraska, he was named Assistant Dean of the College of Agriculture. In 1958, he became director of the University Self-Survey by appointment of the Board of Regents. This institutional self-survey was designed to evaluate the educational plans and programs at the University of Nebraska and determine if these programs were meeting the educational needs of the state. Baker returned to Turkey in 1960 where he served another two years as Dean of the University of Nebraska Group.

Baker retired in 1963 and was named Professor Emeritus of Animal Science. He continued to do consulting work with the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), the successor to the International Cooperation Administration. Between 1963 and 1964, he visited agricultural universities throughout India, making observations during his visits. In a 1964 report, Baker summarized his recommendations to the U. S. Agency for International Development regarding developing agricultural research centers in India. Baker participated in numerous professional organizations and agricultural honor societies including the American Society of Animal Production, the American Association of University Professors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Sigma Xi, Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Alpha Zeta.

Baker received numerous honors and awards during his lifetime, including the Gamma Sigma Delta Award of Merit and, in 1963, the KMMJ Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award provided by the Grand Island, Nebraska, radio station. He received the 1964 Nebraska Range Management Award from the American Society of Range Management and became a member of the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement in 1968. On 7 March 1969 the animal science building on UNL's East Campus was named Marvel L. Baker Hall in honor of Baker's contributions to animal science.

Marvel L. Baker died in Lincoln, Nebraska, on 20 April 1977 at the age of 82.


0.4 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Repository

Archives & Special Collections
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries
P.O. Box 884100
Lincoln NE 68588-4100 United States