Russel Baker

Born August 14,1925 in Morrissonville VA. Grew up in the rural area of morrissonville.

Early life

Russel Baker grew up in poverty and had to frequently move from house to house. His father (Benjamin Baker) died from untreated diabetes when he was five leaving him, his mother and his two sisters. After the death of Russels father, Russels mother took him and his sister to new jersey there he went to Belleville elementary school.He was offered  a scholar ship to Jonhs Hopkins university but he left after one year to join the Navy Air force during World War 2. the war ended before he seen combat so he returned and son graduated from Johns Hopkins University and began working for Baltimore sun as a journalist.(1947- 54)


As above Russel Baker started his Career as soon as he got out of college. He worked for the Baltimore sun as their London bureau chief.for one year .He returned to america in 1954 and became the Washington bureau chief for the New York Times. He left the Washington bureau chief position in 1962 and began to write Observer column still within the New York Times. The column appeared three times a week for more than three decades, making it one of the longest running columns ever. He won the Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary for his "Observer" column in 1979.  

Life after the Pulitzer Prize

Russel married a woman named Miriam in 1950, they had 3 children. He then moved back to Virginia and settled in Leesburg. There he started to write a series of books and publish them. In 1982 Baker's autobiography Growing Up was published and the first chapters deal with his boyhood in the mountains of rural Virginia.Two additional volumes of autobiography, The Good Times (1989) and Looking Back (2002), followed.He also wrote a children's book and a play, and frequently contributed to leading magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post,Life,Look, and the New York Times Magazine. Baker compiled the best-selling volumes The Norton Book of Light Verse and Russell Baker's Book of American Humor a collection of humorous literary pieces from two hundred years of American writing. He is also a noted book reviewer and literary critic. Baker also hosted the PBS series Masterpiece Theater from 1993 until  2004.

Major Works

  • Washington: City on the Potomac (1958)
  • An American in Washington (1961)
  • No Cause for Panic (1964)
  • Baker's Dozen (1964)
  • All Things Considered (1965)
  • Our Next President: The Incredible Story of What Happened in the 1968 Elections (1968)
  • Poor Russell's Almanac (1972)
  • The Upside-Down Man (1977)
  • So This Is Depravity (1980)
  • Growing Up (1982)
  • The Rescue of Miss Yaskell and Other Pipe Dreams (1983)
  • The Good Times (1989)
  • The Norton Book of Light Verse (editor, 1986)
  • There's a Country in My Cellar (1990)
  • Russell Baker's Book of American Humor (editor, 1993)
  • Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir (with William Zinsser, 1995)
  • Looking Back (2002)


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