Newton Diehl Baker

NEWTON DIEHL BAKER was born in Martinsburg, West Virginia, on 3 December 1871; was educated at Johns Hopkins University, 1888–1892; received a law degree from Washington and Lee University, 1894; entered into practice at Martinsburg, 1894; was secretary to Postmaster General W. L. Wilson, 1896–1897; joined the law firm of Martin G. Foran in Cleveland, Ohio; was assistant director of Cleveland’s law department; married Elizabeth Leopold, 1902; was city solicitor of Cleveland, 1902–1912; was mayor of Cleveland, 1912–1916; served as Secretary of War, 9 March 1916–4 March 1921; issued orders for General Pershing’s Punitive Expedition into Mexico, 1916; administered the World War I conscription act; chaired the Council of National Defense; adhered rigidly to a policy of professional command free from political intrusion; formalized the "G" sections of the General Staff under the Chief of Staff, refining a concept begun by Secretary Root into a workable pattern that was maintained up to World War II; returned to the private practice of law with the firm of Baker, Hostetler, Sidlo, and Patterson; was appointed a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, 1928; was a member of the Law Enforcement Commission, 1929; was president of the American Judicature Society and president of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation; died in Cleveland, Ohio, on 25 December 1937.

The Artist

Edmund Hodgson Smart (1873–1942) was born at Ainwick, England. He studied art at the Antwerp Academy in Belgium, at the Académie Julien in Paris, and under Sir Hubert von Herkomer in England. He traveled widely and painted portraits in a number of countries before settling in the United States in 1916. Among his principal portraits are those of England’s King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, American President Warren G. Harding, and three World War I military figures—Marshal Foch, General Pershing, and Admiral Sims. Smart painted Secretary Baker from life in Cleveland in the year Baker left office.


Portrait, Newton Diehl Baker

Wilson Administration
By Edmund Hodgson Smart
Oil on canvas, 53˝" x 34˝", 1921


page created 6 March 2001

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