James Addison Baker portrait
AuthorScott, Vera Prasilova, 1899-1996
This photograph of Capt. James A. Baker is part of the Vera Prasilova Scott portraiture collection. Scott was a studio photographer and the wife of a Rice faculty member. She took portraits of many prominent Houstonians in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Baker practiced law in Houston, where he eventually headed Baker, Botts, Andrews, and Wharton, a 100-year-old law firm (later to be known as Baker Botts). After the Commercial National Bank, which he organized, merged with South Texas National Bank, he became chairman of the board. He was founder and board member of the Houston Gas Company, organizer and first president of the Guardian Trust Company, and one of the organizers of the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railway and the Southwestern Drug Company. Baker was also president of the Houston Bar Association and a member of the Philosophical Society of Texas and the Presbyterian Church. He won special renown as the personal attorney of William Marsh Rice in the litigation concerning Rice's will, which left Rice Institute a trust fund. Baker, as an executor of the will, was instrumental in proving that Rice had been murdered and that a second will, leaving the bulk of Rice's estate to Albert Patrick, was forged. He then became the first chairman of the board of trustees for the institute and served in that capacity until his death. Baker died in Houston on August 2, 1941, and was buried there in Glenwood Cemetery. (excerpted from Handbook of Texas Online, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/BB/fba28.html, accessed April 9, 2007)