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A. Craig Baird papers

Identifier: RG99.0180

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Scope and Contents

The A. Craig Baird papers are arranged in five series: Articles and Speeches, Correspondence, Speech Association of America (SAA), Subject files, and Books. The Articles and Speeches series is arranged alphabetically by title and documents many of Mr. Baird's public appearances. The Correspondence series (1927-1972) is arranged chronologically. The Speech Association of America series (1931-1956 bulk 1937-1956) is arranged alphabetically with a correspondence sub-series. Subject files are arranged alphabetically, with several sub-series arranged chronologically. The Books series lists titles.


  • Creation: 1914-1972


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Biographical / Historical

A. (Albert) Craig Baird was a recognized authority on speech and debate who taught in American colleges and universities continually for 60 years, including 45 at the University of Iowa. He was awarded the University's highest honor, its Distinguished Service Award, in 1974. The University also established the A. Craig Baird Distinguished Professorship in Communications Studies in his honor.

Mr. Baird was born in Vevay, Indiana, on October 20, 1883, and graduated from high school there. After working for a year, he enrolled at Wabash College, supporting himself and becoming a member of that institution's first intercollegiate debate team and of Phi Beta Kappa. After graduation in 1907, he studied at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and later Union Theological Seminary in New York from which he received a divinity degree magna cum laude in 1910. He also received a master's degree in English and rhetoric from Columbia University in 1912.

His teaching career began at Ohio Wesleyan and continued at Dartmouth before he went to Bates College in 1913. In 1923 he married Marion Peirce and they had one daughter. In 1925 the family moved to Iowa City, where Mr. Baird became Associate Professor of Speech (later Professor) at Iowa and headed the program in Rhetoric and Public Address. He also directed the inter-collegiate debate and discussion program, and from 1925 to 1948 was director of the Iowa High School Forensic League. During much of that time he was in charge of weekly discussion programs over University radio station WSUI. In 1952 and 1953 he served on the development committee of the Fund for Adult Education of the Ford Foundation.

Despite his official retirement in 1952, Professor Baird continued to teach full-time each fall at Iowa and full-time each spring at some other university until 1969. He also taught each summer for almost the same length of time. He wrote or edited over 30 books, some of which went through many editions, and was also the author of numerous articles. In addition to his own scholarly work, he directed more than 100 master's theses and about 50 doctoral dissertations.

A. Craig Baird died in Iowa City on March 18, 1979, at age 95.


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Language of Materials



University of Iowa professor of speech and communications for 45 years and the author or editor of over 30 books. Papers include articles, speeches and correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Department of Speech and Dramatic Art, in 1977 and 1978; Mrs. Craig in 1979

Related Materials

Edward C. Mabie papers (RG99.0188)

Iowa High School Forensic League Bulletin and the Oratorical Association records, both in the Records of the Dept. of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts (RG06.0038.001)

Baird, A. Craig. "Oral History Interview." University of Iowa Oral History Project, 18. 29 pp. 1976.

----. Representative American Speeches. New York, NY: H.W. Wilson Co., 1938- .

Cheshier, David, ed. On the Side of Truth: A Century of Intercollegiate Debate, Remembrances of A. Craig Baird. Iowa City: University of Iowa, A. Craig Baird Debate Forum, 1993. 181 pp., facsims., illus. Includes writings by LeRoy Cowperthwaite, Orville Hitchcock, and Helen E. Lavender.

Hitchcock, Orville A. "Albert Craig Baird." In American Public Address; Studies in Honor of Albert Craig Baird, edited by Loren Reid, pp. xi-xix. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1961.

Mitchell, Anne G. "A. Craig Baird, Editor and Teacher." Speech Teacher 18 (January 1969): 1-8, notes.

Mitchell, Anne Goyne. "The Rhetorical Theory of A. Craig Baird as Expressed in Representative American Speeches: 1937-1959." Ph.D. dissertation, Louisiana State University, 1968. 168 pp. Speech Monographs 36 (August 1969): 246. Dissertation Abstracts 29: 1613-A.

Peterson, Owen. "A. Craig Baird (1883-1979)." Southern Speech Communication Journal 47 (winter 1982): 130-134, notes.

Processing Information

The A. Craig Baird papers were re-processed in 2003 by Ashley DeGross and David McCartney. Guide posted to the Internet 2003; updated January 2008.

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Iowa Archives Repository

100 Main Library
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City IA 52242