Born and died in Philadelphia. Practiced the profession of conveyancing and retired in 1860. Served as director of the Philadelphia school of design for women 1874 to 1887 and director of the Pennsylvania academy of fine arts 1876 to 1890.
Author of The Engraved Portraits of Washington With Notices of the Original and Brief Biographical Sketches of the Painters in 1880. Author of Medalic Portraits of Washington in 1885, reprinted in 1965.
bio: ApCAB; TCBDA
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"American Engravers and Their Works" by W.S. Baker, 1875.
Americans of the present era miss the veneration accorded to the Father of Our Country in former times. So numerous were these tributes that eventually order was in order, and Baker accepted the challenge, issuing not only this catalog of over six hundred Washington medals, but also three associated works dedicated to biographies, engraved portraits, and character sketches of the first President. Washingtonia was an early numismatic craze, fueled by the creation of the Washington Cabinet of medals inaugurated by the U.S. Mint in 1860. The Cabinet was noteworthy enough to inspire its own medal, Baker-326, which combined an adaptation of Houdon?s celebrated Washington bust with a rendering of the Cabinet display. America being America, public adulation piqued commercial interest, which did not shy from occassionally muling Washington with lesser subjects, ?a perversion of true medallic purposes? in Baker?s opinion, whose own work has endured and remains highly regarded. Voted #49 of the top one hundred numismatic literature items by the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.