Russell Baker About the Participants
January 13-16, 2000

RUSSELL BAKER has this to say about himself: “Born in the age of Calvin Coolidge, I grew up during the Depression and learned to fly during World War Two. The G.I. Bill put me through Johns Hopkins. Graduated in 1947. I’d vaguely intended to be the next Hemingway, but found the nonfiction world I entered every night as a police reporter for the Sun in the slums of Baltimore was far more fascinating than anything my narrow-gauge imagination could conceive of, so spent the next 50 years with newspapers.

They’re right about newspapermen meeting such interesting people, and I met the usual assortment: murderers destined to hang, peers of England’s royal realm, famous Red hunters, Presidents and would-be Presidents, bail bondsmen, strip teasers, Secretaries of State, the Broadway theater crowd, Justices of the Supreme Court, His Holiness Pope John XXIII, and, to stop this catalog before it gets out of hand, the first man to drive on the New Jersey Turnpike. He took me along for the ride.

In 1962 the New York Times offered me a newspaper column, which I wrote for thirty-seven years. It was often called a humor column, but most of the time I meant it to be dead serious.

My wife and I have three children and four grandchildren. We’ve lived in Baltimore, London, Washington, New York, and Lessburg, Virginia.”

In 1979 Russell Baker won the George Polk Award for Commentary and the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Commentary. In 1983 he received the Pulitzer Prize for biography for Growing Up.

  • An American in Washington, 1961
  • No Cause for Panic, 1964
  • All Things Considered, 1965
  • Our Next President, 1968
  • Poor Russell’s Almanac, 1972
  • So This Is Depravity, 1980
  • Growing Up, 1982
  • The Rescue of Miss Vaskell, 1983
  • The Norton Book of Light Verse (editor), 1986
  • The Good Times, 1989
  • There’s A Country in My Cellar, 1990
  • Russell Baker’s Book of American Humor (editor), 1993