Author Kate Sayen Kirkland will discuss her new book, “The Legacy of Capt. James A. Baker,” at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Thursday, Sept. 20. The book explores the archival records of James A. Baker and his family, firm and contemporaries. Published as part of Rice University’s Centennial Celebration, it weaves together the history of Houston and the story of one of its most influential citizens.
On Sept. 23, 1900, Baker, a Houston lawyer, banker and businessman, received an alarming telegram: His elderly millionaire client, William Marsh Rice, had died unexpectedly. Baker ultimately unraveled a plot to murder Rice and plunder his estate. Baker saved his deceased client’s fortune and championed his wishes by establishing the Rice Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art — today’s internationally acclaimed Rice University.
Baker and his partners transformed their law practice into Houston’s first nationally recognized law firm, which today is known globally as Baker Botts LLP. Baker chartered several Houston businesses and utility companies, developed two major regional banks, promoted real estate projects and instilled in his descendants a commitment to civic life. His grandson, James A. Baker III, served as the nation’s 61st secretary of state and 67th secretary of the treasury and became honorary chair of Rice University’s Baker Institute.
To view the complete event information, visit http://bakerinstitute.org/events/captain-james-a.-baker-understanding-one-of-houston2019s-most-influential-citizens-and-his-role-in-the-founding-of-rice-university.