Symposium to examine life and legacy of civic leader Newton D. Baker

The community is invited for a day of lectures and discussion with faculty experts to examine and celebrate the life and times of civic activist Newton D. Baker, addressing his impact on the intellectual and political life of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

The symposium is Sunday, April 19, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., at Case Western Reserve University’s Tinkham Veale University Center. The cost is $45. For more information and to register, visit

Baker was mayor of Cleveland in 1912-16 and law director and point person for Cleveland Mayor Tom L. Johnson in 1903-12. He was named Secretary of War by President Woodrow Wilson just before the United States entered World War I and served through the war.

Baker was a strong advocate for the League of Nations, civic debate, adult education and, according to Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the “outstanding lawyer of his generation.”

The symposium will feature five lectures on various aspects of Baker’s life and civic activism. The lecturers include:

  • Richard Baznik, director of the Institute for the Study of the University in Society and university historian at Case Western Reserve;
  • John Grabowski, associate professor in applied history at Case Western Reserve University and historian and senior vice president for research and publications at the Western Reserve Historical Society;
  • Kenneth Ledford, a social historian of modern Germany from 1789 to the present and associate professor of history and law at Case Western Reserve;
  • Marian Morton, professor emerita at John Carroll University with expertise in Cleveland-area history; and
  • Tom Suddes, assistant professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.

This event is co-sponsored by CWRU Siegel Lifelong Learning, the City Club of Cleveland, and the Cleveland Council on World Affairs, Teaching Cleveland Digital and the League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland.