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Finding Aid

Papers of A. Craig Baird
RG 99.0180
Collection Dates: 1914-1972
12.5 ft.

Access and Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

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Acquisition and 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.

Photographs: None









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.

Biographical Note

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..

Related Materials

Edward C. Mabie Papers (RG 99.0188)

Iowa High School Forensic League Bulletin and the Oratorical Association records, both in the Records of the Dept. of Communication Studies and Theatre Arts (RG 06.38)

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.

Box Contents List

Box 1

Series I: Articles and speeches

American Foreign Policy: An Interpretation

Analysis and Evidence in Communication

At a speech dinner, Michigan State College

Broadcasting Problems

Chauncey Goodrich: As a Philosophical Critic of Speakers. Central States Convention…

Chauncey Goodrich: As a Philosophical Critic of Speakers. Southern Illinois University…

The College Debater and the Red China Issue

The College Debater: 1954-1955

The College Debater: 1955

The Critic as Philosopher

Debate and Discussion in Post War Service to Democracy

Debate and Discussion in Post War Service to Democracy - Gavel…

Debate and Discussion in Post War Service to Democracy - The Debaters Magazine

The Debate Director as Educator

The Debater: His Political and Moral Responsibilities

The Debater: His Secret Weapons

Debating and General Education

Dedication of the Lincoln Depository…

Dedication of the University Library

Discussion and Debate as School and College Activities - University of Iowa

Discussion and Debate as School and College Activities - Wisconsin

Discussion and Debate in the Space Age

Discussion and Social Action

Discussion and the “New” Logic

Discussion in Wartime

The Educational Philosophy of the Teacher of Speech

General Education and the Course in Argumentation - Gavel…

General Education and the Course in Argumentation - S.A.A. convention

General Education and the Course in Argumentation - University of Washington…

Goals of the Liberal Arts College

Higher Education in a Mass Society

In Defense of Good Talk

Logos, Ethos and Communicative Behavior

Methodology in the Criticism of Public Address

Lester Thonssen Methodology in the Criticism of Public Address

The Minister as Public Speaker

The Nature of Rhetorical Criticism

The Original Oration

The Original Oration: Secondary School Oration as a Speech Activity

The Place of Speech in Education in the Humanities

Box 2

Problems in Public Speaking

Political Obligations of the Scholar

Political Speaking in 1952: A Symposium

Political Speaking Today and Yesterday

Relationships of Rhetoric

Reorganization of the Speech Program

The Responsibilities of Free Communication

Responsibilities of Free Communication: The Quality of our Political Discourse

Rhetoric and Literature

Rhetoric and Logical Communication

Rhetoric: Its Boundaries and Applications

Rhetoric and Politics

Rhetorical Criticism

The Role of Discussion and Debate in College Education

The Scholar and the “Alienated Generation” Phi Beta Kappa…Southern Illinois University

The Scholar and the “Alienated Generation” Vital Speeches

The Scholar and the “Big Change”

The Scholar in the Space Age

Some Problems of Speech Responsibilities

Specialized Speech Training vs. Broad Background

Speech and the Age of Mass Communication State of Washington Speech Association…

Speech and the Age of Mass Communication University of Washington

Speech and the Democratic Process…

Speaking in a World of Words

Speech and Mass Civilization

Speech and the “New” Philosophies

Speech Models and Liberal Education

The Speech Teacher and the “Big Change”. Phi Beta Kappa…

The Speech Teacher and the “Big Change”.  University of Missouri.

Symposium for Peace: “Let’s Discuss It”

The Speech Critic: An Approach to His Philosophy

Speeches and Ghost Writing

Trends and Areas of Investigation in British Public Areas

What is Right and Wrong with American Preaching at Mid Century?

What Makes a Good Teacher of Speech?

What Should be the Characteristics of a Successful School or College Debater in 1941-42

Box 3

Series II: Correspondence



1932 and undated [1931 or 1932]

Bates College, 1932-1935

1933 and undated [1933]


1935 and undated [1935]

Box 4

1936 and undated [1936]

January-May, 1937

June-December, 1937 and undated [1937]

January-March, 1938

August-December, 1938 and undated [1937 or 1938, and 1938]

Box 5

January-April, 1939

May-August, 1939

September-December, 1939 and undated [1939 and 193[?]

January-April, 1940

May-August, 1940

September-December, 1940 and Undated [1940]

Box 6

January-April, 1941

May-September, 1941

October-December, 1941 and undated [1939-41, and 1941]

January-April, 1942

October-December, 1942 and undated [1942]

Box 7


January-August, 1944

September-December, 1944

January-June, 1945

July-December, 1945

Box 8

January-March, 1946

April-June, 1946

July-August, 1946

September-December, 1946 and undated [1946]

January-March, 1947

April-June, 1947

July-December, 1947 and undated [1946 or 1947]

Box 9

January-June, 1948

July-December, 1948 and undated [1948]

January-April, 1949

May-December, 1949 and undated [1948-49, 1949 and 194[?]

January-July, 1950

Box 10

August-December, 1950 and undated [1950]

January-March, 1951

April-May, 1951

June-August, 1951

September-December, 1951 and undated [1951]

January-March, 1952

Box 11

April-May, 1952

June-August, 1952

September-December, 1952 and undated [1952]

1953-1954 and undated [1953 and 1954]

January-July, 1955

Box 12

August-December, 1955 and undated [1954 and 1955]


1966 and undated [1966]

January-June, 1967

July-December, 1967 and undated [1967]

1968 and undated [1968]

1969 and undated [1969]


Box 13

Series III: Speech Association of America (SAA)

College Debate Question, 1946

Committee on Case Studies in American Public Address, 1948-1952

Committee on Contemporary Public Address, 1942, 1946-1956

Committee on Discussion, 1947-1950

Committee on Finance, 1946-1948

Committee on the History of Speech Education, 1948-1949

Committee on Nominations, 1949-1951

Committee on Research in History and Rhetorical Criticisms, 1935, 1946-1947

Box 14

Committee on the History of American Public Address, 1945-1951

Committee on the Role of Speech in Liberal Education, 1951-1952

Committees and Reports, 1940-1955

Conference, 1944

Conference, 1949-Report of Representative American Speakers

Constitution (NATS),1944-1945

Conventions, 1946-1948

Correspondence (NATS), 1937-1939

---- 1940

---- 1941

---- 1942-1944

---- 1945

Box 15

Correspondence, 1946-1947

---- 1948-1949

---- 1950-1951

---- 1952-1956

Debate Program, 1950 Convention

International Debate, 1931, 1937 and 1946

International Debate, 1947-1948

Box 16

Series IV: Subject files

Alexander Hamilton Bicentennial Commission, American Students Constitutional Convention, 1957

American Forensic Association-Correspondence, 1948-1956

Annual Conference of Teachers of Speech, October 1930


Debater’s Magazine-Correspondence, 1946-1951

Debate-Correspondence, 1930-1931

Delta Sigma Rho-Correspondence, 1927-1948

---- Correspondence, 1950-1956

---- The Gavel (March, 1944 and May, 1950)

Box 17

Delta Sigma Rho - Initiation Ceremonies

---- Local Constitution, News and Members’ Activities

---- National History and Constitution

---- National Student Congresses, 1938-1951 (incomplete)

Discussion: Principles and Types-Correspondence, 1943-1944

Forensic Budgets-Iowa and other Universities

Inter-Collegiate Debate, 1927-1938

International Debate-Correspondence, 1947-1952

International Debates at Iowa, 1924-1950

Iowa Speech Association-Correspondence, 1927

McGraw Hill Communication Series-correspondence, 1954-1956

McGraw Hill Communication Series-Film outlines and shooting scripts, 1955-56

Box 18

McGraw Hill Publications-Correspondence, 1944-1953

---- 1954-1956

National Society for the Study of Communication-correspondence, 1950-1951

Office of War Information-correspondence, 1942-1943

Oxford-Iowa Debate, November 7, 1947

Ph.D. Dissertation Deposits-correspondence, 1950


Quarterly Journal of Speech-Correspondence, 1927-1930

---- 1949-1951

---- January-July, 1952

---- August-November, 1952

Representative American Speeches, 1950-51, 1951-52, 1952-53, and 1953-54-correspondence

Box 19

Speech Criticism-Correspondence, 1945-1949

---- Notes and flyer

Student Publications, Inc., 1941-1948

Studies in Honor of A. Craig Baird-Planning, 1948

U.S. Office of Education-Civilian Information and Training Service, 1942-1943

---- Civilian Information and Training Service-Faculty Speakers Bureau, 1942-1944

University of California-Iowa Debate, January 13, 1927

University of Iowa-College of Liberal Arts-Correspondence, 1946-1950

University of Iowa-Library-Correspondence, 1949-1952

University of Iowa-Library Committee-Correspondence, 1948-1952 and undated

University of Iowa-Speech Department-Correspondence, 1926-1944

---- 1945-1949

Box 20

University of Iowa-Speech Department-Correspondence, 1950-1956

University of Mississippi-Correspondence, 1954-1955

Veterans Service Office, 1946-1951

The Wabash

War Correspondence-1942-1943 and undated (1943)

---- 1944 and undated (1943 or 1944)

---- 1945-1946

Box 21

Series V: Books

References and Problems - The Teaching of Creative Speaking (including discussion)

References and Problems - The Teaching of Public Speaking and Discussion

Speech Criticism