Meyers
Baker


 

MEYERS BAKER was born in August of 1896 to Oscar and Mary Baker, Jewish immigrants from what is now Poland. His father was in the dry goods business. The family lived at 834 South 4th Street in South Camden when the Census was taken in June of 1900. Besides Meyers, the family included older brother Louis and two younger children, Max and Sarah. By 1910 the family had moved to 419 North 3rd Street.

Meyers Baker most likely attended public school in Camden. It is reported that he studied medicine for a time at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, but by the fall of 1918 he had gone into the real estate business, where he would make his fortune and his mark in the annals of Camden. He saw some military service during World War I, was discharged due to a knee injury, and was later an active member of the Corporal Raymond C. Thoirs Post of the American Legion.

The 1920 Census shows Meyers Baker was still single and living with his parents at 419 North 3rd Street. Successful in his real estate business, he married Florence Goldberg in the early 1920s and by 1924 the couple had moved to 1518 Wildwood Avenue in Camden's Parkside neighborhood. The Bakers stayed in Parkside for a few years, taking up temporary residence at the Hotel Walt Whitman before moving to what became their permanent home at 4752 Browning Road in Pennsauken. Meyers Baker's place of business as early as 1915 through the early 1960s was 227 Federal Street, also known, appropriately enough, as the Meyers Baker building. This building was designed for Meyers Baker by architects Joseph N. Hettel and Benjamin Lackey, whose firm, Lackey & Hettel Inc., designed many public buildings in Camden and its environs in the 1920s and 1930s.

Meyers Baker was one of the organizers and first secretary of the Camden Real Estate Board. He was also active in the effort that raised the money necessary to build Camden's community-owned (for a time) Hotel Walt Whitman in the early 1920s.

Florence Baker was very active in local and state politics and was a Republican State Committeewoman in the late 1930s. She attended the Republican Party's national conventions as a either a delegate or as an alternate in 1936, 1944, and 1948. She served as Vice-Chairwoman of the New Jersey  Republican Party for many years and rose to Assistant Secretary of State for New Jersey in the administration of Governor Alfred E. Driscoll. Wendell Wilkie asked her to give the nominating speech for potential Vice-Presidential candidate Walter E. Edge at Republican National Convention in 1944. Edge had serve (and would later serve again) as the Governor of the State of New Jersey.

The Bakers were not blessed with any children. Meyers Baker passed away in the early 1960s, survived by his wife Florence, who joined him in February of 1985.


Meyers Baker Building
227
Federal Street

Camden NJ

Philadelphia Inquirer - March 14, 1915
Federal Street - Stanley Montgomery - William F. Kay - George Tomlinson - Elmer Angeroth
Meyers Baker - Cooper Hospital

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 1, 1918

Albert L. Cornog - Charles Ellis - John Golden
Hugh Boyle - Howard Smith - James Clay - Charles Laib
Jefferson Kay - Edmund Pike - Robert Abbott
George M. Beringer - Meyers Baker

CAMDEN COUNTY IN THE GREAT WAR

City Farm Gardens

Another weapon to defeat the enemy was the establishment of City Farm Gardens in the country. They were urged by the Government and not only provided food for city residents, but abolished unsightly vacant lots. Mayor Ellis named the first City Gardens Committee on April 19, 1917, as follows: E. G. C. Bleakly, Judge Frank T. Lloyd, Zed H. Copp, William Derham, L. E. Farnham, B. M. Hedrick, David Jester, O. B. Kern, M. F. Middleton, Dr. H. L. Rose, Asa L. Roberts, W. D. Sayrs, Jr., Charles A. Wolverton, Earl T. Jackson, H. R. Kuehner, Herbert N. Moffett and Hubert H. Pfeil. At the initial meeting of the above date B. M. Hedrick was elected chairman; Zed H. Copp secretary and M. F. Middleton treasurer. Brandin W. Wright, a farming expert, was employed as general superintendent on May 3, 1917. At a meeting on May 18, 1918, the names of Frank Sheridan and Daniel P. McConnell were added to the publicity committee in the place of 
Messrs. Pfeil and Jackson. 

In his annual report to City Council on January 1, 1918, Mayor Ellis urged the appointment of a committee by City Council on City Gardens and Councilman Frederick Von Neida was named as chairman. This committee with a committee of representative citizens met in the City Hall in February, 19 18, to organize for the ensuing summer. The members of the Councilmanic committee were: Frederick Von Neida, Frank S. Van Hart, William J. Kelly and John J. Robinson.

The committee planned an exposition of farm garden products for the fall of 1918, but this plan was frustrated by the Spanish influenza epidemic. 

The war gardens became victory gardens in the year 1919 when the committee met on January 29, 1919. Meyers Baker was elected secretary and William D. Sayrs, Jr., treasurer. At the meeting on March 25 committees were appointed for the Victory War Gardens 
Exposition held in Third Regiment Armory from September 15 to 20. Benjamin Abrams was elected general manager and Frank Sheridan publicity agent.


Camden Courier-Post - January 25, 1928

American Legion Card Party Dated For Friday in Hotel

Tables will be placed for bridge, five-hundred and pinochle at the card party which Corporal Raymond C. Thoirs Post of the American Legion will give in the ballroom of the Hotel Walt Whitman on Friday evening.

Playing will begin at half after eight o’clock. Walter Garland, chairman of the card party committee, has announced.

The card party is one of the post’s main events of the year. The auxiliary is co-operating and it is expected that several hundred persons will attend.

Members of the committee in charge of the affair are Paul Engle, Russell Keen, George Seybold, LeGrande Roberts, Herbert Blizzard, Whitcomb Wright, Albert Smith, William Miller, Raymond Van Horn,
Meyers Baker and Albert Wehner.


Camden Courier-Post - January 25, 1928

Tags to Be Sold in City, Suburbs to Aid Hospital

Members of the Woman’s Board to the West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital have gathered their forces and are in readiness for their annual Tag Day tomorrow.

The assistance of all the city and suburban auxiliaries as well as the aid of the Camden City Firemen have been enlisted. The city and suburbs will be covered by the various groups selling the small cardboards while food and flower sales will be conducted at various points. In Camden, the City Auxiliary will conduct a food sale at 407 Broadway, and the board members under the direction of Mrs. Charles Lacy will hold another at 540 Federal street.

General arrangements for Tag Day are under the direction of Mrs. William B. Scott, president of the Women’s Board. The members of the board include: Mrs. Harvey Cannon, Mrs. John Danenhower, Mrs. William Clifton, Mrs. Benjamin Wrobleski, Mrs. Ruth Blessing, Mrs. Isadore Green, Mrs. Meyers Baker. Mrs. Lee Griscom, Mrs. George Woodward, Mrs. Joseph Kobus, Mrs. James J. Scott, Mrs. Edith Kerbaugh, Mrs. A. K. Eynon, Mrs. Richard Connor, Mrs. Abe Fuhrman, Mrs. Clarence Fisher, Mrs. Kenneth Athey, Mrs. Robert Warwick and Mrs. F. T. Garrison.

Assistance of the fire department of the city has been arranged through the courtesy of Chief Thomas Nicholas. Sales being conducted by the auxiliaries are under the direction of the following chairmen: Audubon, Mrs. Henry R. Tatem, Jr.; Camden, Mrs. Harry Hackman; Collingswood, Mrs. Milton M. Bitter; East Camden Juniors, Miss Martha Stone; Delair, Mrs. William Morrow; Gloucester, Miss Elizabeth Felbs; Gloucester Heights, Mrs. Mary Gormerley; Haddonfield, Mrs. William F Clement: Haddonfield Juniors, Mrs. Hartje Riddel; Council of Jewish Women, Mrs. Henry Cooperson; Pennsauken and Merchantville, Mrs. J. Perry Long; Haddon Heights, Mrs. Frank Underkuffier; Italian Branch. Mrs. F. Puleo; Polish Branch, Mrs. Edward Praiss; Stratford, Mrs. Charles Jaggard; Woodlynne, Mrs. Charles Harrison.

Members of the Women’s Board of West Jersey Homeopathic Hospital are planning an outing to Washington’s Crossing on Monday, June 20. Mrs. William B. Scott, president, is chairman on arrangements for the trip which will be made by bus. The party will leave the Hotel Walt Whitman at 10 o’clock that Monday morning and luncheon will follow at The Olde Tavern Inn..


Louise Gilbert recalls Meyers Baker

Meyers Baker was my aunt Florence Baker's husband and he owned M. BAKER REALTY on Federal Street in Camden at 227 Federal. Uncle Meyers Baker died in the early 1960's, 1962, I think.

No one and nothing could pull Aunt Florence out of her funk when Uncle Meyers died. The Democrats came into power and offered her several important positions but politically as well as romantically, Aunt Florence Baker was inconsolable.

Imagine my glee one Hanukkah morning when I came downstairs to find a full drum set fitting for Gene Krupa waiting for me!

The drum set was Uncle Meyers idea. He supposedly didn't like any kids except me! I made out like a bandit ala Uncle Meyers! 

Imagine my chagrin and pouting when my mother announced "drums aren't for girls". My father protested on my behalf but...no way! The world lost a drummer that day but gained a girly girl.


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