Columbia Library columns (v.44(1995))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.44,no.1(1995:Winter): Page [27]  

The Poet and the Professor

Scenes from the Early Law School



' hen George Augustus Baker
enrolled in Columbia College School of Law in 1869, he was making a decided
break with the artistic traditions of his Brooklyn family. There were no lawyers
in Baker's family; both his father and grandfather (both also named George
Augustus Baker) were artists, his father a portrait painter in oils and his grand¬
father a miniaturist on Ivor)'. George Augustus Baker, Jr., earned a successful liv¬
ing as a painter, with his portraits of women and children much sought after.
collected by the Vanderbilts, and exhibited in Paris. What was it at Columbia
Law School, then only eleven years in operation, that drewyoimg George Baker
away from his family inclination and led him to enroll with 134 other men to
read for the bar? The thought of greater wealth or political preferment? The
suggestion of a young lady? Perhaps. More likely a stronger motivation can be
traced to the reputation of the Law School's founder and principal lecturer,
Theodore William Dwight,

Theodore W. Dwight. His name seems to place him more al Yale than at
Columbia. As the grandson of Timothy Dwight, Yale's eighth president. Dwight
could easily have found a teaching career in New Haven. But his parents. Dr.
  v.44,no.1(1995:Winter): Page [27]