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Richard A. Baker, Ph. D., Director of the nine-member staff of the U.S. Senate Historical Office The historian of the United States Senate will open the 2002-2003 Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series at Mitchell Memorial Library on Thursday, Oct. 31.

The Collins Series brings leading figures of the day to the Mississippi State University campus to engage in close and personal discussions about their lives and careers.

Baker has directed the nine-member staff of the U.S. Senate Historical Office since that office was created in 1975. He holds a doctorate in history from the University of Maryland and masters degrees from Columbia University and Michigan State University.

He has taught courses in congressional history for Cornell University's Washington semester program and the University of Maryland. Before joining the Senate's staff, he served as a specialist in American history at the Library of Congress.

Baker is the author of numerous articles related to congressional history and several books, including Conservation Politics: The Senate Career of Clinton P. Anderson and The Senate of the United States: A Bicentennial History. He has also edited collections of biographical essays on major Senate leaders and vice presidents. He is a former president of the Society for History in the Federal Government.

The U.S. Senate Historical Office serves as the Senate's institutional memory. The office collects and provides information on important events, precedents, dates, statistics, and historical comparisons of current and past Senate activities for use by members and staff, the media, scholars, and the general public. The office also advises senators and committees on cost-effective disposition of their non-current office files, assists researchers seeking access to Senate records, and maintains automated information data bases detailing locations of former members' papers.

It conducts oral history interviews with retired senior Senate staff and keeps extensive biographical and bibliographical information on former senators. A collection of more than thirty thousand Senate-related photographs and other illustrations is available for research and publication use.

Past Collins Series speakers include: Reuben V. Anderson, Mississippi Supreme Court Justice (Retired); Haley Barbour, Political Consultant and Former Chair, National Republican Party; Speaker Pro Tempore Robert G. Clark, Mississippi House of Representatives; Gale Denley, Publisher, The Calhoun County Journal; Chief Justice Lenore Prather, Supreme Court of Mississippi; Sidney L. (Sid) Salter, former Publisher, The Scott County Times; Amy Tuck, Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi; Susan Boone Vincent, Mayor of Laurel; Robert M. Walker, Mayor of Vicksburg; and Amy D. Whitten, J. D., Trustee of Mississippi Institutions for Higher Learning.

About MSU Libraries:

Mississippi State University Libraries is a premier research library providing its communities of users an ongoing, creative, technologically advanced library program that provides new and emerging technologies; enhances and inspires teaching, research, and service of the highest caliber in an environment of free and open inquiry and with a commitment to excellence. For more information about MSU Libraries, please visit http://library.msstate.edu/ .

MSU, Mississippi's flagship research university, is online at www.msstate.edu.