Skip to main content

Theodore Baird correspondence, 1938-1980

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: SC-50

Scope and Contents

This small collection contains letters written to Theodore Baird, class of 1921, from classmate George M. Rutter '20 and Professor Herbert Hilarion Yeames. The correspondence to Baird was written over a period from 1938 to 1966. The collection contains only Rutter's and Yeames' correspondence to Baird and not Baird's letters to them.

Both Rutter and Yeames conversed extensively with Baird about literature, languages, philosophy, and religion. They also discussed current events such as World War II and the Kennedy-Nixon debate. The present state of Hobart College, along with memories of their time in Geneva, also appear in the correspondence.

While this is a small collection it offers insight into the lives of two former students and one of the Colleges' longest-serving and most-loved professors.


  • 1938-1980 (bulk 1938-1966)

Biographical Note

Theodore Baird was born in Warren, Ohio on February 28, 1901. He graduated from Hobart College in 1921 and went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University. While at Hobart Baird was a member of Kappa Alpha fraternity, the Herald staff, yearbook staff, and the Board of Control. He taught briefly at Western Reserve University, Union College, and Harvard University before joining the faculty at Amherst College in 1927. Baird retired from Amherst College in 1969 as Professor Emeritus of English.

Theodore Baird introduced a required freshman composition course at Amherst College that was taught by himself and other faculty for 28 years. It served as a model for other colleges and was chronicled in a book published by the National Council of Teachers of English titled "Fencing with Words: A History of Writing Instruction at Amherst College During the Era of Theodore Baird, 1930-1966." Baird also taught courses on topics from Shakespeare to modern British and American fiction. He edited an anthology, "The First Years: Selections from Autobiography," published in 1931, and wrote articles and reviews for The Bookman, Saturday Review, and the New York Herald Tribune.

Theodore Baird was a prolific letter writer and kept in touch with many of his former students, classmates, and professors, among them Herbert Hilarion Yeames and Rev. George M. Rutter. Baird passed away on December 22, 1996 at age 95.

Herbert Hilarion Yeames was born in England on August 26, 1873. His family moved to Boston when he was a child and Yeames graduated from Boston Latin School and then from Harvard University in 1895. He was a teacher in a private school, secretary to the Bishop of Massachusetts, and a soldier in the Spanish-American war before joining the faculty of Hobart College in 1904 as a professor of Greek and Latin language and literature.

Professor Yeames loved Plato and believed strongly in the importance of learning Greek and Latin as requirements for a college degree. He read many languages and continued to read both ancient and modern authors up until his death. Yeames was also a great letter writer and according to Theodore Baird kept up a regular correspondence with him for 46 years. Professor Yeames retired from Hobart College in 1941 and was awarded an honorary degree in 1947. He passed away on March 22, 1967 at age 94.

Rev. George M. Rutter was born on September 29, 1896 in Bloomsburg, PA. He graduated from Hobart College in 1920 and was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa. He attended the General Theological Seminary in New York and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Church in 1924. Rutter also received two A.M. degrees, one from Columbia University and one from Harvard University, and his Ph.D. from Harvard. Rutter taught English at Hobart College for a couple of years and at Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH and at Stetson University in Florida before becoming a vicar.

George Rutter served in Episcopal churches in Cleveland, OH, Hollidaysburg, PA, Mt. Joy, PA, and Ormond Beach, FL. While at St. James Episcopal Church in Ormond Beach Rutter founded a day school, which was the second in Florida. He was the pastor of St. James until his retirement in 1957.

Rev. George M. Rutter was an avid reader and letter writer. He could read 15 languages and was the author of many articles and reviews. Rutter had three daughters and one son. He passed away on May 23, 1969 at age 72.


0.25 Linear Feet (One slim document case box)

Language of Materials



Box 1: Archives Storage, Range 22A, Section 6


These letters were given to the Library by Theodore Baird in 1980. Two letters in folder 1 document this donation.

Theodore Baird correspondence, 1938-1980: A Finding Aid
Katie Lamontagne, Archivist
January 16, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Archives and Special Collections Repository

Warren Hunting Smith Library
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva New York 14456 U.S.A. US (United States)