Clay Bailey
Dawn of the Alamo
Picture of the outside of the Burke Baker Planetarium, donated by Burke Baker in 1961. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

BAKER, BURKE (1887–1964). Burke Baker, businessman and philanthropist, was born in Waco, Texas, on August 9, 1887, the son of Nellie (Faulkner) and Robert Homes Baker. He attended the University of Texas, where he received a B.A. degree in 1909. The following academic year he studied at Harvard University. He married Bennie Brown of Cleburne on October 11, 1911, and they had two sons and two daughters. After service in Houston with the Texas Trust Company and the Bankers Trust Company in 1915, Baker moved to Philadelphia, where he was named president of American Briquet Company. In 1919 he returned to Houston and became first an independent oil operator and then an insurance executive. In 1925 he founded Seaboard Life Insurance Company. He later became president and chairman of the board of American General Life Insurance Company and was also a director of the United Gas Corporation and the Manchester Terminal Corporation. Baker was general director of the city's first Community Chest campaign, chairman of the Civil Service Commission, and director of the Philosophical Society of Texas. In December 1961 he contributed $250,000 for the establishment of the Burke Baker Planetarium in the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Baker died on April 9, 1964, in Houston.


Houston Chronicle, August 30, 1957, April 13, 1964. Who's Who in the South and Southwest, Vol. 7.

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Clay Bailey, "BAKER, BURKE," accessed August 21, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on September 7, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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