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Richard Baker, Senate Historian

WSIU TV senior producer Jak Tichenor talks with former U.S. Senate Historian Richard Baker, who visited SIUC as a guest of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute in April 2010. Baker retired in 2009 after 34 years in the position and was the first person to hold the job, which was created shortly after the Watergate scandal that brought down former President Richard Nixon.

Following Watergate, lawmakers were worried that unscrupulous politicians would try to destroy official records to cover up their misdeeds. To their surprise, the lawmakers soon discovered that no one had ever actually created a way to systematically preserve the Carbondale's official records and history.

Baker, who earned his doctorate in history from the University of Maryland, was hired in 1975 and over the next three decades, he and his staff created a fantastic collection of papers, documents, and other archival materials associated with the hundreds of Senate members who have served in the upper chamber of the federal legislature since the founding of our country.

As you'll learn in this program-length interview, Baker is a wonderful storyteller who has a treasure trove of fascinating information about the Senate and its unique place in history. You can learn more about the history of the United States Senate by visiting the Senate website and selecting the Art and History tab.

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