Alumnus Richard A. Baker to Discuss New Book on Senate at Capitol Hill Reception

Alumnus Richard Baker, historian emeritus of the U.S. Senate, will present and discuss his new book, “The American Senate: An Insider’s History,” on Dec. 12 at the Congressional Visitors Center.

Hosted by Congressman James McGovern and organized by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the UMass Amherst Libraries, the event is expected to draw alumni, faculty, government officials and lawmakers.

Professors emeriti of history Bruce Laurie and Ronald Story will moderate and participate in the discussion.

In the book, co-written with the late Neil MacNeil, Baker provides an insider’s history of the United States Senate from the country’s founding to the present day. Baker and MacNeil, former chief congressional correspondent for Time magazine, integrate nearly a century of combined experience on Capitol Hill with research and scholarship. They explore the Senate’s historical evolution with a focus on persistent structural pressures as well as on recent transformations. 

Baker graduated from UMass Amherst in 1961 with a B.A. in history. After earning master’s degrees from Columbia University and Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in history from the University of Maryland, College Park, he went on to become the Senate’s first official historian. He directed the United States Historical Office from the time of its creation in 1975 through 2009.