Baker, Burke (1887–1964)

By: Clay Bailey

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: September 1, 2016

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.

  • Museums, Libraries, and Archives
  • Museums
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Clay Bailey, “Baker, Burke,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 25, 2022,

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September 1, 2016

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