Everett Baker

Everett Baker was born to a farming family in Minnesota in 1893. He studied science at university there and became a strong socialist while in school. In his early 20s he was very successful at selling books door to door, in particular a set of informative books the helped people with medicine, veterinary and other things. So successful was Baker that soon he was offered his own territory for sales. He chose Saskatchewan as it had a rail line leading directly from Minnesota and was new domain. Once here, he broke records for sales and soon bought a farm and married his gal from back home. Farming was good for a while, especially during the war years when the government took control of the market and ensured that crops were bought and sold for a good price and moved to the necessary places efficiently. After the war, the free market and a few pieces of bad luck and Baker bankrupt. He began a co-op store which also did well, selling groceries and farm repair services. He even published a book through the co-op, a sort of manifesto on the co-operative movement. However, the depression brought about the end of the store and it wasn't until the end of the 1930s that Baker began making in roads in the social movements again. Employed by the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in the late 30s, he traveled the province collecting and disseminating information to people on farms and in all of the small towns. He would speak not only of the Wheat Pool but of the need for education, for vacations, and for the need for a variety of life. He would flavour his presentations with slide shows and films, often run off the battery of his car in places which did not yet have electricity. When he bought a used Leika camera and began shooting Kodachrome film, the presentations began to include images of the people and communities he was speaking to and about. Over the years, Bake would photography thousands of normal people, posed in normal clothes, at or near their workplaces. He also documented and helped to preserve much of the the early settler history and was a founding member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society. His photographs, shot with an untrained but certainly expert eye, bring us into the lives of the people of this province. He shows us human beings doing what they do, working and living in their communities. The archive of images was donated to the Society he began. Everett Baker died in 1981 and was buried in a co-operative cemetery where all are equal.

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