Skip to content
Mayflower II at sea in 1964Mayflower II at sea in 1964

William A. Baker Collection

Ship plans, research and design notes, slides, scrapbooks, and other material from naval architect and maritime historian William A. Baker.

Naval architect and maritime historian William A. Baker graduated from MIT’s Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1934. For the the next thirty years, he worked for the Bethlehem Steel Shipbuilding Corporation in Quincy, Massachusetts and San Francisco for the next thirty years before returning to MIT as a lecturer and curator for the Hart Nautical Museum in 1963. Baker had a particular interest in reconstructing designs of English colonial-era vessels; the Mayflower II is among the most famous of his reconstructions afloat today.

The William A. Baker collection contains material from across William A. Baker’s career, from his time as a student at MIT to his death in 1981. The bulk of the material are plans, notes, and research related to ship design, including both Baker’s own reconstructions of historic vessels, ships he worked on at Bethlehem Steel, and plans historic iron and steel vessels he collected for reference. The collection also includes transcripts of papers and presentations, research notes, and an extensive collection of slides documenting Baker’s design work, travel abroad, and sailing adventures at home.

Title: William A. Baker Collection

Creator: William A. Baker

Dates: 1925-1991

Extent: 30 linear feet plus 583 plans

Language: English

Repository: MIT Museum, Hart Nautical Collection

Access: Open for research by appointment.

Copyright: Some copyright restrictions may apply.

Credit: Hart Nautical Collection, MIT Museum

See more detail in the Finding Aid.