Gardiner Baker (????-09/13/1798)

Borrowing activity from 11/8/1799 to 12/20/1799.
Gardiner Baker was a shoemaker and a curator of one of New York City's first museums (Thackray 611; Angoff 70). Along with John Pintard, he founded the American Museum (later known as Scudder's American Museum), sponsored by the St. Tammany Society of the City of New York, and was its first curator. The museum opened in 1791 in a room in City Hall and by 1793 moved to the larger Exchange building on Broad Street. In 1795 the society transferred the museum to Baker on the condition that it be known as the Tammany Museum; Baker was its curator until his death (Dinsmoor 72). The museum's eclectic collection related to the history of America, with a focus on science and technology. It included wax figures, insects, taxidermy, Indian artifacts, live animals, a Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington, and a perpetual motion machine (Wallach 114; Angoff 71-77). In 1793 Baker was involved in the promotion of a balloon flight in the United States by pioneering French aeronaut Jean Pierre Blanchard (Cline). Baker was a member of the St. Tammany Society of the City of New York.

After Baker's death his widow kept the Tammany Museum alive, and when she died the exhibits were purchased by John Scudder, who established the American Museum. Scudder sold the museum to P.T. Barnum in 1841 (Angoff 77).  

Baker died in Boston of yellow fever on September 13, 1798 (Angoff 77).
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Gardiner Baker Library Average
Circulation records from 1793-1799 are lost.
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As classified in the 1813 Library Catalog.

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Transcribed: Kees P. Bee MasterJohn Keys11/8/179912/20/1799
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