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Indiana Governor Conrad Baker (1817 - 1885)
Governor of Indiana
January 23, 1867-January 13, 1873
Artist: James Forbes, American, c. 1800-?
oil on canvas, 36 x 29 (91.5 x 73.7)
Signed l.l.: Jas Forbes
CONRAD BAKER was born in Pennsylvania, received his education at Pennsylvania College, and studied law in Gettysburg. Baker moved to Evansville, Indiana, in 1841, and served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1845 to 1846. In 1856 he was defeated for lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket with Oliver P. Morton.
During the war he served three years as a colonel, and in 1864 he was successful in his bid for lieutenant governor. He became governor in 1867 when Governor Morton was elected to the United States Senate, and Baker was elected to his own term as governor in 1868.
Baker is responsible for initiating the project to collect portraits of all Indiana governors. After his administration he entered the prominent law firm of Hendricks, Hord, and Hendricks, replacing Thomas A. Hendricks, his successor as governor.
The election of 1868 was marked by the absence of any declarations of misconduct or accusations against Baker. As one writer notes: "His administration had been characterized as an upright, honest and conscientious one, so much so that his honorable opponent found nothing to attack but the measures of the party of which Governor Baker was the chosen representative." Baker was heavyset, with sandy hair and whiskers and florid complexion.
Source: Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana 1800-1978. Revised, edited and with new entries by Diane Gail Lazarus, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Biographies of the governors by Lana Ruegamer, Indiana Historical Society. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.