SUNY Potsdam professor honored with Ralph D. Gray Article Prize for early republic article
Friday, September 14, 2012 - 11:55 am

POTSDAM -- Dr. Thomas N. Baker, associate professor of history at SUNY Potsdam, received the 2011 Ralph D. Gray Article Prize for an article in the Journal of the Early Republic.

His article was recognized for excellent scholarly work leading to new historic understanding of the third Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr.

The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic awarded its Ralph D. Gray Article Prize to Dr. Baker, in recognition of his piece, "'An Attack Well Directed': Aaron Burr Intrigues for the Presidency," which was published in the Journal of the Early Republic last year.

The SUNY Potsdam professor's article challenged a reigning interpretation of the pivotal contested presidential election of 1800: the view that Aaron Burr did not try actively to wrest victory from his running mate Thomas Jefferson. In the piece, Baker offered new evidence of behind-the-scenes scheming to sustain the case that Burr did indeed act to compass the presidency for himself, including a newly discovered incriminating letter.

Baker accepted the award at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic's annual meeting in Baltimore this July. The tribute to the article described it as "painstakingly-researched and compellingly-presented" and praised "his finely-grained and creative interpretations."

Baker earned his Ph.D. in American history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1995. Since 2002, he has been teaching at SUNY Potsdam, where he is an associate professor in the Department of History. He has served as director of the College's honors program since January 2011.