During this week leading up to the launcing of the first ever "Edward Dickinson Baker" Day celebration in Oregon on the 201st anniversary of Baker's birth, we will print excerpts and publish links to past and present published profiles of our second United States Senator. Back on the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War Anniversary of Colonel Baker's death at the Battle of Ball's Bluff, the New York Times published a timely offering by guest columnist Professor Louis P. Masur, who is chair of the American Studies program at Trinity College (CT) and author of The Civil War: A Concise History  (2011) and a book to be published this year:  Lincoln’s Hundred Days: The Emancipation Proclamation and the War for the Union. Here is an excerpt from Masur's profile of Edward Dickinson Baker "Senator Baker's Waveless Shore"  as published in the New York Times Opinionator:exclusive on-line Commentary from The Times

"Edward Dickinson Baker, a close friend and sometimes political rival of Lincoln’s, had no fear of war. In 1832, he left his fledgling law practice in Illinois to participate in the Black Hawk War, and, in 1846, he resigned his Illinois Congressional seat to serve as a colonel of the Fourth Illinois Infantry in the Mexican War.

What made his martial ardor unusual was that he was a Quaker. Indeed, his parents had immigrated from England to Philadelphia in 1816, when the boy was not yet five years old, to be part of the Quaker community there. Nearly a decade later, the family moved west to join Robert Owen’s utopian community at New Harmony, Ind., and from there to Carrollton, Ill. Baker read law and was admitted to the bar. He also married a widow several years his elder with two children. In 1835, he relocated to Springfield and began a partnership with, among others, Lincoln’s future law partner Stephen T. Logan....

Baker served in the Illinois House from 1837 to 1841, overlapping with Lincoln also was a member, and the Illinois Senate from 1841 to 1845. He served a term in Congress from 1845 to 1847, then again from 1849 to 1851. The restless lawyer and ambitious politician moved to California in 1852, and, importuned by Republican allies, relocated in 1860 to Oregon, where he was promptly chosen to fill a vacant seat in the United States Senate. Upon his selection, Baker wrote to Lincoln: “You will feel that you have a true and warm friend at your side” in Washington...

You can read this column in its entirety at the NYTimes website, and its Opinionator column.