CWRU Links
Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

BAKER, EDWARD MOSE (MAX)

BAKER, EDWARD MOSE (MAX)

BAKER, EDWARD MOSE (MAX) (18 Aug. 1875-17 Feb. 1957), broker and philanthropist, was one of the founders of the Fed. of Jewish Charities. Born in Erie, Pa., to Isaac and Bertha (Ernhorn) Baker, he received his bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago in 1898, afterwards studying philosophy and sociology and for the rabbinate under his uncle, renowned Reform rabbi Emil Hirsch. Baker went to Temple Israel in Chicago in 1901, coming to Cleveland only 6 months later upon the death of his brother-in-law, Jacob Mayer, to take over Mayer's brokerage business. Before the year was over, he was elected vice-president of the Cleveland Stock Exchange, later serving 15 years as its president.

A product of both the Progressive Era and Reform Judaism, placing emphasis upon ethical monotheism and social reform, Baker believed the test of wealth was how it was used. He helped found several charitable and social-service agencies, including Associated Charities, the LEGAL AID SOCIETY, and the Community Fund. In 1903, he cofounded the Fed. of Jewish Charities, serving as its first secretary, president for four year, and on the board of trustees for 50 years. From 1907-08 he was chairman of the Republican Executive Committee for Cuyahoga County. In 1912, he was a founder and 1st vice-president of the CITY CLUB OF CLEVELAND, subsequently serving as president. Baker's argued that Judaism and Americanism were compatible, sharing similar principles, in "Judaism and the American Spirit," published in 1904 in Arena and later issued as a pamphlet. Never married, Baker died in Cleveland.