Karle Wilson Baker (1878-1960) was born in Little Rock, AR. She attended the University of Chicago and was encouraged to develop her passion for poetry by the poet William Vaughn Moody and novelist Robert Herrick.
After graduation, she became a teacher in Little Rock. In 1900, she visited her parents in their new home in Nacogdoches, Texas, and fell in love with the place’s history, people, and nature. Six years later, she moved there and met and married Thomas Ellis Baker. Together they had two children.
Nacogdoches and its surroundings inspired Baker’s work and were the subject of many of her writings. She wrote for several magazines and published poetry collections, novels, and children’s books, receiving national recognition.
Between 1924 to 1934, she taught contemporary poetry at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA), the only married woman in the faculty.
In her lifetime Baker became one of the most famous writers in Texas and won many awards, including the Fellow of the Texas Institute of Letters (the first woman to receive this honor) and a Pulitzer Prize nomination (1931) for her poetry collection Dreamers on Horseback.
On April 10th, 2013, the Friends of Historic Nacogdoches, Inc. dedicated her statue on the grounds of her former home. Created by Brian Keith, it is the only statue that honors a real woman in the city.
Other places of interest in Nacogdoches are the Nacogdoches Visitor’s Center, the Sterne–Hoya House Museum and Library, the Nacogdoches Railroad Depot, Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, and the Shuttle Columbia Debris Site that serves as a memorial to the astronauts that lost their lives.
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