Elizabeth Baker (diarist)

Elizabeth Baker (c. 1720 – c. 1797) was an English secretary, diarist, and amateur geologist.


Baker was from the English Midlands, where her father was a minister.[1] She lived for a time in Coventry, Warwickshire.[2]

She moved to Wales in 1770 to prospect for metals in the Dolgellau area of Merionethshire, but did not have the financial support of her partners to be able to complete the endeavour. She obtained a position with Hugh Vaughan[a] as his secretary at Hengwrt until 1778. She lived there until his property was taken on behalf of his creditors. Baker then lived in Bryn Adda for about six years, followed by Dolgellau. She documented her experiences in ten diaries, which were held by the National Library of Wales and excerpts were published in its journal. They are considered notable for the documentation of the history of the area.[1] Vaughan was a solicitor, and her diary documents some of his legal proceedings.[3]

Correspondence that was archived with her diaries show that she was alive until 1797. She is believed to be the Elizabeth Baker who was buried in Dolgellau in 1799.[2][b] Identified as Mrs. Baker, her papers and diaries from the period from 1740 to 1798 were archived at the National Library of Wales.[2]


  1. ^ Hugh Vaughan was the great-great grandson of antiquary Robert Vaughan.[1]
  2. ^ The Dictionary of Welsh Biography states that she died on 26 November 1789, and was buried in the Dolgellau churchyard.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d William Llewelyn Davies (1959). "Elizabeth Baker". Dictionary of Welsh Biography. National Library of Wales. Retrieved 1 March 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b c "Fonds GB 0210 ELIKER - Elizabeth Baker Papers". Archives, National Library of Wales. Retrieved 8 August 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ O'Day, Rosemary (2014) [2007]. Women's Agency in Early Modern Britain and the American Colonies: patriarchy, partnership and patronage. London: Routledge. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-582-29463-9.

Further readingEdit

  • Baker, Elizabeth. "The journal of Elizabeth Baker, Dolgellau, 1779–1782". The People's Collection, sponsored by the Welsh government.
  • Cylchgrawn Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru: The National Library of Wales Journal. Council of the National Library of Wales. 1964. pp. 166–167.
  • Edwards, Tudor (1950). The Face of Wales. Batsford. p. 83.
  • Journal of the Merioneth Historical and Record Society. Merioneth Historical and Record Society. 1981. pp. 166, 379.
  • Roberts, Michael; Simone Clarke (2000). "Visions of Community: Elizabeth Baker". Women and Gender in Early Modern Wales. University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1550-7.
  • Thomas, B. B. (1945). The Old Order based on the diary of Elizabeth Baker. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
  • The Welsh Review. Penmark Press. 1946. p. 302.
  • Withey, Alun (January 18, 2013). Physick and the family: Health, medicine and care in Wales, 1600-1750. Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-1-84779-508-3.