Born and raised in Indiana, Donald E. Baker is the author or editor of several non-fiction books and articles on Midwestern history. After earning graduate degrees in history and library science from Indiana University, he worked as a public librarian in Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana, and Cincinnati, Ohio. He began writing Indiana-themed plays after retiring with his husband to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Baker has written five plays. “Grand Dragon in Power” concerns the downfall of the KKK Grand Dragon who was the political boss of Indiana in the 1920s; it is available in a full-length stage version and as a radio play. The radio play was performed before a live audience on March 26, 2018, by the Radio Theatre Project at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and then uploaded to Soundcloud.com.
Indiana's Klan era is also the background for his full-length play "Trade With Klan" and his 10-minute play "Samaritan." Both concern choices and compromises forced on small-town Hoosiers in the face of Klan influence. “Trade With Klan” was given a DG Friday Footlights reading in January, 2019, and received a Red Ribbon—Workshop award in the First Annual Playwriting Competition at SWTProductions, Austin TX, in February, 2019.
Baker's “My Brother Paul” is a play with music about the sibling rivalry between Theodore Dreiser and his brother Paul Dresser, a popular song writer and actor. He has also written a one-person play about a Civil War-era steamboat captain entitled “Web-Footed Dreams, or, Paddlewheels and Politics in Peace and War.”