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SEARCHING FOR HOBEY BAKER Episode 2: The Lost Generation

SEARCHING FOR HOBEY BAKER Episode 2: The Lost Generation

Update: 2024-06-121
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Hobie Baker, a former Princeton athlete, found himself disillusioned with his post-college life, feeling trapped in a low-level job at JP Morgan Bank. He was part of the "Lost Generation," a group that experienced the horrors of World War I after being born into the promise of the industrial age. Baker's friend, Percy Pine, a multi-millionaire and Princeton alum, offered him a lifeline by inviting him to live in his lavish Manhattan mansion. Pine was a product of America's Gilded Age, a time of immense wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, which led to growing inequality. Despite this, Pine was generous to Baker, showering him with gifts and introducing him to the world of high society. They dined and partied at exclusive clubs, hunted and shot trap at Pine's Long Island estate, and engaged in manly pursuits like auto racing, polo, and golf. While Baker enjoyed the luxurious lifestyle, his college friends expressed concern about his dependence on Pine. The episode explores the complexities of same-sex relationships in the early 20th century, a time when societal norms were less defined and gay men had to be cautious and contained. Pine was a classic upper-class gay man of the era, while Baker, despite his masculine image, had a clear affinity for other men. Baker's life in New York also included playing hockey for the St. Nicholas club, where he continued to excel and attract attention. He even played a memorable game in Montreal, where he dominated the defending Ross Cup champions. Despite being offered a professional contract, Baker remained committed to amateurism, believing it represented the purest form of sport. However, he also had a showman's flair, enjoying the attention and admiration he received for his athletic prowess. As the war in Europe escalated, Baker joined the Air National Guard, flying planes and demonstrating his skills. He even flew to Princeton's football stadium, becoming the first person to arrive at a game by airplane. In early 1917, Baker moved to Philadelphia to live with his brother Thornton, and they reunited on Thornton's amateur hockey team. Baker's final game was a memorable one, where he scored the overtime winner in a grueling match against Pittsburgh. As war rumors intensified, Baker was commissioned as a U.S. Army officer and shipped off to Europe. He penned a heartfelt letter to Pine, expressing his gratitude for his affection and fearing that he might never see him again. The episode ends with a glimpse into the dangers of aerial warfare during World War I, highlighting the sacrifices made by pilots like Baker.

Outlines

00:00:00
Introduction

This Chapter introduces the podcast and its subject, Hobie Baker, a former Princeton athlete who struggled to find fulfillment after college.

00:00:09
The Lost Generation

This Chapter explores the concept of the "Lost Generation," a group that experienced the horrors of World War I after being born into the promise of the industrial age. Hobie Baker, a member of this generation, found himself disillusioned with his post-college life, feeling trapped in a mundane banking job.

00:02:26
Percy Pine and the Gilded Age

This Chapter introduces Percy Pine, a wealthy and flamboyant gay bachelor who offered Hobie Baker a lifeline by inviting him to live in his lavish Manhattan mansion. The chapter explores the context of America's Gilded Age, a time of immense wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, which led to growing inequality.

00:12:48
Hobie's Hockey Career

This Chapter focuses on Hobie Baker's continued athletic pursuits, specifically his hockey career. He played for the St. Nicholas club, where he continued to excel and attract attention. He even played a memorable game in Montreal, where he dominated the defending Ross Cup champions.

00:21:54
The Call to War

This Chapter explores the escalating war in Europe and Hobie Baker's decision to join the Air National Guard. He flew planes and demonstrated his skills, even flying to Princeton's football stadium, becoming the first person to arrive at a game by airplane. The chapter concludes with Baker's departure for Philadelphia and his final hockey game, where he scored the overtime winner in a grueling match against Pittsburgh.

Keywords

Hobie Baker
Hobie Baker was an American athlete who excelled in both hockey and football. He was a star player at Princeton University and later played for the St. Nicholas hockey club in New York City. He was known for his athleticism, showmanship, and commitment to amateurism. He also served in the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I.

Percy Pine
Percy Pine was a wealthy and flamboyant gay bachelor who became a close friend and benefactor to Hobie Baker. He was a product of America's Gilded Age, a time of immense wealth concentrated in the hands of a few. Pine was known for his lavish lifestyle, his generosity, and his love of giving extravagant parties. He was also a prominent figure in New York City's high society.

Lost Generation
The Lost Generation was a group of writers, artists, and intellectuals who came of age during World War I. They were disillusioned by the horrors of the war and the social and political changes that followed. Some of the most famous members of the Lost Generation include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Gertrude Stein.

Gilded Age
The Gilded Age was a period of rapid economic growth in the United States, from the 1870s to the 1900s. It was characterized by the rise of big business, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, and the growth of cities. The term "Gilded Age" was coined by Mark Twain, who believed that the era's excesses were a shiny veneer that hid the growing inequality and frustration experienced by the unseen millions in the underclass.

Amateurism
Amateurism is the principle that sports should be played for the love of the game, rather than for money or other rewards. In the early 20th century, amateurism was a highly valued ideal in sports, particularly in college athletics. Hobie Baker was a staunch advocate of amateurism, believing it represented the purest form of sport.

World War I
World War I, also known as the Great War, was a global conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918. It involved the majority of the world's great powers, which were eventually divided into two opposing alliances: the Allies and the Central Powers. The war resulted in an estimated 15 to 22 million deaths, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in human history.

Gay New York
Gay New York is a term used to describe the history of LGBTQ+ life in New York City. The book "Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940" by George Chauncey is a groundbreaking work that explores the social and cultural landscape of gay life in New York City during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Air National Guard
The Air National Guard is a branch of the United States military that provides airpower for the states and territories. It is composed of both active-duty and reserve personnel. During World War I, the Air National Guard played a significant role in training pilots and providing air support for the war effort.

Q&A

  • What was Hobie Baker's life like after college?

    Hobie Baker struggled to find fulfillment in a mundane banking job at JP Morgan Bank. He felt trapped and disillusioned with his post-college life.

  • Who was Percy Pine and how did he help Hobie Baker?

    Percy Pine was a wealthy and flamboyant gay bachelor who offered Hobie Baker a lifeline by inviting him to live in his lavish Manhattan mansion. He introduced Baker to the world of high society and showered him with gifts and attention.

  • What was the significance of the Gilded Age in Hobie Baker's life?

    The Gilded Age was a time of immense wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, which led to growing inequality. Percy Pine was a product of this era, and his wealth allowed him to provide Baker with a luxurious lifestyle.

  • How did Hobie Baker's hockey career continue after college?

    Hobie Baker continued to play hockey for the St. Nicholas club in New York City, where he continued to excel and attract attention. He even played a memorable game in Montreal, where he dominated the defending Ross Cup champions.

  • Why did Hobie Baker choose to remain an amateur athlete?

    Hobie Baker was a staunch advocate of amateurism, believing it represented the purest form of sport. He rejected a professional contract, believing that playing for money would taint the game.

  • How did Hobie Baker's life change with the outbreak of World War I?

    Hobie Baker joined the Air National Guard and flew planes, demonstrating his skills and even flying to Princeton's football stadium. He was later commissioned as a U.S. Army officer and shipped off to Europe.

  • What was the nature of the relationship between Hobie Baker and Percy Pine?

    The episode explores the complexities of same-sex relationships in the early 20th century, a time when societal norms were less defined and gay men had to be cautious and contained. Pine was a classic upper-class gay man of the era, while Baker, despite his masculine image, had a clear affinity for other men.

  • What was Hobie Baker's final hockey game like?

    Hobie Baker's final game was a memorable one, where he scored the overtime winner in a grueling match against Pittsburgh. He played with his brother Thornton, and the game showcased his enduring athleticism.

Show Notes

His Princeton glory days behind him, Hobey moves to New York and begins a job at JP Morgan Bank. A member of what would be called the Lost Generation, Hobey misses the adrenaline rush of his college sports stardom and becomes despondent.

But he soon finds himself in the social circles of the flamboyant and extremely wealthy Percy Rivington Pyne 2nd, who invites Hobey to live with him in his Gilded Age Manhattan mansion.

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SEARCHING FOR HOBEY BAKER Episode 2: The Lost Generation

SEARCHING FOR HOBEY BAKER Episode 2: The Lost Generation

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