Thomas Baker (1656–1740) spent most of his long life at St John's College, Cambridge pursuing historical research. He was also an avid book collector, and bequeathed his valuable library to the college. His writings included a history of the college, which was edited by John Mayor and published in 1869. Volume 2, to which Mayor made a substantial contribution in his own right, is devoted to the Masters of the college between 1511 and 1840, and includes short biographies and anecdotes about their lives at Cambridge. It describes visits by royalty, disputes with the authorities, appeals against elections, details of salaries, and more domestic matters such as policies on tobacco-smoking and the production of plays in the library. It makes fascinating reading for those interested in Cambridge, the history of education and the lives of these distinguished scholars and the society in which they moved.