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Bakewell, Anderson (1913-1999) | Saint Louis University Libraries Special Collections:  Archives and Manuscripts

Name: Bakewell, Anderson (1913-1999)


Historical Note:

Anderson E. Bakewell was born in St. Louis, Missouri on September 18, 1913 to Edward L. Bakewell and Mildred Bakewell (nee-Anderson).

Bakewell obtained a bachelor's degree from Saint Louis University.  In 1936, he volunteered to collect snakes for Marlin Perkins, the Curator of Reptiles at the St. Louis Zoological Gardens, taking six months off during his undergraduate studies to collect live venomous snakes in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil. After he completed his bachelor’s degree, Bakewell joined an expedition led by James A. Oliver to the State of Colima in Mexico to collect reptiles and amphibians for the University of Michigan. One species of snake with which they returned bears the scientific name Leptotyphlops bakewelli in honor of Bakewell.

He then completed two years of graduate work in Astronomy, Mathematics, and Philosophy before interrupting his studies to join the American Geographical Society in New York in 1939. He worked in both the Mathematical Geography and the Exploration and Field Research departments. Bakewell participated as Naturalist on the Cabot Colombian Expedition, which was organized to map Colombia’s Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta coastal massif. In the summer of 1939, Bakewell was acting Botanist, Meteorologist, and Naturalist on the Third Wood Yukon Expedition, led by Dr. Walter A. Wood, Jr., which engaged in aerial surveying and mapping of approximately 2,000 square miles of the southwestern Yukon Territory and the St. Elias Mountains.

Bakewell applied for the Society of Jesus in 1940, but was refused due to a history with mastoiditis. In 1941, he became a member of the Fourth Wood Yukon Expedition in cooperation with the U.S. Army, during which mountain troops were trained in parachuting supplies. Bakewell made the first ascent of Mount Wood on this expedition, and also ascended Mount Walsh. In 1942, he applied again for admission to the Society of Jesus, and was accepted in the Province of Maryland. He entered the Novitiate in Wernersville, Pennsylvania.

Bakewell volunteered in 1947 for the Jamshedpur Mission and was sent to India. He studied Theology in Poona in 1948, and began training fellow Jesuits there. He also trained Jesuits in Kurseong in snakebite survival.

In 1950, Bakewell joined Oscar Houston of New York in planning the first attempt to reach Mount Everest from the south through Nepal. They negotiated with the Nepalese government to receive sanction, and on a 30 day reconnaissance trip, Bakewell made a complete photographic record.

Bakewell was ordained to the priesthood in India on November 21, 1951. He volunteered to work among the native people of the Chota Nagpur plateau, and was sent to St. Joseph’s Church at Raj Anandpur. It was here that Bakewell killed a sloth bear plaguing the village people.

In 1955, Bakewell returned to the United States and was assigned as assistant to the director for building a Loyola Retreat House in Washington, D.C. and served as a pastor for the Holy Trinity Church in Georgetown. He was invited in 1965 to participate as a priest on the Rockwell Polar Flight—the first flight around the world with transits of both the North and South Poles.

Bakewell volunteered and was accepted in 1967 for a mission as pastor in Alaska, near Delta.  He served a parish that covered 35,000 square miles. Ten years later, severe arthritis forced him to relocate to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he was appointed chaplain of the Carmelite Monastery. He worked there until his death on October 13, 1999 after an extended battle with cancer. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

Sources: obituary, The New Mexican; baptismal certificate; "Father Anderson Bakewell: No Chicken-Hearted Fellow, He," by Marian F. Love; ordination announcement
Note Author: Angie Blumberg





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