Howard Wilson Baker, Jr. earned his master's degree in English at Stanford University, where he was co-editor of the literary magazine Gyroscope. He then moved to Paris to pursue his studies at the Sorbonne. There he met and married budding novelist Dorothy Dodds; they married in 1930 and she published under her married name Dorothy Baker. Howard Baker knew and was influenced by Ernest Hemingway and Ford Madox Ford, who helped him publish his first work, the autobiographical novel Orange Valley (1931). After returning to the USA in 1931, he took a position teaching English at the University of California at Berkeley. From 1937 to 1943, he taught English at Harvard. Besides collaborations with his wife, including the 1944 play Trio, his writings included the poetry collections Letter from the Country (1941) and Ode to the Sea (1954), as well as a collection of essays on ancient Greek culture, Persephone's Cave: Cultural Accumulations of the Early Greeks (1979).