Captain James A. Baker (January 10, 1857-August 2, 1941) has been William Marsh Rice's legal advisor in Houston for about 10 years when Rice asks his young, energetic attorney to be chairman for life of a 7-member board of trustees that includes Rice's brother and business partner Frederick Allyn Rice, Cesar Lombardi, Emanuel Raphael, banker James Everett McAshan and railroad executive Alfred Stephen Richardson. On May 13, 1891, the trustees approve a charter to establish an Institute for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art after Rice's death. The institute is to be non-partisan, non-sectarian, coeducational and tuition-free. Rice and his wife Elizabeth Baldwin Rice begin transferring cash and property to the Institute. "Texas received me when I was penniless," he wrote, "and now in the evening of my life, I recognize my obligation to her and her children."

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