Paul Baender was born and raised in Alameda, California, the son of Clarence and Estelle (Hart) Baender. Paul married Mary Lou Rough in Los Angeles in 1957.
Paul received his PhD in English from the University of California at Berkeley. He began his teaching career at the University of Chicago and was a professor of English at the University of Iowa for thirty years. His professional concentrations were nineteenth-century American literature, Mark Twain, and textual criticism. He was an editor of the University of Iowa-University of California edition of the works of Mark Twain and responsible for several volumes in that series.
Paul was an avid chess player, coin collector, and sports fan. His favorite sport was baseball, and his favorite team was the Chicago Cubs. In 1991, he combined his professional interest in the theme of the "indefinite character" in American culture and his personal interests in University of Iowa sports and World War II history with the publication of A Hero Perished: The Diary and Selected Letters of Nile Kinnick, which he compiled and edited.
Those who wish to remember Paul may make donations in his name to one of the following organizations: Goodwill Industries, The University of Iowa Libraries in care of the University of Iowa Foundation; or the Friends of the Animal Center Foundation in Iowa City.