From the family farms of early California settlers to the corporate structures of modern agribusinesses, materials in this category focus on the vital role of agriculture in American history. Specifically, the collections under this heading pertain to commercial enterprises whose purpose is to raise crops for profit.

The papers of George Hecke and the Everett Family both document local agricultural development. Hecke, whose orchards, vineyards, and grain fields were located in Woodland, California, left a small but rich collection of personal and business correspondence, while the Everett Family, who owned a prune orchard in the Capay Valley, left a collection of ledgers and notebooks from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The rise of the corporate farm is chronicled through the archives of the Liberty Farms Company, a California delta region pioneer in the business of large-scale farming. Agricultural cooperatives are represented by the Farmers’ Trade Union Collection, which contains records of a farmers’ supply cooperative in Clements, California.

Considerable research depth can be found in collections relating to California’s one-variety cotton law. The Harrison papers contain materials relating to his breeding experiments and the development of the Acala variety, which became the standard for cotton production in California. The Wilhelm papers focus on the ensuing legislation forcing farmers to sow only Acala seed, the Akins and Piepgrass papers relate the perspectives of farmers towards this development, and the George collection contains the research and opinions of an extension agent and cotton farming advisor.

Notable among the collections in this subject category are the Ferry-Morse Seed Company Archives, and the Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection. Original artwork intended for seed catalogs forms a substantial part of the Ferry Morse Archives, as well as colorful advertising posters and four Maxfield Parrish original oil paintings. Ledgers, notebooks, and correspondence also chronicle the distribution of seeds and agricultural implements to California. The Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection, a massive collection containing colorful drawings of early vegetable and flower varieties, reveals the introduction of new varieties into a particular geographical area. Both collections yield valuable historical information regarding farming technology and practices, climate, natural environment, and crop productivity.

Agricultural economics, education, and public relations collections are also included in this category. The Hunt papers describe the economics of the sugar industry in Carribean countries, and the Hutchison papers note agricultural education projects among European nations. The Commission on Agricultural Education, the Agricultural Appropriations Committee, and the American Association of Land Grant Colleges collections relate to local, national, and international efforts to increase agricultural education.

The 86 linear feet of materials in this category are limited to the English language and cover a date span of 1870 to 1990; formats include photographs, audiotapes, pamphlets, books, realia, and manuscripts. There are no geographical limits, although the bulk of the materials focus on American agricultural efforts. Related collections can be found under the headings of Agricultural Technology, Plant Science, and California History.

Agriculture Manuscripts