University of Connecticut, Agricultural Economics Department Records
Scope and Content
Transferred to Archives & Special Collections in 1982, the collection contains 80 linear feet of documentation including newspaper clippings, correspondence, schematics of the institutional hierarchy, financial documentation, marketing pamphlets and brochures, surveys, maps, press releases, photographs, and glass plate negatives. The scope of the collection begins with news clippings about the Emergency Farm Labor Department's organization of farm labor during World War II. The result of the Selective Service draft meant many farmers left their land, creating a shortage of laborers during harvest. In response to this shortage, the University of Connecticut and the State of Connecticut cooperated to create the Emergency Farm Labor Department, which established the Women's Land Army, as well as farm labor camps for Jamaican laborers, conscientious objectors, prisoners, migrant labor from Newfoundland, and high school students from Florida, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Some of this student labor was as young as (and sometimes under) 14 years of age. The clippings document the role that Mr. Paul (schematic indicates "State Farm Labor Supervisor" under the Extension Emergency Farm Labor Program from the University of Connecticut, as Director of State Farm Labor), played in defeating the Child Labor Bill, effectively making it legal for tobacco growers to hire children under 14 years of age.
In addition, there is correspondence from the USDA about the University of Connecticut's Agriculture Department and their growing responsibility as part of the Emergency Farm Labor Committee to provide training for newly recruited farm laborers. This correspondence includes the actual work schedules, descriptions of farm labor work, child labor abuses. In contrast, as part of a state and nationwide marketing campaign, there are pamphlets and brochures published by the UConn Extension service, of these farm labor camps that show students advertising "Vacation Work" as being fun. The brochures and pamphlets include photos of youngsters playing tennis, softball, and swimming, as well winners of the Tobacco Beauty Queen contest.
The balance of the collection includes Farm Surveys from the early 1910s for Dairy, Apple, Tobacco and Poultry farms. These surveys span the time frame of World War I, the Depression, and World War II, chronicling the Agricultural Economics Department's participation in maximizing the State of Connecticut's agricultural resources during difficult economic times. The Farm Business Surveys record information such as acres tilled and livestock owned, and also contain personal information such as nationalities of farmers, education levels, and standard of living statistics. There is documentation on the coursework for the Home Economics department, as well as surveys, reports and photos on soil conservation.
- Creation: undated, 1840-1951
The collection is open and available for research.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.
This Collection reflects the many bureaucratic permutations of the Agricultural Economics Department at the University of Connecticut from the late 1910s until after World War II. The Collection spans many institutional name changes and reorganizations. The University itself underwent three during this time period. In 1899, the institution was chartered as the Connecticut Agricultural College until 1933, when the name was changed to Connecticut State College. In 1939, the name was changed to the University of Connecticut. The documents reflect these name changes.
The bulk of the collection is documentation from the Extension Service, which was headed by one of three Directors of the school, then known as Connecticut Agricultural College, with the President as the Executive head of the College. Under him were three Directors, the two others being the Faculty and the Director of Instruction, and the Director of the Experimental Station.
The Extension Service, described in the College Bulletin as, "...the division of the college that carries on all of the non-resident educational work of the institution. Extension teaching is done through personal and circular letters, farm and home visits, bulletins, news and special articles, radio, meetings, classes, and in other ways" , was formalized in 1914. The Extension Service served the state, in the words of the State College Biennial Report: "As our agriculture becomes more intensive and competition becomes keener, the simple practices of the past must give place to highly technical methods of production and marketing. If Connecticut's farming is to continue prosperous, (sic) it will demand more and more research, and will not be satisfied with superficial work."
This quote is a reference to the early 20th century trend toward the industrialization of agriculture, as well as the application of scientific methodology in order to maximize the economic benefits of farming. Farming had been a local economy that simultaneously sustained local families and brought in small local profits. When the war intervened, the Federal government found ways to turn local products into commodities that people could profit from, even when the commodity was not yet considered a staple of family life. For example, during World War I, an extension economist noted that, "Milk was the one surplus food in Connecticut and a campaign to induce children to drink more milk was instituted."
The combination of Federal, State and County funding for the University Extension Service eventually resulted in a Cooperative Organization between the four groups. Initially, the Connecticut Agricultural College was given State and Federal funding to provide agricultural training to local farmers before and during World War I. These training networks were expanded upon during the war, and were firmly in place by the time of the Depression.
According to the book, Connecticut Agricultural College - A History by Walter Stemmons, the combination of Federal and State funding helped to "extend...the college campus to the boundary of the state." The Extension service began as an outgrowth of the Cooperative orchard demonstrations held jointly by the College and the Connecticut Pomological Service. By 1915, Professor I.G. Davis became the Assistant State Leader of Extension Services, which was organized by county. Their marketing materials began with the Farm Bureau News, which became the Extension Service News, and was finally entitled the Connecticut Agricultural College (CAC) Review, with I.G. Davis serving as editor.
The pre-World War I years saw the Extension Service set goals to professionalize agriculture. They began by chronicling markets, which were previously not monitored or quantified, "[I]n 1917 the Extension service, in cooperation with the United States Bureau of Markets and the Bridgeport fruit and vegetable association, established a daily reporting service on the Bridgeport market. These records are in the non-processed portion of the collection. The success of this plan led to its extension the following summer to Hartford, New Haven and Waterbury. Later the egg market was included in the reports. From this beginning developed a state-wide market reporting service."
The Extension Service was responsible for other areas, such as field crops, sheep, animal husbandry, and bee-keeping. Records for these endeavors are not included in this collection, nor is farm/home engineering or forestry. However, fruit and vegetable surveys are included. In addition, there are Home Demonstration surveys, which have quantified the financial aspects of running a domestic economy. However, this Collection also includes handwritten notes from the surveyors themselves. These field agent notebooks give background information on some of the women surveyed, especially those reluctant to participate, "[s]he seems to delight in being pernicious." These records are in the non-processed portion of the collection.
The First World War contributed to growth of the Extension Service, financially speaking, "What the war did was to speed up the machinery tremendously and to make available financial resources far beyond the expectancy of natural growth. It also provided contacts and elements of cooperation little short of impossible in peace time." Surveys were the method used to quantify agricultural production, as well poultry farms. In addition, farm management surveys were implemented, "During the first two years of the extension service about one thousand farm management records were taken in each of seven counties as a basis for the new county movement." Although the survey covers acres tilled, and livestock owned, there is, in addition, personal information such as nationality, education, and standard of living survey information which provides a revealing indication of how government judged quality of life.
By 1925, the Director of the Extension Service, Mr. Ellis, described the interconnections between the then Connecticut Agricultural College (CAC), the local farming population, and the Federal government, "The Extension service is the division of the CAC which is extending information on improved methods in agriculture and home making to the rural population of the state. The extension service in Connecticut is a part of a National system of agricultural education established by federal laws." This seemingly altruistic desire to help rural populations would change as the Extension Service and the County agents who worked for the Extension Service used their local ties to help the Federal Government recruit farm labor during World War II in order to help large agricultural industries in Connecticut stay economically viable.
By the pre-World War II years, according to the Connecticut Agricultural Bulletin, for the year 1932-1933, the Connecticut Agricultural College's Division of Agriculture was one of five Divisions of the school. The other four included the Division of Arts and Sciences, the Division of Home economics, the Division of Mechanical Engineering, and the Division of Teacher Training. The Directory of Courses at this time was organized by subject heading, alphabetically, and includes Agricultural Engineering, Agronomy, Animal Husbandry, Bacteriology and Animal Disease, Botany, Chemistry, Dairy Industry, Economics, Education, English, Farm Management, French, Forestry, Geography, History, Home Economics, Textiles, Food and Nutrition, Home Administration, Horticulture, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Military Science, Physical Education, Physics, Poultry Husbandry, Religious Education, Sociology, and Zoology.
It is under the Subject Heading 'Economics' in the Directory of Courses where Agricultural Economics, and Agricultural Marketing, and Cooperative Association Marketing are found. The Professors listed, among others, Professor I.G. Davis, and Extension Economist E. Perregaux, who have extensive correspondence in the unprocessed portion of the collection.
This was the organization in place before World War II's labor shortages, and the statement below is an illustration of the overlap between College teachers, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station staff, the Extension Service and local farm bureaus, and their creation by State and Federal legislation:
"In addition to the 57 men and women formally engaged for this work, the members of the resident teaching staff of the College and the staff of the Connecticut agricultural experiment station make valuable contributions to extension teaching. Of those regularly appointed to the Extension staff, twenty-six have their headquarters at the College and work throughout the State, primarily as specialist in particular fields, and thirty-one are engaged as county agents in agriculture, home making or boys and girls' club work and have their headquarters in the offices of the Farm Bureau of their respective counties. Extension teaching deals principally with agriculture and home making, but its field is gradually broadening. It now includes at least modest beginnings in economics, the physical and biological sciences, music, dramatics and recreation. The Extension Service in Connecticut is a unit of a national system of education established by State and Federal laws. The work is centered at the College under the Director of Extension, who is responsible to the President and through him to the Trustees of the College and to the Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture."
The institutional lines between the Extension Service and the Agricultural Division are also blurry, "[b]esides their regular teaching duties at the college, the members of the staff of the Agriculture Division have delivered numerous addresses to agricultural societies and other farm organizations both within and without the state. Residential instruction is integrated with the Experimental Station and the Extension services. A number of instructors belong to both the residential instruction faculty and the extension service faculty" .
In his 1934 report as Director of the Extension Service, Mr. Ellis describes the beginnings of the connection between the Extension service and local markets, which would be broadened during World War II. This time period is when emergency projects were implemented, presumably due to the Depression. Ellis writes, "[t]he Extension service was called upon by the Agricultural Adjustment Administration to administer the adjustment programs that affect Connecticut. The Extension Service helped with such problems as the tobacco acreage reduction program, dairy marketing problem, the economic ramifications of chain stores who did not use local goods." The marketing specialists also worked with county agents and state bureau markets to improve marketing methods by creating uniform packaging of fruits and vegetables. They also assisted vegetable farmers in keeping account books, and poultry farm management extension workers aided farmers with problems of farm organization such as helping farmers refinance their debts.
By 1942, and during World War II, bureaucratic changes included the appropriation of the name the University of Connecticut, and the establishment of the College of Agriculture which incorporated the Extension Service into one of its three branches, including Resident Instruction, Storrs Agricultural Experiment Station, and Extension Service. It is this period of the collection that is represented in this finding aid.
Although the Extension service continued to describe itself as "...mak[ing] available to the people of the State information regarding the results of scientific research in agriculture and homemaking, and through a definitely planned program endeavors to interest them in putting improved methods in to practice in order that there may be a profitable agricultural industry and satisfying home and community life in the country". What this statement omits is that during World War II, the University of Connecticut Extension service, through its Emergency Farm Labor Program>, in cooperation with State and Federal governments and local businesses, played a key role in making the people of the state available as laborers to the agricultural industry. A quote from one of the documents is helpful to bridge this gap, "The Agricultural Extension Service of the College of Agriculture of the University of Connecticut is the agency responsible for the recruiting, training and placement of agricultural workers. Farm Labor offices are centrally located in each of the eight counties in the state. County Agricultural Agents are in charge of the Farm Labor Program in their counties and trained personnel in placement work, called Farm Labor Assistants, work under their direction."
During World War II, this agricultural training shifted in focus from helping farmers to improve their private land to providing Industrial Agriculture with newly trained Farm Labor. Essentially, the training of non-farmers, referred to during the war as Emergency Farm Labor - helped to fill the gap the Selective Service opened. For example, former female secretaries were taught dairy farming and high school students were taught how to help with the tobacco harvest. The latter training was the result of the State's need to help one of the larger agricultural economies of Connecticut get its product to market.
By 1945, the organization of the University became even more complex. The establishment of both the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture, within the College of Agriculture, and a Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management makes it difficult to trace the Extension Service, and determine differences between the two. The School of Agriculture had lower requirements for admission, "graduation from an approved secondary school and agricultural experience such as 4-H Club work, vocational agriculture, agricultural industry, or experience on a farm." On the other hand, the College of Agriculture required "Graduation from, or completion of 16 units in, an approved secondary school; Rank in top fourth of high school graduating class, or a satisfactory score on an aptitude test administered by the University; Applicants are urged to acquire general ed, English fluency (written and oral), acquaintance with English and American literature, basic mathematics including algebra and geometry; and introductory sciences. Foreign language ability is highly desirable."
At this time the faculty of the College of Agriculture included Mr. Clapp, as the Acting Director of Agricultural Extension, so it is assumed that the Extension Service remained under the College of Agriculture. There is correspondence from Mr. Clapp in the processed portion of the collection for the years 1945-1947.
80.3 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
The collection reflects the many bureaucratic permutations of the Agricultural Economics Department from the late 1910s until after World War II. The collection spans many institutional name changes and reorganizations. The bulk of the collection is documentation of the state of agriculture in Connecticut. The surveys, and collection of data was conducted in collaboration with The USDA, State of Connecticut and the Extension Service, which was headed by one of three Directors of the school, then known as Connecticut Agricultural College, with the President as the Executive head of the College. Under him were three Directors, the two others being the Faculty and the Director of Instruction, and the Director of the Experimental Station.
Researchers should note that the arrangement below has been imposed upon the collection of materials received in order to provide some structure. Due to the high level of overlap in responsibilities, interests and research, it is entirely possible that related materials can be found in multiple series.
Series I: Emergency Farm Labor Records (1942-1949). The EFL correspondence to State Directors of Extension 1942-1948 touches on themes of Labor supply and Administration of the program. Labor supply documentation includes information on deferments, training and service, interstate employment and recruiting as well as annual reports, budget requests, budget statements, financial statements, financial reports for the Agricultural Extension Division. Other records illustrate the complicated institutional hierarchy of the following organizations: the Connecticut organization for agricultural labor, Wartime activities, the organization of Extension Emergency Farm Labor Program and the USDA War Food Administration.
Series II: Legislation (undated, 1942-1947) includes all legislative action materials that would have had an effect on the State labor situation including a Senate Report on Farm Labor, Selective Service, and child labor. Minutes from Senate Appropriations committee hearings, printed Acts and Bills, House of Representative reports, Joint resolutions, and regulations are also included.
Series III: Extension Services (undated, 1921-1943) includes information about the Cooperative extension work between the Agricultural and Home Economics department and the state and federal government.
Series IV: United States Department of Agriculture (undated, 1840-1948) contains a vast amount of data collected as part of multiple, collaborative surveys in Connecticut as well as the wider New England region. Specific information on the following can be found in this series:ally quantification of farms as a business, including information such as farm size, acres tilled, crops harvested, and livestock owned, as well as family size, age of workers (invariably children of farmer) and number of years as a farmer. These surveys also include a variety of qualitative information such as level of education of the farmer, his wife and children; the family's nationality and race, and their standard of living. These are organized first by type of farm survey, County/Town, then by farmer.
Series V: State of Connecticut () includes the survey conducted in conjunction with the State and agricultural materials with a statewide scope.
Series VI: Connecticut Agricultural College, Connecticut Stae College, University of Connecticut (). Department files from the 1930s Agricultural school including multiple surveys, questionnaires, and farm management reports. Correspondence from the office of I.G. Davis, Professor of Agricultural Economics in the Extension Office, in Charge of Extension Work in Marketing. Agricultural department employee information and records, including the home economics administration and employee information. From the I.G. Davis/Department of Economics Administration, there is a secretary rolodex from 1930s. Scantic County, Massachusetts tree farms soil conservation service and early records of the Connecticut Valley Tobacco Association.
Series VII: Farm Labor Camp (undated, 1943-1947) includes Emergency farm labor statistical summaries from 1943-1947, a Farm Labor Program fact sheet for 1946-1947 and a Plan of Work for 1947. There is a State Farm Labor Report and a Farm Labor Employment report as well as documents regarding work simplification. There is information on the Connecticut Agricultural Wartime production capacity and the War manpower Commission. This series includes county agent reports on Farm labor, a conference address on farm labor and a Department of Labor tobacco Inspection Report. There are also analyses of Questionnaires by Tobacco supervisor, a training manual and reports on the Connecticut Farm Labor Program as well as the Out-of-State Farm Labor Programs.
Series VIII: Youth Labor Camps (undated, 1943-1947) includes reports on the Robinson farm labor camp (undated), the farm work camps, the farm labor camp summary by town. There are handwritten Farm labor camp notebooks from Paul Putnam, as well as oversized charts on farm labor camps reports and stats by town, including: tobacco work camp - Girls (1945), Tobacco work camp - Boys (1945), Fruit and vegetable work camps (1944-1945); County reports (1945-1947); Camps by town (1946-1947); County monthly reports (1947); Annual report material (1947); Federal Rural Land Use by County; Inventory of State Owned Land; Staff and Salaries for the Florida Farm Labor Camp (undated); and Selective service camp data. Finally there is information on the farm labor camps from the Connecticut Department of Health. The farm work camps reports include information on Bolton, poultry, and a class report with a good description of camps, including a bibliography. There are brochures on the camps and employee vital statistics. There is advertising claiming that Youth Labor camps "Help American Farmers save the world from Starvation."
Series IX: Women's Land Army (1942-1945) includes a WLA news bulletin, a report with employee information such as weight, height, ethnicity, and religion. There is a report on training personnel recruitment brochure. There blank certificates of completion and an transportation card. There are meeting minutes of the advisory board, Victory Farm Volunteers newsletter and a Report on the Victory Farm Volunteers dairy course and pickle program.
The Department of Agricultural Economics transferred the recordspapers in 1982.
- University of Connecticut, Agricultural Economics Department Records
- Archives & Special Collections staff
- 2010 July
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