This guide provides an overview of research resources relating to the history of agriculture at the University of Illinois Archives. Several types of archives are available.
When it opened in 1868, the College of Agriculture drew many students from farm backgrounds, but few majored in agriculture. Newspapers, county fairs, and equipment manufacturers were transforming the pattern of general subsistence farming to regional specialization dependent on railroads for marketing farm products in urban areas. At the same time, advances in scientific and technical knowledge were laying the basis for university level teaching and research. The Archives contains many records related to the history of the College and its faculty and students. Materials are organized by creating office.
The college administrativce files, 1888-2006, document the administration of the college and the development of Illinois agriculture. Particular record series of interest include Subject Files, Letterbooks, and the Administrative FIle. They are supplemented by Faculty Minutes, Executive Committee Minutes, a Budget File, and a Personnel File. Additional material on leadership is found in the papers of Deans Eugene V. Davenport, Herbert W. Mumford, Henry P. Rusk, and Orville G. Bentley.
The International Programs File, relates primarily to programs in India. Two files record historical activities of the college for 1904-75, the Agricultural Alumni Association Historical Committee Records, and Historical Material. The archives also holds the Subject File of the College of Veterinary Medicine. Fifty-six published records relate to program development (8), academic affairs (13), extension (5), alumni (1), publicity (3), committees and faculty (7), and international programs (19). Subject Files, Letterbooks, Correspondence, ResearchProject Files, a general Project FIle, and Biennial Reports. Bulletins date from 1885 and county Soil Reports from 1911. The 1941-90 work of the Dixon Springs Agricultural Center in Southern Illinois is covered in three series; "This Week at Dixon Springs", Dixon Springs Publications, and Dixon Springs Sheep Day Proceedings.
Most activities of the Cooperative Extension Service are covered in the College Subject Files. Superintendent's Letterbooks, Agricultural Education Letterbooks, and Manteno Young Women's Country Club's Secretary Books describe early agricultural education programs. Photographic files document home economics, and Four-H work.
Office files are supplemented by the papers of Robert Hieronymus, Darl
Hall, Earl Regnier, Frank Mynard, Robert Walker and James Evans and 1972 oral history interviews with directors John Spitler and William Kammlade. Nearly 100 extension publications provide a comprehensive record of the dissemination of agricultural information throughout the state. Extension circulars date from 1916 and press releases from 1934. Home economics programs and rural sociology and Four-H work are thoroughly documented.
Agricultural Economics Department programs are covered by a Departmental Subject File, Subject File, a Committee File, the Farm Cost Accounting Records, the Farm Account Summary Sheets, and the Farm Management Tour Material. A CIC-AID Rural Development Research Project File, documents the work of American universities involved in international agricultural education projects. Seventy-one published record series include farm business, accounting and marketing publications. Agricultural Engineering Department research is reported in Research Projects Reports. Published records relate to farm structures, rural electrification and land improvements.
The Animal Science and Dairy Science Departments' records include a Subject File, Departmental Correspondence and Photographs. Forty-seven publications relate to cattle, poultry, sheep, and swine. Human Resources and Family Studies Department programs are documented in a Subject File. Fifteen published record series include bulletins, manuals, and program materials dating from 1895.
Fourteen published series relate to horticulture, floriculture, vegetable crops and early work in landscape architecture.
The Plant Pathology Department activities are described in a Subject File. Ten published series relate to plant diseases and pest management. Five cubic feet of Vocational Agriculture publications dating from 1919 relate to agricultural instruction in technical and secondary schools.
Faculty papers provide a major supplement for the departmental records. In Agricultural Economics, the papers of Harold Case (1915-65), Martin Mosher (1916-78), Charles Stewart (1915-71), David Lindstrom (1930-75), Joseph Mutti (1943-69), Elmer Sauer (1937-71), Harold Hannah (1937-84), Franklin Reiss (1940-81), Earl Swanson (1939-93), and Harvey Schweitzer (1962-89) provide 47 cubic feet on farm policies and management and international agriculture. The papers of agricultural engineers Emil Lehmann (1906-72), Ray Shawl (1890-1966), and Karl Ekblaw (1917-29) contain photographs and operating manuals for agricultural machinery.
In Agronomy, the papers of Cyril Hopkins (1898-1918) and Robert Jugenheimer (1936-76) relate to international agriculture, the papers of William Burlison (1888-1968) contain soybean records and international crop genetics research is represented in the papers of Jack and Harry Harlan (1905-85). The papers of fifteen faculty members in Animal and Dairy Science include sources on nutrition in the Harold Mitchell papers (1906-66), genetics in the Elmer Roberts Papers (1898-1978), Russian agriculture in the Andrew Nalbandov Papers (1924-87), artificial insemination in the Phillip Dziuk Papers (1953-91) and round barns in the Wilber Fraser Papers (1890-1936).
The Human Resources and Family Studies faculty papers include those of Isabel Bevier (1879-1955), Lita Bane (1919-54), Nellie Perkins (1924-68), and Janice Smith (1956-67). In Horticulture the papers of Joseph Blair (1905-54), Maxwell Dorsey (1890-1968), Frederick Weinard (1917-67), and Herman Dorner (1891-1938) document pomology, landscape architecture and floriculture. Among plant pathologists, the archives holds the papers of David Gottlieb (1940-81), Halbert Thornberry (1929-94) and James Sinclair (1941-89).
A full list of faculty papers is avilable under the faculty member's home department.
In cooperation with the Farm Business Farm Management Service, the Archives has acquired the account books of twenty-eight Illinois farms in twenty-one counties. The farms were selected on a regional basis for their complete records over a long period. Three farm accounts began prior to 1920. The records show farm location, acreage, annual plantings, property inventories and receipts and expenses. Links to the description of these account books and other farm records are listed here (scroll down to #'s 60 to 87).
The records of three farm-related organizations supplement the agricultural records of the university and its faculty. The Farm Foundation Archives, and Joseph Ackerman Papers (1930-76) provide sources on private sector funding of agricultural research on tenancy and other topics.
The National Association of Farm Broadcasters Archives, and the Dix Harper Papers (1951-91) provide sources for the study of agricultural communications in the radio and television era.
The National Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Archives contain sources on agricultural education and related areas at the postsecondary level in North America.
The records of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow provide information relating to the student professional organization of aspiring agricultural communicators.
The Matthias Dunlap Papers (1839-79) and Henry M. Dunlap Papers (1874-1931) provide material on agricultural journalism and orchards. The Allen Family Papers (1774-1993) record the activities of four generations of Tazewell County farmers. The Earl Hughes Papers (1948-86) relate to seed corn production. The Rolfe Family Papers (1885-1972)include records on farmer-tenant relations. A 1974 Charles Shuman oral history tape contains a discussion of the American Farm Bureau Federation. The John L. Strohm Papers (1927-87) include information on international agricultural journalism and agribusiness investments.
The C. F. Marley Papers (1956-85) contain numerous photographs of agricultural activities and equipment taken for commercial publications and constitute and exception photographic record of agricultural machinery and techniques.
The University Archives is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Wednesday, when we open at 10 am. For more information, contact:
1408 West Gregory Drive
Urbana, IL 61801
Telephone (217) 333-0798
Fax (217) 333-2214
This document is based upon Agricultural Research Resources at the University of Illinois Archives, Information Leaflet #7, February 1995, from the University Archives. Last updated September 17, 2007.