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Posts tagged: Agriculture

Mar 22 2017

Image Discovery Week: Glass Negatives and Lantern Slides

This week, we’re joining the Harrye B. Lyon Design Library of the NCSU College of Design to celebrate Image Discovery Week by highlighting some of the unique visual resources offered through NCSU Libraries.  Check out the Design Library blog to view a sampling of the wonderful images they have to offer, which they’re sharing in a blog blitz all of this week.

Today we’re sharing some of the images from the University Archives Photograph Collection of glass plate negatives and lantern slides, showing scenes of farm life and landscapes around North Carolina (because it’s also Agricultural Awareness Week!).

"Two people standing in a tobacco field"

"Two people standing in a tobacco field"

This collection consists of glass negatives and lantern slides that were created by developing a photographic negative over a piece of light-sensitive lantern glass, and were then often hand-painted to give the image a rich, colorful finish. The slides were displayed using “Magic Lantern Slide” technology, lit up by lantern or candle light, and projected on a wall.

"Children in front of strip farming fields"

"Children in front of strip farming fields"

Much of the material in this collection was created by or received from the Agricultural Extension Service, and depicts various aspects of agriculture in North Carolina, including agricultural extension work, agricultural research, farms and farm life, animal husbandry, botany, horticulture, and crop science.

"Barn, fields and a row of flowers with mountains in the background"

"Barn, fields and a row of flowers with mountains in the background"

"African American Home Demonstration Club at Thompson's Roadside Market"

"African American Home Demonstration Club at Thompson's Roadside Market"

"Man with flowers in field in the mountains"

"Man with flowers in field in the mountains"

"Harvesting Lespedeza hay with mule-drawn agricultural equipment"

"Harvesting Lespedeza hay with mule-drawn agricultural equipment"

You can view more of the slides in this collection through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections site, where you can also access thousands of imagesvideoaudio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.  If you’d like to learn more about these resources or have any other questions, as always, please feel free to contact us!

Nov 28 2016

Communication Services Images Added to University Archives

Wear Red Get Fed Homecoming event in 2004

Thanks to a recent addition, researchers can now access photographic negatives and digital images of NC State history from 1985 to 2011.  The 44 linear feet of materials expands the scope of the North Carolina State University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Communication Services Records; in its totality, the collection now provides a photographic archive of NCSU history from the 1940s to the 2010s.

The Department of Communication Services (previously the Department of Visual Aids) provided communication leadership and innovation for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to further the mission of North Carolina State University. It maintained a collection of negatives in chronological order based on faculty and staff requests.  In 2002, reflecting a switch to digital, the images are stored on CD-ROM rather than as photographic negatives.   By 2013, Communication Services was no longer a department under the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It merged with Creative Services to become one of the three units under University Communications. The other units are News Services and Web Communications.

Some negatives that were previously acquired have already been digitized and made available on our Rare and Unique Digital Collections site.  Their subjects include portraits of faculty, staff, and students, athletics, agriculture (including livestock, crops, and farm life), and Cooperative Extension activities (especially 4-H).  This latest accession contains images of campus building groundbreakings, campus events, award ceremonies, and faculty research.  Up until now, the University Archives has not had many images from this more recent time period (1980s-2010s) because it frequently takes time for records to make their way to us.  Therefore this valuable addition fills in an essential part of the visual narrative of the University.

While much of the collection has not yet been digitized, researchers are welcome to view any materials, including negatives and digital files.  Indexes do exist for locating images by topic or department.  Please contact the Special Collections Research Center for more information or to view the collection.

Chancellor Marye Anne Fox breaks ground on the David Clark Lab expansion, October 2003

College of Design student, hard at work in 2005

CALS Tailgate in Dorton Arena, 2003

Nov 21 2016

New Items and Cross-Referencing Materials Within “Better Living”

Southern Farm Management Extension Publications, no. 5 - Inheritance Your Farm And Family

One goal of “Better Living in North Carolina” is to digitize the Cooperative Extension Service Annual Reports, print copies of which are held by NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center. A year into the project, nearly all of these reports have been digitized and are now available online. Project staff has shifted its focus to the publications of the Cooperative Extension, like 4-H newsletters, Home Economics bulletins, and even TV schedules for Extension programs.

Another purpose of “Better Living” is the digitization of hundreds of Cooperative Extension Annual Reports that exist only on microfilm. Right now, 467 reports from 1909 to 1917 digitized from four reels of microfilm are online. While icrofilm is still widely available at many libraries, it is an obsolete technology. Even when it is used, microfilm presents many limitations to copying and searching. Digitized microfilm images are by far easier to access and search.

Cover from a 1917 county agent report by John W. Mitchell. Digitized from microfilm.

These reports and publications are more than year by year documentation and products of the agricultural extension. They are also artifacts of the hard work of the men and women who developed the agricultural extension in its early history. The very first annual report (above) submitted by A&T agent John W. Mitchell, can now be seen. Some of the first club reports by Jane McKimmon are also online. It is now possible to research the first county agents of Mecklenburg, Chatham and Guilford Counties and then check for related information in other materials within our “Rare and Unique Special Collections“.

Photo of Campers Getting Ready to Start Camp Improvement Project. All 80 Photographs in "Better Living in NC" are from the S. B. Simmons Collection, Archives & Special Collections, North Carolina A&T State University.

The boon to today’s researchers is being able to quickly cross reference materials of multiple formats from the agricultural history of North Carolina. One can start with any item like an annual report, then narrow that search for a particular agent, county, region, or extension program, and also search for a conference brochure for names, related reports, and images within our “Rare and Unique Special Collections” and “Historical State“.  Agent John Mitchell is one of a few cases were biographical essays are also available. By focusing on these resources, “Better Living” complements the previous NCSU Libraries LSTA-funded digitization projects, “Cultivating A Revolution” and “Green and Growing.” The three work together to expose scores of resources documenting the impact of agricultural innovation in NC across the last century.

If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and text materials documenting extension history and other topics.

Sep 26 2016

From the Collections of John D. Wray and S. B. Simmons

Bio and Portrait of S. B. Simmons

Better Living In North Carolina is a collaborative digital project between the NCSU Libraries and the Bluford Library at North Carolina A&T State University that is designed to reveal how agricultural practices transformed the state of North Carolina over the course of the last century. This can not be done without also uncovering new revelations about the men and women who worked as part of the NC Cooperative Extension Service and our state’s vocational education programs. We are proud to announce the availability of resources from the collection of two very significant men from the Archives and Special Collections of NC A&T State University and the state’s vocational education history.

S. B. (Sidney Britton) Simmons (1894-1957) was the state supervisor of vocational agriculture for African-American schools in North Carolina for over 30 years beginning in 1924. He was a nationally recognized champion of vocational agriculture and a graduate and post graduate of multiple colleges, including A&T College and the University of Illinois.

Photo (New Farmers of America North Carolina young male group)

He was one of the founders of the National Association of New Farmers of America (NFA), a vocational agriculture organization for African American youth. Simmons brought this organization to the Tarheel State as the North Carolina Association of NFA. The NFA and the Future Farmers of America (FFA) would merge together in the mid-1960s. As state director and through the North Carolina NFA, Simmons impacted the education of thousands of African American youth via school programs, camps, conferences, broadcasts, and competitions. Highlights from the Simmons collection include several photographs of young African American men and women at various camps, demonstrations, and conferences learning different agricultural practices, from curing tobacco to herding livestock.

Photo of a Girl Curing Turkish Tobacco

View the S. B. Simmons Collection, Archives and Special Collections, F. D. Bluford Library, North Carolina A&T State University

John D. Wray (1877 – 1937) was the state’s first African-American club (later 4-H) agent, or “Negro Club Leader,” beginning in 1915. He organized the first agricultural clubs in counties that up to that time did not have African American extension agents. The first clubs for homemakers, crop rotation, peanuts, and cotton were started during his 10 years as an extension agent. His office was located on the campus of NC A&T.

"Negro boys and girls attend short course at A and T College", article by John D. Wray. Wray contributed numerous farming articles to regional and national newspapers.

Like Simmons, Wray also previously worked for the Tuskegee Institute before coming to North Carolina. His writings of proper farming techniques were circulated to state and national newspapers. Like Neil Alexander Bailey, the state’s first African American extension agent, Wray specialized in the research of corn production, and his thesis on this topic is now available online. He later became an instructor of vocational agriculture at the Laurinburg Institute, and a professor at Florida A&M University.

View the John. D. Wray Collection, Archives and Special Collections, F. D. Bluford Library, North Carolina A&T State University

More on the life and work of John D. Wray can be found at John D. Wray and the Fight for Black Farmers – NC EATS.

The resources currently available in the Better Living collection continue to grow, and there will be many more to come on the life of John D. Wray, S. B. Simmons. and others who helped to advance the agricultural practices of North Carolina.

If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of imagesvideoaudio recordings, and text materials documenting extension history and other topics.

Aug 02 2016

Hidden Documents Within The Cooperative Extension Service Annual Reports

Annual reports and plans of work created by the Cooperative (Agricultural) Extension service document their completed tasks and goals to improve the agriculture and economy of North Carolina and its citizens. While primarily composed of text, they often contained a combination of media and information visuals designed to supplement the written information. Those supplements included pamphlets, extension circulars, newspaper clippings, radio scripts, and even blueprints.

Below are several examples of unique items digitized within these reports by the “Better Living” project.

Extension Circular No. 272 - Disease Control in the Home Garden, February 1944. From Report of Extension Work in Plant Pathology in North Carolina for 1944

Extension circulars were publications on various agricultural technical topics printed on a few pages for easy use. Many more of these were digitized in the Green and Growing project.

Magazine “Business of Farming” Autumn 1956. From North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Narrative Report for 1956

There are numerous articles and press releases within these reports from North Carolina newspapers and regional agricultural magazines. These articles were usually contributed by an extension service department agent.  The article from the “Business of Farming” magazine  (above) includes an interview with W. C. Warrick, an extension agricultural engineer and a farm couple from Alexander County, North Carolina, on the development of the best type of home for a modern (1950s) farm family.

Brochure for 1966 N. C. Farm Materials Handling Exposition - North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Annual Report - Agricultural Production, Management, and Natural Resources Use 1966.

Several brochures and flyers are important records of the educational outreach of extension agents and professors.

Oversized Bar Graph - North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Narrative Report For 1943

Oversized Bar Graph - North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Narrative Report For 1943

Many reports from the Biological and Agricultural Engineering extension office contain oversized blueprints of modern farming facilities and data charts which had to be carefully unfolded so a resource could be digitized using our overhead scanner.

Architectural Drawing - North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Annual Report - Agricultural Production, Management, and Natural Resources Use 1965

Technical drawings from within the annual reports reveal the intricate planning of agricultural research stations and facilities in North Carolina.

Photos - Report of Extension Work in Plant Pathology in North Carolina For 1944

Many photographs of extension activities were printed within the text of some annual reports. In some cases original photographs were affixed to report pages as documentation of extension activities.

Resources related to all agricultural sciences taught by the Cooperative Extension are available as part of the NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics. Additionally, Historic State is rich resource for discovering information about the university’s role in creating educational materials about agriculture in North Carolina.

Feb 23 2016

Historic Seed Catalogs Now Available

Burpee seed catalog, 1887

An early Burpee catalog with cover in full color.

The Special Collection Research Center has received a wonderful historic seed catalog collection from Dr. Dennis Werner. Werner is an Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor in NC State’s Department of Horticultural Science, and he was director of the JC Raulston Arboretum from 2005 to 2008.  He has collected historical seed catalogs throughout his career.

The collection is comprised of 90 annual publications from W. Atlee Burpee & Co., as well as 17 annual publications of other nursery and seed companies. Included are those from the Gurney, Schell, Ferry, and Iowa Seed companies. The date span for the collection is 1883 to 2013. In addition to the annual catalogs, the collection contains such ephemeral materials as envelopes, order forms, inserts about new products, price lists, money order forms, catalog request forms, and other materials.

These catalogs contain a wealth of information on the history of horticulture, plant breeding and selection, and plant genetics in the United States. They are also an important record of the evolution of print design and marketing from the late nineteenth century to the present.

A guide to the collection provides more description about the catalogs.  Researchers may gain access to them through the Special Collections Research Center in the D. H. Hill Library. Please contact the Center to schedule an appointment.

Burpee seed catalog, 1894

Early Burpee catalogs were known for their illustrations.

Burpee seed catalog, 1906

Golden Bantam corn and Stringless green beans were among Burpee's best-selling seeds.

Burpee seed catalog, 1913

By the early twentieth century, flower seeds had become a significant portion of Burpee's business.

Burpee seed catalog insert, 1883

Some catalogs contain inserts, order forms, and other items.

Burpee seed catalog, 1954

By the 1950s, full-color photographs began to dominate the catalogs.

Ferry seed catalog, 1925

The collection includes some catalogs by seed companies other than Burpee.

Gurney seed catalog, 1934.

This catalog is included among the others.

Dec 07 2015

Early Radio Programs of the NC Cooperative Extension

While reviewing materials for the “Better Living in North Carolina” project, we noticed that many of the annual Cooperative Extension Service reports beginning in 1935 featured a section called Publications.

This section was a review of all printed and audio-visual methods used by the extension to educate the farming population. One of the newest, yet far-reaching educational tools used by the United States Department of Agriculture at that time was radio. The NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center’s digital program has previously uploaded photographs of extension and sports related broadcasts made by North Carolina State University on local station WPTF. Now digitization in the “Better Living” project is revealing more information about how this radio station, and others in the Tarheel state, aided the transformation of the state’s agricultural economy.

Extension radio broadcasting may have began in North Carolina as early as 1922, but was most certainly on the way by 1927. In this blog post we hope to highlight some of the earlier radio programs which brought news, entertainment, and education to the farming population of North Carolina.

L. R. Harrill, center, and 4-H club members in front of WPTF radio microphone, during North Carolina State 4-H Club Week, 1952.

State College Broadcasting Program (c. 1927 – ?, WPTF)

Photographs and early newspaper radio logs detail weekly talk broadcasts listed only as the State College Broadcasting Program. On these programs professors and extension service agents stepped up to the microphone to give weekly 10-minute talks on many agricultural topics. John A. Arey, the dairy extension specialist, discussed why dairying was suited for traditional crop farming on May 22nd, 1929. On July 3rd of the same year the legendary Dr. B. W. Wells hosted “An Excursion to the Peat Bogs of North Carolina“. Other speakers included C. H. Brannon, extension entomologist; Dr. S. G. Lehman, plant pathologist; and W. L. Clevenger of the department of dairy manufacturing. Beginning in May of 1930, daily broadcasts were made, some of which were market reports on North Carolina farm commodities.

L. R. Harrill, state 4-H leader, sitting in front of an NBC Microphone

Carolina Farm Features (September 16th, 1935 – 1944, WPTF, later WRAL)

Extension broadcasting really began to peak in NC with Carolina Farm Features, a daily 15 minute program made by the North Carolina State College Agricultural (Cooperative) Extension Service. Eugene Knight was in charge of production, and Frank H. Jeter, agricultural editor and director of publications for NC State, was the director of these programs. Monday through Saturday broadcasts were conducted by extension specialists, experiment station workers, NC state faculty, farm and home agents, home demonstration club women, and 4-H club members.

The format of the program was similar to the earlier State College radio talks and included dramatic skits, news, interviews and discussions. On the week of June 28th to July 3rd, 1937, for example, the scheduled features were “Making Good Hay“, “Selling Fruits and Vegetables“, “Supply and Expert Situation of American Tobacco“, “State College Farm and Home Week“, “Timely Poultry Practices” and a 4-H Club program on Saturday. Within a few months of its 1935 debut, Carolina Farm Features could be heard across the state as mimeographed scripts were sent out to five different stations. This program was later succeeded by the Tar Heel Farm Hour in 1954, hosted by Jeter, and produced by NC State with the NC Association of Broadcasters.

National Farm and Home Hour (1928 – 1958, NBC, WPTF)

Frank H. Jeter, director of publications for NC State, seated with ladies for a broadcast of the National Farm and Home Hour. The woman in the middle is Ruth Current, State Home Demonstration Agent following the retirement of Jane S. McKimmon. This photo is dated from the 1940s.

The National Farm and Home Hour was a variety program co-sponsored by NBC Radio and the U. S. Department of Agriculture as a public service, running on a weekday afternoon time slot. The program was based in Chicago, but broadcast from different farms throughout the United States. A highlight of the 1937 extension report was the appearance of local farmers on an special broadcast of this series which is also detailed in the April 23rd issue of The Technician.

Unfortunately modern sources indicate that no surviving episodes of the National Farm and Home Hour broadcast from North Carolina or before 1944 are known to exist. To hear a sample of this program go the UCLA Collections page of the J. Walter Brown Media Archive of the University of Georgia at Athens.

State and National 4-H Broadcasts

Halifax County, 4-H Council Meeting in 1939 for National Negro 4-H Radio Broadcast and club

Farmers and agricultural students from North Carolina A&T State University, NC State College and regional youth throughout the state appeared in local 4-H radio broadcasts and the National 4-H Club Radio Program. Two youth who gained national attention were Walton Thompson, a young man who earned a full-ride scholarship to NC State and appeared on the National Farm and Home Hour and Town Meeting of the Air, and Lydia Mae Barbee whose Washington, D.C., broadcast added special honors to the North Carolina Negro 4-H programs. A press release about Barbee can be seen in this issue of the Indianapolis Recorder. 4-H activities, information, interviews and special events were broadcast occasionally throughout most of the 1930s until a twice-monthly program began in 1938 under the direction of “Mr. 4-H”, L. R. Harrill. Harrill’s weekly 4-H broadcasts were popular and would run until the early 1960s. A similar program known as the 4-H Club of the Air was broadcast from station WAIR in Winston-Salem.

As we work more with the “Better Living In North Carolina” project there will be future posts on early instructional technology from the extension. In the meantime please visit the Rare and Unique Digital Collections site for more on the history of the Cooperative Extension.

Today there are dozens of radio (and television) programs aired weekly throughout the state on agricultural topics which are listed by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

For more information about state radio programs designed to reach farmers and a history of how extension radio broadcasting began in NC read:

Clark, J. W. (1984). Clover all over: North Carolina 4-H in action. Raleigh: NCSU, 4-H & Youth. Also available online.

Clark, J. W. (2011). Clover all over: North Carolina’s first 4-H century, 1909-2009. Raleigh, N.C: Published by the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund, in cooperation with Ivy House Pub. Group.

Carpenter, W. L., & Colvard, D. W. (1987). Radio to reach the farmers. Knowledge is power: A history of the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University, 1877-1984. Raleigh, N.C: North Carolina State University. Also available online.

Troyer, J. R. (1993). Nature’s champion: B.W. Wells, Tar Heel ecologist.

Newspaper citations for quoted radio broadcast dates, titles and histories:

College extends broadcast service. (1936, January 9). Morrisville Tribune, The State Farmer Section, p. 2.

Farm broadcast will aid farmers. (1930, April 30). Danbury Reporter

Radio speaker. (1935, May 18). Indianapolis Recorder, p. 13.

Specialists offer mid-summer advice. (1937, July 1). Beaufort News, p. 3.

State college broadcasting program over wptf, raleigh, n.c., during june and july. (1929, June 14). Marshall News-Record.

Nov 24 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from Special Collections!

We here at the Special Collections Research Center would like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope that everyone’s time with family or time of relaxing goes well. We thought the best way of celebrating Turkey Day would be showing you all the amazing turkey images from our digitized collections.

To see these images and other materials related to agriculture, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.

Nov 11 2015

Welcome to “Better Living In North Carolina”

Rebuilding a Fairland: Report of Agricultural Extension in North Carolina for the Year 1936

Rebuilding a Fairland: Report of Agricultural Extension in North Carolina for the Year 1936

“Better Living In North Carolina: Bringing Science and Technology to the People” is the latest digital collection coming to NCSU Libraries. “Better Living” is a two-year partnership between the NCSU Libraries and the F. D. Bluford Library at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University designed to increase access and discover-ability of primary source materials from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

There will be up to 511,631 digital objects scanned and made available online which will include reports, correspondence, pamphlets, photographs, scrapbooks, and other media. This project will promote the historical resources of two universities with a proud history in agricultural innovation. To date project staff has uploaded 863 pages of the Cooperative Extension Service Annual Reports from 45 reports.

Annual Report of the Agricultural Extension Service of North Carolina State College for 1940

Annual Report of the Agricultural Extension Service of North Carolina State College for 1940

A glimpse into these annual reports, published between 1933 and 1970, gives a fascinating look into the lives of North Carolina rural farmers from this era.  Radio is seen as the latest educational tool to reach the masses. Young children are encouraged to grow food and work during the second world war. Segregation is evident in the earlier bulletins as the activities of Black farmers are discussed in separate sections within the reports (which may make it easier for today’s researchers to extract information about the history of Black agricultural life in NC). One can also see the need for technological innovation through the extension. Using the 1939 annual report, for example, it is hard to believe at one time only 25 percent of rural NC farms had electricity. The photographs and text reveal the personal life of the agricultural family and role of the state college in disseminating information.

North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Annual Report 1943 - You Have Met The Challenge

North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service Annual Report 1943 - You Have Met The Challenge

Please return to this collection often as we will upload many, many more historical images from NCSU Libraries and the F. D. Bluford Library. To see these and other extension-related resources, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.

Jul 28 2015

A Visit from April McGreger

April McGreger, owner of Farmer’s Daughter brand pickles and preserves, paid a visit to the NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center this week for a special viewing of collection materials showing foodways, agriculture, and canning practices in North Carolina.  We brought out some highlights from the Oversize Photographs of the Agricultural Extension Service, 4-H Youth Development Photographs, Home Demonstration Records, and the Jane McKimmon Papers, among others.

April McGreger examines Agricultural Extension and 4-H photographs.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Publications featured canning instructions and recipes from as early as 1916. McGreger found that many of the methods and recipes that she uses in her business today are the same as those taught in these earliest extension circulars.  She also found a menu in the Oliver Max Gardner Papers that featured sauerkraut produced by the North State Canning Company in Boone, NC, in 1932, showing that kraut has long been produced and enjoyed by southerners.

Preserves from various North Carolina county girls canning clubs on display at North Carolina State Fair, 1918.

The work of the Cooperative Extension Service, Home Demonstration, and 4-H Clubs set an important foundation for developing and teaching the canning practices that McGreger celebrates and carries on in her own work. The Farmer’s Daughter brand seeks to “revive, popularize, and promote old Southern recipes, fruits, and forgotten flavors; to celebrate regionalism; and to create our own bold and inspired flavors that capture the taste and the spirit of this place that we call home.”  Having early documentation of these traditional regional flavors and practices in our collections helps us to understand and enjoy these flavors in enriching new ways.  We look forward to seeing (and tasting!) how her visit to the archives may inspire McGreger’s next batches of preserves in our local farmer’s markets and beyond.

To view any of these collections in person, check out our online collection guides and submit an online request form.