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Farmers' Institutes records

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1903.1/1765

Abstract

Title:
Farmers' Institutes records
Author/Creator:
Farmers' Institutes
Collection number:
72-110
Size:
5.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
1896-1910
Inclusive dates:
1896-1910
Collection Area:
University of Maryland
Repository:
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email: askhornbake@umd.edu
Abstract:

The records of the Farmers' Institutes, a Department of the Maryland Agricultural College, cover the years 1896 to 1910. Document types include correspondence, news clippings, inventories, a scrapbook of programs, broadsides, and syllabi, and a history of the Institutes. The Farmers' Institutes were created by state legislation in 1896 in order to provide agricultural education to farmers throughout the state. Instruction took place in the form of meetings held in each county, with national and international experts on agricultural topics speaking to the farmers on specific agricultural issues. The majority of correspondence and materials are from William L. Amoss's tenure as Director. Amoss served as Director of the Farmers' Institutes from 1896 to 1910.

Important Information for Users of the Collection

Restrictions:

This collection is open for research.

Preferred citation:

Farmers' Institutes records, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.

Status:

This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Under the auspices of the Vansville Farmer's Club of Beltsville, a Farmers' Institute was organized and held its first meeting in Beltsville, Maryland in December 1894. The meeting participants appointed a committee to plan a program to be held in 1896 to bring to the attention of the state legislature the need and importance of an organization committed to improving agricultural conditions within the state, such as those in Vermont, New York, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

A Model Farmers' Institute was held in Annapolis on January 14, 1896, with the goal of gaining financial support from the state legislature. The group was successful and the Maryland State Farmers' Institute was created by state legislation on March 27, 1896, with an initial appropriation of $3,000 per year. The legislature established the Farmers' Institute as a department of the Maryland Agricultural College, and provided for its director to be appointed by college trustees. Each county in the state was to host at least one Institute annually.

William L. Amoss was appointed the first Director of the Farmers' Institute Department of the Maryland Agricultural College (MAC) in 1896, a position he held until 1910. He organized Farmers' Institute meetings in each county, securing speakers, keeping attendance records, tracking subject matter important to the farmers in each locale, and acting as chairman at the meetings. Amoss was responsible for many of the educational trains and boats which traveled throughout the state disseminating agricultural information. He described the Institutes as "a far reaching system of popular education in agriculture," and as "the Adult farmers (sic) school where men or women skilled in all departments of agriculture, and from any section of the globe, will have an opportunity to meet our farmers." Posters advertising some of the earliest meetings included the motto, "No Theory! All Practical!" When Maryland Governor Lloyd Lowndes addressed an Institute meeting in Allegany County in February 1896, he told the assembled farmers he had been "warned . . . not to appear at the farmers' institute (sic) except in the working dress of a farmer." Despite the local flavor of the Institute meetings, speakers were agricultural experts who traveled to all the counties of Maryland, and included farmers, professors of agriculture and home economics, and directors of experiment stations with national and international reputations, including George T. Powell, Director of the Farmers' Institute of New York; R. W. Silvester, President of the Maryland Agricultural College; James Wilson, U. S. Secretary of Agriculture from 1897 to 1913; and James Armstrong, Land Commissioner of Ireland.

William Amoss was dismissed from his post by the MAC Board of Trustees in 1910. Richard S. Hill was appointed to replace him as Director of the Department of Farmers' Institutes and held that post from 1911 to 1918.

The federal Smith-Lever Act, passed in 1914, made funds available for farm and home demonstration agents and established a partnership between the United States Department of Agriculture and the land grant institutions that became the Cooperative Extension Service. When the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service was established at the Maryland Agricultural College in 1916, it largely replaced the Farmers' Institute Department.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Records of the Farmers' Institute cover the years 1896 to 1910. Document types represented in the collection include correspondence, manuscripts, scrapbooks, ephemera, newspaper clippings, and posters and pamphlets. The materials cover the establishment and administration of the Farmers' Institute, particularly local meetings and correspondence with speakers, and a history of the Institute. The majority of correspondence is to or from William L. Amoss.

The records also document the annual "Model Farmers' Institute," and include surveys of State Farmers' Institutes.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

University of Maryland Libraries received the Records of the Farmers' Institute in 1972. Additional materials were separated from the records of the Agricultural Experiment Station during processing in 1983 and incorporated into the original grouping. The scrapbook which comprises Series III, Folder 1, was transferred to the Records of the Farmers' Institute from the Maryland Manuscripts collection in 1983. During reprocessing of the Papers of William L. Amoss in 2005, a series comprised exclusively of materials related to the Farmers' Institute was separated from that collection and incorporated into the Records of the Farmers' Institute as Series I and Series II. Three documents pertaining exclusively to Amoss's work on the Louisiana Purchase Exposition; files from his home office at Mt. Soma; and a list of the office contents of the Farmer's Market Company of Baltimore were transferred from the Records of the Farmers' Institute to the Papers of William. L. Amoss. The Records of the Farmers' Institute were reprocessed in February 2006.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Processed: 1972. Guide revised: December 1987, L. Zintz, A. Turkos. Addenda incorporated and guide revised: March 1988, P. McCracken; October 1990, E. Ocasio. Guide revised and collection reprocessed: February 2006, Ann Hanlon

Processing note:

All items have been placed in acid-free folders. Oversize items have been unfolded and removed to a flat oversize box. Staples and metal fasteners have been removed. Newspaper clippings have been photocopied on acid-free paper where possible.

A series comprised of materials related exclusively to the Farmers' Institutes was removed from the Papers of William L. Amoss and added to the Records of the Farmers' Institute as Series I: Meetings and Series II: Reports. Materials found in the Records of the Farmers' Institute dealing primarily with the personal business of William L. Amoss were removed to that collection.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Ann Hanlon, April 2006.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Meetings, 1896-1910 (1.25 linear feet)

This series is comprised of notebooks, correspondence, and ledgers related to Farmers' Institute meetings held throughout the state of Maryland. Correspondence is primarily between William L. Amoss and Institute speakers. Notable correspondents include George T. Powell and R. W. Silvester, and a letter from Amoss to Governor Edwin Warfield concerning an agricultural museum to promote the state. Notebooks include information on the audience reception of particular speakers and topics, attendance, and expenses. Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Meetings, 1896-1897 series 1box 1folder 1
Meetings, 1897-1898 series 1box 1folder 2
Meetings, 1898-1899 series 1box 1folder 3
Meetings (Includes oversize), 1900-1901 series 1box 1folder 4
Meetings, 1901-1902 series 1box 1folder 5
Meetings, 1902-1903 series 1box 1folder 6
Meetings, 1903-1904 series 1box 1folder 7
Meetings, 1903-1904, 1904-1905 series 1box 1folder 8
Meetings, 1905-1906 series 1box 1folder 9
Meetings, 1906-1907 series 1box 2folder 1
Meetings, 1907-1908 series 1box 2folder 2
Meetings, 1908-1909 series 1box 2folder 3
Meetings, 1909-1910 [1] series 1box 2folder 4
Meetings, 1909-1910 [2] series 1box 2folder 5
Meeting Notes, Undated series 1box 2folder 6
Speakers, 1896-1907 series 1box 3folder 1
Speakers, 1901-1906 series 1box 3folder 2
Speakers, 1910 and undated series 1box 3folder 3

Series 2: Annual Reports, 1896-1910 (1.5 linear feet)

This series is comprised of the annual reports for the Farmers' Institute submitted by the Director, William L. Amoss, to the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Agricultural College. Reports include newspaper clippings and meeting programs in addition to the Director's comments and summary. Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Report, 1896-1897 series 2box 1folder 1
Report -- Index and Notes, 1896-1897 series 2box 1folder 2
Report -- Clippings, 1896-1897 series 2box 1folder 3
Report, 1897-1898 series 2box 1folder 4
Report, 1898-1899 series 2box 1folder 5
Report, 1899-1900 series 2box 1folder 6
Report, 1900-1901 series 2box 2folder 1
Survey for 1901 Season, April-May 1901 series 2box 2folder 2
Report, 1901-1902 series 2box 2folder 3
Report, 1903-1904 series 2box 2folder 4
Report, 1904-1905 series 2box 2folder 5
Report, 1905-1906 series 2box 2folder 6
Report, 1905-1906 series 2box 2folder 7
Report, 1905-1906 series 2box 2folder 8
Report -- Clippings, 1905-1906 series 2box 2folder 9
Report, 1906-1907 series 2box 2folder 10
Report, 1907-1908 series 2box 2folder 11
Report, 1907-1908 series 2box 2folder 12
Report, 1907-1908 series 2box 3folder 1
Report, 1908-1909 series 2box 3folder 2
Report, 1908-1909 series 2box 3folder 3
Report, 1908-1909 series 2box 3folder 4
Report, 1909-1910 series 2box 3folder 5
Report, 1909-1910 series 2box 3folder 6
Report, 1909-1910 series 2box 3folder 7
County Boards, 1909-1910 series 2box 3folder 8

Series 3: State Farmers' Institute, 1902-1908 and undated (3 folders)

This series is comprised of a scrapbook containing programs from the State Farmers' Institutes held at various locations throughout Maryland during 1902 and comments on program attendance, proceedings, and results. Also included are two surveys to assess practices among other Farmers' Institutes concerning finances and general policies and procedures. Arrangement is chronological..

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Scrapbook, 1902 series 3box 1folder 1
Survey on Financing, 1908 series 3box 1folder 2
Survey of other State Farmers' Institutes, Undated series 3box 1folder 3

Series 4: History: 1896-1907, 1907-1909 and undated (1 folder)

This series consists of one folder containing a chronological history of the Institute and its activities, from 1896 to 1907.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
History (Oversize), 1907-1909 and undated series 4box 1folder 1

Series 5: Model Farmers' Institute, 1896-1910 (2 folders)

This series consists of two folders. One contains a list of lecture topics and speakers, and notes on each meeting, broken down by county and arranged chronologically. The second includes a summary list of lecture topics and speakers and the number of times each topic was addressed, broken down by county and arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Model Farmers' Institute -- Meeting Notes (Oversize), 1896-1910 series 5box 1folder 1
Model Farmers' Institute -- Subjects Treated (Oversize), 1896-1910 series 5box 1folder 2

Series 6: Programs and Posters, 1906-1910 (1 folder)

This series contains two program schedules, one for the "Back to the Farm Movement" meeting held in October 1910 and another for the "Summer School and Farmers' Institute Conference" held in August 1906. Also included in this series are posters announcing the program for Farmers' Institutes held at various locations in Maryland. Additional programs can be found in Series I: Meetings and Series II: Reports.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Programs and Posters (Oversize), 1906-1910 series 6box 1folder 1

Series 7: Inventories, Lists, and Indices, 1903-1910 (1 folder)

This series consists of one folder containing inventories, lists, and indices on various topics. Included are a list of suggested lecture topics and sources helpful in planning lectures from the department files of Dr. R. S. Hill, an index to the Library Wagon House, and three inventories documenting train car expenses, typewriting and telephone expenses, and Institute-owned property.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Inventories, Lists, and Indices, 1903-1910 series 7box 1folder 1

Series 8: Newspaper Clippings, 1896-1910 (2 folders)

This series consists of two folders containing newspaper clippings pertaining to the Institute and local meetings from various publications. Arrangement is chronological.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Newspaper Clippings, 1896-1897 series 8box 1folder 1
Newspaper Clippings (Oversize), 1900-1910 series 8box 1folder 2

Related Material

A series comprised exclusively of Farmers' Institute materials was separated from the Papers of William L. Amoss and placed with the Records of the Farmers' Institute. The Papers of William L. Amoss includes material related to his work as Director of the Farmers' Institute from 1896 to 1910. His papers also include correspondence regarding his dismissal from that position.

The Archives of the Vansville Farmers Club include documentation on the development of the state of Maryland's system of Farmers' Institutes.

The Cooperative Extension Service continued the work of the Farmers' Institute. The Records of the Cooperative Extension Service date to its formation in 1914 and include materials related to the Farmers' Institute's mission of educational outreach to farmers.

Bulletins, programs, minutes, and reports of the Farmers' Institute, dating from 1896 to 1949 are also part of University Publications (University Publications, UPUB F10.001). This grouping also includes programs from the annual Farmer's Days held at the College Park campus, which appear to have replaced the Farmers' Institutes.

A Report of the director of Farmers' Institutes to the Governor and General Assembly of Maryland for 1898 can be found in the Maryland Room (Maryland Rare Stacks, S71 .F2 1898).

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.

Subjects

Names (Added Entries)