Series VII, USDA History Collection

USDA History Collection
Series VII. Photographs, ca. 1860-1995. ca. 7 cubic ft.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE | Container List   ||   Collection Map   Map

Photographs and other graphic images, including photoprints, slides, filmstrips, and non-photographic prints such as etchings and woodcuts. Most of the photographs have been separated from other series in the collection, including the Class File (Series II). There are also photographs collected by Emerson Brooks, an employee of the Statistical Reporting Service, and other photographs and photo albums found among ERS records. The vast bulk of the photos are modern gelatin silver prints. This series also includes some printed material such as captions, brochures, letters, notes, pages torn from texts, and booklets and pamphlets, that are either directly or tangentially related to specific photographs.

The photographs are organized in three subseries.
1. Photographs separated from other series (including Class file photographs)
2. Emerson Brooks photographs
3. Other photos found with collection

Subseries 1. Photographs separated from other series, ca. 1860-1995. 3 cubic ft. | Container List

Subseries 1 consists primarily of photographs removed from Series II, the Class File, as well as photos separated from Series I and other series. The headings match those of the folders from which they were separated.

Notable among the items removed from Series I, the Documentary Files, are the Buildings File photos from subseries 1, which includes pictures of many USDA buildings and properties in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Also of interest is a group of numbered photographs taken by a USDA official in Liberia in 1953. These pictures were found with materials in subseries 4 (the 1957-1977 portion of the Documentary Files), in the back of a file cabinet, near the section on the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). A cassette tape was found with the prints on which the speaker identifies most of the images by number. Some of the photographs are identified by notes on the back also. A list of the photos and a transcription of the tape are filed with the prints. The tape (Audio 097), filed in Series VIII, is addressed to Mr. Robert Winters. (1)  The speaker is probably Charles R. Lockard although he is not identified on the tape, either on the label or in the audio track. (2)

The Series II material includes many portraits of individuals, mostly photographs, but also etchings, photographs of paintings, and other non-photographic prints. They were originally filed by name of individual or in groups under letters of the alphabet. We have filed every individual portrait that could be identified under the name of the individual. Group pictures are filed under the name of the most prominent individual, with other important people noted in the folder title. However, not all names could be determined or noted.

Subseries 2. Emerson Brooks photographs, ca. 1930-1970. ca. 2 cubic ft. | Container List

The Emerson Brooks photographs span a wide range of agriculture-related topics. Brooks (1905-1982) was a USDA employee for most of his working life, starting with the Crop Reporting Service in the 1930s and most notably with the Statistical Reporting Service. He wrote two books, Growth of a Nation (1956) and The Story of Agricultural Estimates (1969).

The Emerson Brooks photographs deal with American agriculture and American history in general, and reflect the collector's personal interests as well. The bulk of this subseries dates from the 1930s to the 1970s. It includes many negatives, slides, and filmstrips. Printed matter found with the photos is filed either in consecutive folders (where the printed matter pertains directly to specific photographs, such as captions or letters), or at the end of the subseries (where no direct relationship between specific photographs and the printed material can be established). The printed matter includes brochures, pamphlets, maps, charts, clippings, pages torn from books, and booklets.

The Brooks photographs were originally arranged in broad geographical divisions (South, North, West, etc.) and numerous smaller categories, but the materials had become largely disordered over years of use; many photos were in unlabeled folders, and other folders were found empty. During processing, the original folder headings were preserved as much as possible, but many photos were filed under new headings that have been added based on the content of the images. The pictures are now arranged in one alphabetical list that includes personal names, geographic names, and subjects. Keywords have been added to the container list to alert researchers to the specific subjects of images within folders.

The sources of the photographs include the USDA, the National Archives, the Library of Congress, and other cultural institutions such as historical societies. Sources are often indicated by information stamped on the back of the photograph by the respective institution.

Subseries 3. Other photographs found with the collection, ca. 1950-1980. ca. 1 cubic ft. | Container List

Subseries 3 consists of miscellaneous photographic items found with the USDA History Collection that are not necessarily part of any series. These include portraits of ERS employees, photograph albums depicting international exhibits in Cairo, Egypt, and photographs regarding foreign agriculture. The bulk of this material dates from the 1950s through the 1980s.


Notes

1. Dr. Robert K. Winters served more than 42 years in the USDA Forest Service, including 12 years in international work. See his monograph, International Forestry in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1980, a copy of which is in the USDA History Collection, Series II, Class File, file "Winters, Robert K. 1980."

2. An envelope found with the photographs (and stored with them now) was stamped with the name "C. R. Lockard ... Clearwater, Florida." Charles Lockard is listed in Winters' report (see above) as a Forestry Advisor on a mission to Liberia in 1953. See "Appendix B--USDA Specialists in Forestry and Related Fields."

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