Celebrating the Smith-Lever Act (& Cooperative Extension!), Part III

Happy 100th Birthday, Smith-Lever Act!

Continuing the theme of extension and agriculture work, today’s post features USDA publications from the 1930s to the 1980s. As you’ll see, it’s not just about cooking, but farming, gardening, building, organizing, and buying. All the publications below come from the same collection in Special Collections: Ms2011-022, National Agriculture Publications, 1917-1990. You can see the full finding aid, with bibliography, here.

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As with posts from the last two weeks, you might notice some common themes: self-sufficiency, food preparation and preservation, home repair, and farming. But there are some new aspects of some of these (the emergence of electric lighting on farms and how to plan a house/rooms within a house, for example). There are a wide range of World War II-era items in the collection, but I selected one of my favorites (“How to Make Your Ironing Equipment Last Longer”), which features an extra section with an image and a message at the top when it’s unfolded completely.

Like many of our pamphlet/publication collections, we continue to add items as we receive new donations, so you can always check back with us and see what’s new. In the meantime, take a minute and think about Cooperative Extension programs everywhere and all the hard work they continue to do. Special Collections is happy to help document their past for our future.

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