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Everett Eugene Edwards Papers


The Everett Eugene Edwards papers consist of 8.5 linear feet of material. The papers are housed in 17 document boxes. The bulk of the materials in the collection include Edwards' writings, administrative work, and teaching materials dating from 1926 to 1951. During this time he was employed at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There are other personal materials of Edwards in the collection that predate his working at the USDA. In addition, there are documents dated after his death, up to 1961. Many of the documents are relatively fragile, as there is a large quantity of onion skin and newsprint. A small number of historical documents dating from 1828 to 1898 were removed from the collection and made into their own collections. Their names and collection numbers are as follows: The Thomas Jefferson Correspondence Collection (Collection 89), Troy Farmers Club Records (Collection 339), The Myron Ballard Account Book (Collection 340), and The Israel McLaughlin Account Book and Papers (Collection 341).

Collection processing was completed on May 25, 2005, by Chris Stoner for the following course at the University of Maryland: LBSC 605--Introduction to Archives.



Biographical Sketch

Everett Eugene Edwards was born on February 12, 1900, near Waltham, Minnesota. He attended Carleton College from 1917 to 1921 and received a bachelor of arts degree. After graduating, he taught high school. In 1922 he attended Harvard University, completing a master of arts degree there in 1924. Beginning in 1923, Edwards was an instructor of history at Northwestern University. He taught there for two years and then returned to Harvard University in 1925 to take additional graduate courses. His coursework at Harvard included classes taught by Frederick Jackson Turner and Frederick Merck, two important influences on Edwards' intellectual development.

In July 1927, Edwards began work for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Washington, D.C. His initial position was associate agricultural economist in the Division of Statistical and Historical Research in the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. He worked at the USDA until 1952, the year that he died. During that time, he contributed to the field of agricultural history by writing articles, preparing bibliographies and speeches, and conducting research. He also served on committees and answered questions relating to agricultural history from government officials, scholars, students, and others. Edwards was promoted to senior agricultural historian in 1941 and was awarded a Superior Service Award posthumously in 1952.

One of Edwards' most important accomplishments was his work on Agricultural History, a publication of the Agricultural History Society. The journal, first published in January 1927, was edited by O.C. Stine, who was also the head of the Division of Statistical and Historical Research at the USDA. Edwards helped Stine in editing Agricultural History beginning in 1927 and took over the editorship in 1931. Though the journal was not published by the USDA, Stine advised Edwards to spend as much time as he needed in editing it, and he did so until 1951. Although Edwards' illness prevented him from doing much work on the 1952 issues, he still held the title of editor. Edwards' contribution to this journal is still recognized by the Agricultural History Society in the Everett E. Edwards Memorial Award. The award is granted annually to the graduate student who submits the best manuscript on agricultural history.

In addition to the activities listed above, Edwards taught courses on agricultural history at the USDA Graduate School, American University, the Catholic University of America, the University of Missouri, and the University of Minnesota.

Edwards married Helen Evelyn Hackler in 1938. They had two children, Thomas F. Edwards and Terence E. Edwards. Edwards died of a heart attack on May 1, 1952.

Scope and Content Note

The bulk of the materials contained in the Everett Eugene Edwards Papers cover the years 1926-1951. His writings, speeches, and bibliographies make up most of the collection. Other items include administrative information related to his position at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), materials for courses he taught, personal materials, and historical materials that he may have used for research.

The collection consists of paper documents and their duplicates. Frequently, the duplicates are found in typewritten, onion skin, and edited formats. Documents were originally housed in large envelopes with a typed description of its contents. The original order was alphabetical by the envelope name, except for the historical materials, which were found together in one box and did not seem to adhere to any order. The arrangement of the records was modified so that the records would fall into three series: Writings, Administrative Papers, and Educational Materials. The Writings series is divided into the following subseries: articles, speeches, reviews, and bibliographies.

From administrative letters found with several groups of 19th century materials in the collection (account books, letters, and land deeds), it appeared that Edwards reviewed historical materials given to the Agricultural History Unit, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, or to the USDA Library. Upon examination, it was evident that these materials warranted their own collections. Special Collections staff separated the materials and created the following collections: The Thomas Jefferson Correspondence Collection (Collection 89), Troy Farmers Club Records (Collection 339), The Myron Ballard Account Book (Collection 340), and The Israel McLaughlin Account Book and Papers (Collection 341). Other notable historical documents still included in the collection are a group of letters written by Frederick Jackson Turner (Series II).

Researchers may find this collection of interest because of Edwards' involvement in promoting the study of agricultural history by editing a major journal, compiling bibliographies, and teaching.

Series Description

Series I. Writings. 1836-1961. 13 boxes.

This series includes articles, speeches, reviews, and bibliographies written or compiled by Everett E. Edwards.

  • Subseries IA. Articles. 1836-1950.
  • This subseries includes Edwards' published and unpublished articles, press releases, reports, drafts, and revisions arranged alphabetically by title. Reviews of or correspondence relating to the articles can be found with some of the articles. Some articles written by other authors are present.

  • Subseries IB. Speeches. 1929-1933.
  • In this subseries are speeches prepared by Edwards to be given by Edwards or his superiors (such as O.C. Stine) at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). There are drafts, revisions, and transcripts. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

  • Subseries IC. Reviews. 1928-1951.
  • Edwards' reviews written for Agricultural History and other publications belong to this subseries. They are arranged alphabetically by the title of the book reviewed.

  • Subseries ID. Bibliographies. 1928-1961.
  • This subseries includes bibliographies compiled by Edwards. The bibliographies are published versions, drafts, and revisions. Also, in some cases there is correspondence about specific bibliographies. The subseries is arranged alphabetically.

Series II. Administrative Papers. 1907-1951. 2 2/3 boxes.

The second major series is Administrative Papers. It includes memoranda for different projects and research that Edwards worked on while he was with the USDA. There are also forms and tests related to his position at the USDA. This series is arranged alphabetically.

Series III. Educational Materials. 1917-1951. 1 1/3 boxes.

In this series are syllabi prepared by Everett E. Edwards for some of the courses he taught. Also included are lists of agricultural history courses taught in the United States and handouts Edwards distributed to his classes. If it was not evident whether a piece of writing was a published article or a class handout, it was included in Subseries IA.


Edwards, Everett E. Personnel records from the collection administrative files.

Kellar, Herbert A. Agricultural History, 27: 2-18 (January, 1953).

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