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Henry Agard Wallace Collection


The Henry Agard Wallace Collection in Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library occupies eight linear feet, consisting of eight document boxes and four flat pamphlet boxes. The inclusive dates of the collection are 1921-1943, with the bulk of the records from 1933-1940, during Wallace's tenure as Secretary of Agriculture. The collection was originally housed in the library of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.

The materials are, generally, in good condition. Preservation copies have been made of any fragile clippings and papers. There are no access restrictions on the collection.

This collection was processed in November 2004 by Heather Halpin as an archives graduate student completing a practicum.

Finding Aid File


Biographical Sketch

Henry Agard Wallace was born in Adair County, Iowa, on October 7, 1888, to Henry Cantwell and Carrie (Brodhead) Wallace. He received a bachelor of science in animal husbandry at Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1910 and was well-known as an agricultural economist. He served as editor of his family's weekly farm journal, Wallaces' Farmer (later Wallaces' Farmer and Homestead) from 1921-1933.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Wallace Secretary of Agriculture. As Secretary, he proposed and presided over New Deal-era agriculture programs, including:

  • The Agricultural Adjustment Acts of 1933 and 1938, which encouraged farmers to voluntarily reduce planted acreage and imposed taxes and controls to eliminate agricultural surpluses.
  • The ever-normal granary plan, which created a grain storage program to protect against price gouging in drought years.
  • The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936, which subsidized participating farmers for planting soil-conserving crops, such as grasses and legumes.

During his tenure, Wallace also encouraged implementation of drought relief plans, food distribution efforts, and food assistance programs, such as the school lunch and school milk programs and the food stamp program. He expanded the United States Department of Agriculture's research in studying plant and animal breeding.

In 1940, President Roosevelt recommended to the Democratic convention that Wallace be his vice presidential running-mate. Wallace resigned his post as Secretary of Agriculture, and upon winning the election, became Vice President of the United States. He served in that position from 1941-1944. He was appointed Secretary of Commerce by Roosevelt in 1945 and resigned from that post in September 1946. Wallace was the presidential candidate for the Progressive Party in 1948 before retiring from public life.

Wallace authored or co-authored at least 16 books. While Secretary of Agriculture, he published America Must Choose (1934); Statesmanship and Religion (1934); New Frontiers (1934); Whose Constitution? (1936); Technology, Corporations, and the General Welfare (1937); Paths to Plenty (1938; 1940 revised and renamed Price of Freedom); and The American Choice (1940). Wallace received honorary degrees from Iowa State College, Washington and Jefferson College, Drake University, University of Arizona at Tucson, Columbia University, Harvard University, and Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.

Wallace married Ilo Browne in 1914 and had three children. He died in Danbury, Connecticut on November 18, 1965.

Scope and Content Note

The Henry Agard Wallace Collection contains three series of records: Official Communications; Clippings; and Oral History, Volumes 2 and 3. The bulk of the items are dated 1933-1940, when Wallace served as Secretary of Agriculture. However, there are clippings from as early as 1921 when he served as editor for Wallaces' Farmer, and from 1940-1943 during his Vice Presidency.

Before the National Agricultural Library (NAL) accessioned the collection, most of the speeches and press releases were numbered in pencil and inventoried. A copy of the inventory is included in Series I. According to this inventory, the current collection of speeches and press releases is incomplete. The clippings were cataloged as part of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics' Pamphlet Collection. All red pencil markings and stamps were added prior to NAL accession. There is also a folder of editorial abstracts compiled from Wallaces' Farmer and Wallaces' Farmer and Homestead from 1921-1933 when Henry A. Wallace was editor. A note in the collection indicates that Wallace requested that this compilation be made. The two volumes of The Reminiscences of Henry Agard Wallace have been marked and corrected in pencil, presumably by him. Corrections made include the insertion of names and background information, as well as a few typographical corrections. Pages with corrections are listed in the Series Description on page 7 of this finding aid.

The Henry Agard Wallace Collection contains records relating to agricultural policy in the 1930s. Topics of interest in this collection include: the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933, with the subsequent actions taken regarding this Act (including the Supreme Court case and the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938); the Soil and Domestic Allotment Act of 1936; the initiation of school lunch and school milk programs; and political and social happenings in Washington, DC, during the 1930s. Individual records of interest include Secretary Wallace's speech to the New York Times National Book Fair (November 4, 1937) with a deleted paragraph that was leaked to the press and published by the Washington Daily News (November 5, 1937), and a newspaper photograph of the 1935 Harvard University honorary degree recipients, including Wallace and Albert Einstein (New York Times, June 21, 1935).

NAL does not house the complete collection of Henry Agard Wallace's papers. Please refer to the Bibliography of this finding aid for further information on other collections.

Series Description

Series I. Official Communications. 1932-1938. 3.75 boxes.

This series contains speeches given, press releases, and a memorandum issued by Wallace in his capacity as Secretary of Agriculture.

  • Series I.A. Speeches. 1932-1938. 3.25 boxes
  • Speeches, remarks, and transcripts of radio talks, addresses, and Congressional hearings given by Henry Agard Wallace when he was Secretary of Agriculture. Arranged by year, then by month.

  • Series I.B. Press Releases. 1933-1937. .5 box.
  • Statements and press releases issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Office of Information, Press Service containing quotes or letters from Secretary Wallace. Arranged by year.

  • Series I.C. Memorandum. 1935. 1 folder.
  • Memorandum from Secretary Wallace to all bureau chiefs, members of sub-committees, and members of the Inter-Bureau Committee regarding the working procedures of the Soil Conservation Service. Dated May 4, 1935.

Series II. Clippings. 1921-1943. 4.25 boxes.

Articles written about and by Henry Agard Wallace, as editor of Wallaces' Farmer and Wallaces' Farmer and Homestead, as Secretary of Agriculture, and as Vice President of the United States.

  • Series II.A. Clippings about Henry A. Wallace. 1932-1940. 2.75 boxes.
  • Newspaper articles written about Henry Agard Wallace regarding his policy, life, and travels as Secretary of Agriculture. Includes articles from the (Washington) Post, New York Times, (Washington) Star, and Christian Science Monitor, as well as other newspapers. Arranged by year, then by month.

  • Series II.B. Clippings about Henry A. Wallace. 1940-1943. .5 box.
  • Newspaper articles written about Henry Agard Wallace as a vice presidential candidate and as Vice President. Includes campaign travels and the December 1940 diplomatic trip to Mexico. Arranged by year, then by month.

  • Series II.C. Clippings by Henry A. Wallace. 1921-1940. 1 box.
  • Newspaper clippings of articles written by Henry Agard Wallace as Secretary of Agriculture for New York Times, Collier's Weekly, The American Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, and others. Includes excerpts from his books and remarks related to these. Also includes editorial abstracts of Wallaces' Farmer and Wallaces' Farmer and Homestead. Arranged by year.

Series III. Oral History. 1933-1940. 4 boxes.

Volume 2 (1935-1939) and Volume 3 (1940 - January - March) of The Reminiscences of Henry Agard Wallace by the Oral History Research Office of Columbia University. Includes his hand-written edits of the oral history, correcting names, adding in paragraphs, and correcting sentences. (See pages 338, 356, 390, 410, 418, 440, 515, 552, 630, 643, 644, the back of 722, 723, 820, 878, 937, and 938.) Boxed by volume, with a preservation copy of each.


Related Collections at National Agricultural Library:

Beaty, Layne R., Papers, 1926-1979. Manuscript Collection 17.

USDA History Collection. (Series I, II, VII, IX). Manuscript collection 182.

Wallace, Henry Cantwell, Papers. (Henry C. Wallace, Henry A. Wallace's father, was Secretary of Agriculture from 1921 to 1924.) Manuscript Collection 108.

Warren, Donald Cameron, Papers. American Poultry Historical Society Collection. Manuscript Collection 193.

Related Collections at Other Institutions:

The Papers of Henry A. Wallace, donated by him and his family are held at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections Department. These include personal papers and research materials. The online Collection Guide is available at:

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) houses photographs from USDA events in Record Group 16: "Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture" The finding aid is located at: NARA also houses photographic collections from Wallace's tenures as Vice President and Secretary of Commerce.

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library contains a number of collections relating to Henry A. Wallace. The online finding aids catalog may be found at

The Library of Congress houses an archival manuscript collection of the "Papers of Henry A. Wallace, 1931-1945 (bulk 1941-1945)" (mm 78044487). The complete three-volume work, The Reminiscences of Henry Agard Wallace, is in the Library's book and microfilm collection.

Sources Used:

United States, Agricultural History Branch. Century of Service: The First 100 Years of the United States Department of Agriculture. (Washington, DC: Centennial Committee, USDA, 1963).

Rogers, Earl M., ed. and Dunlap, Leslie W. "Guide to a Microfilm Edition of the Henry A. Wallace Papers at The University of Iowa." (Iowa City: University of Iowa Libraries, 1974).

"Wallace, Henry Agard." National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 53. (New York: James T. White & Company, 1971) 15-17.

For further research on Henry Agard Wallace:

Blum, John Morton, ed. The Price of Vision: The Diary of Henry A. Wallace, 1942-1946. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973).

National Agricultural Library. "Henry A. Wallace References Outside the USDA History Collection."

Schlesinger, Jr., Arthur M. The Age of Roosevelt: The Coming of the New Deal. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1958).

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