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Series I, ss 2, USDA History Collection

USDA History Collection

Series I, subseries 2. Documentary Files, 1907-1982 (bulk 1939-1949). 57 cubic ft.


Subseries in Series I:  I.1 | I.2 | I.3 | I.4 | I.5 | I.6   ||   Collection Map  

The second subseries is made up of 12 sections dealing with the USDA's responses to World War II and agriculture in the post-war period. Materials in this subsection include internal internal reports, published materials, press releases and speeches, clippings (including sections the Federal Register and the Congressional Record), correspondence, memoranda, and transcripts of interviews with USDA officials.

Section I of the outline contains materials from the 1930s and early 1940s that describe the agricultural situation before World War II, conservation programs, and the development of efforts to aid the allies (especially Great Britain) before December 1941.

Section II covers USDA's actions and programs responding to the United States entry into World War II. Much of this section deals with reorganization of the USDA and production goals during wartime. Specific ways of meeting the heavy agricultural demands of this time are covered in Section III, which deals with the means of production: land use, labor, equipment, and other farm materials.

Section IV deals with policies to counter inflation and other market problems during the war. These include price support, price control, parity, and specific legislation such as the Pace Bill. There is also material relating to policies on specific commodities, black markets, and subsidy programs.

Section V covers special commodity problems. There are significant amounts of materials on cotton, meats and hides, dairy products, and fats and oils. Found here is information on shortages, production levels, and development of specific agricultural products.

Records in Section VI relate to distribution, and address such topics as food conservation and rationing (including research to determine nutritional needs), consumer education, industrial feeding, allocation of supplies for civilian or military use, and agencies including the Food Distribution Administration and the Office of Price Administration.

Section VII deals with international relations, specifically within the western hemisphere. The need for Latin American agricultural products and strengthening of relations within the hemisphere are major subjects.

Materials on the status of farm and rural life are found in Section VIII. This section deals with the way farmers worked in the war years, documenting changes in income, supplies, equipment, and labor. There is also material on farmer attitudes and opinions, and the makeup and activities of farmer organizations.

Section IX, Administration, contains information on the makeup of the USDA from about 1940 to 1949. It documents USDA reorganizations and extensively recounts the activities of the Office of the Secretary and USDA agencies such as the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, the Commodity Credit Corporation, and the Production and Marketing Administration. There is particular emphasis on agencies with special war functions, as well as those created specifically to handle wartime activities such as the War Food Administration. This section also deals with USDA relations with states, counties, and cities; relations with the rest of the Executive Branch, and with Congress; with farm, trade, labor, and consumer groups; and with agencies of our wartime allies, such as the British Food Commission.

Special war services of the USDA are found in Section X. This material covers certain war-related activities of the USDA, including program surveys and import/export control. Section XI focuses on the technological inventions and innovations in agriculture.

Activities in the post-war years are the focus of Section XII. There is material relating to international efforts to distribute food and revive agriculture in war-torn areas. Post-war planning for American agriculture is also covered, with material on the impact of returning veterans on labor and land, and farm community experiments in western states. Materials on international groups such as the Food and Agriculture Organization are included, as well as other subjects such as relaxing price programs, land conservation, and allocation of resources and surpluses.

Of particular interest is Section XII B2 which contains records of the International Emergency Food Council (IEFC), later the International Emergency Food Committee under the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 1946-1949. These records had been stored separately from the Documentary Files, but there was a place in the outline for this topic, so they have been integrated into this subseries.

The files appear to be records kept by D. A. FitzGerald, Secretary General of the organization, and Gladys M. NaDeau, Recording Secretary. The documents consist largely of minutes, reports, memoranda, correspondence, and other records of the full council and various committees, including the Central Committee and numerous commodity committees. Dr. Dennis A. FitzGerald was a USDA employee from 1935, and following his service with the IEFC, he was director of the Office of Foreign Agricultural Relations.

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