Kudzu was introduced to the United States at the first World’s Fair in 1876, and was planted by southern farmers to prevent land erosion. During World War II, however, tensions between the United States and Japan resulted in a kudzu shortage…that’s right, a kudzu shortage. I discovered this while perusing a website called Remember Cliffside (the subject of a North Carolina Miscellany post from a while back), which contained an article describing the kudzu shortage in Cliffside, N.C. This information proved integral to my understanding the context of this letter, found recently in the Delta and Providence Cooperative Farm Records (finding aid):
Here are a couple of Thanksgiving cartoons from a “Winter Stories” scrapbook, ca. 1900, from the papers of Charles L. Coon (finding aid), our friend from the previous post. Coon, an early 20th-century education reformer and teacher, put together a number of scrapbooks like this for use in classrooms.
Click image to enlarge
Just for fun. This photograph comes from the Bryan Family Papers (Collection #96, finding aid). Unfortunately, this photograph is undated, unattributed, and unidentified. But it’s still undeniably unrelenting in its agricultural intrigue.
Regulations for Teachers, by Charles L. Coon
This document, “Regulations to Govern the Teachers’ Homes,” 1921-1922, was prepared by Charles L. Coon, an early 20th-century education reformer and superintendent of Wilson County schools, in order to protect the the “property of the public” (apparently referring to the home itself) and the “health and good name of the teachers.” Some highlights include:
8.(d) The principal will not grant any teacher permission to leave the home on Saturday or Sunday nights to take rides or to make visits with a person of the opposite sex unless the couple is accompanied by a suitable chaperone.
8.(e) Dancing and card playing will not be permitted in the home, and the principal must not give any teacher permission to attend a dance or card party outside the teachers’ home.
8.(f) The great majority of all the pictures showing in the moving picture theaters are morally degrading or wholly unprofitable and far from uplifting and wholesome. A teacher who has only a small sense of her moral obligations and the influence of her example will hardly need a rule to guide her attendance on such places of public amusement.
Item comes from the Charles L. Coon Papers (#177 finding aid), Folder 135.
"Readings on minorities in the United States, with emphasis on the negro," 1948
The North Carolina Commission on Interracial Cooperation Records (finding aid) contains a group of surveys done in 1948 to assess the holdings of NC public libraries related to minorities, especially African Americans. A list of titles was sent out to white and black libraries around the state, and librarians indicated which titles they had in their collection and sent them back.
Some libraries had none of these materials, though a few of them responded saying that they would turn the list over to their book committee. After thumbing through the surveys, the library with the most titles by far was the Stanford L. Warren Library of Durham (a page from their survey results is pictured at right). This should come as no great surprise, as Stanford L. Warren was North Carolina’s second black library, established in 1916 (the first was the Brevard Street Library for Negroes, which opened in Charlotte in 1905). The Stanford L. Warren Library is pictured at its former location in the postcard below (from North Carolina Postcards).
Durham Colored Library, ca. 1916-1930
Whiskey and turpentine? Sounds a bit like the homemade cough syrup my mother used to fix for me when I was young. While we’re on the subject of strange prescriptions, here’s an excerpt from a 1930s pamphlet in the Delta and Providence Farm Papers (finding aid), titled, “Why a Doctor is Needed on the Delta Cooperative Farm:”
A baby was born on the Farm. A member of the farm who was a registered mid-wife in the state of Mississippi was in charge of the case. The Mother developed an infection, due, probably, to none too clean instruments. The mid-wife mixed a concoction of roaches and garlic and applied it to the infection.
Was this remedy effective? The pamphlet doesn’t say, though I’m happy to report that the Delta Cooperative Farm was soon joined by physician David R. Minter.
Posted in Collections, Featured Collections, Staff Finds
Tagged cooperatives, cough syrup, farms, garlic, homemade remedies, medical treatments, Mississippi, Mississippi Delta, remedies, roaches