Harry and Roy Aitken Papers, 1909-1940

Container Title
U.S. Mss BI
Part 1 (U.S. Mss BI): Original Collection, 1916-1960
Physical Description: 21.6 c.f. (54 archives boxes) 
Scope and Content Note

The Original Collection reflects issues and events current in American agriculture and the economy over a period of four decades. It is divided into several series: CORRESPONDENCE, 1919-1960; BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES; ARTICLES AND SPEECHES, 1916-1959; BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS, 1925-1953; FEDERAL FARM BOARD PAPERS, 1929-1933; TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY PAPERS, 1939-1950s; RESEARCH PROJECTS AND RELATED MATERIALS, 1922-1952; COURSE MATERIALS, 1918-1950s; and ARTICLES AND SPEECHES BY OTHERS. All but the last two series are arranged chronologically, by month where possible.

The CORRESPONDENCE contains letters exchanged with many other educators and experts in agriculture and economics, as well as with many government officials, including such persons as Clinton Anderson, Murray R. Benedict, Joseph S. Davis, John Kenneth Galbraith, Charles Kellogg, Henry C. Taylor, Howard R. Tolley, Henry A. Wallace, and Meredith L. Wilson, to name a few. A more detailed index of correspondents follows the contents list at the end of this finding aid.

The correspondence may be regarded as the key to the rest of the collection, for it overlaps with the other groups both in types of materials and in subject matter. For instance, items such as reports, minutes, notes, tables, questionnaires, schedules, and even drafts of articles or chapters for books, were left with the correspondence where these were not excessively bulky and were closely related to the correspondence. Subjects covered in the correspondence, as well as in the other groups of materials, are mainly concerned with matters of interest to Black in connection with his teaching, research, and participation in various committees and projects: population and world food supply, domestic allotment plans, agricultural censuses, land settlement, land use policy, the dairy industry, soil conservation, government agricultural agencies and policies, farm management, farm labor, agricultural and economic problems of developing countries, and many other topics.

The contents list below and a bibliography of many of Black's writings (filed at the Historical Society with the paper copy of this finding aid) serve as a fairly good guide to the subjects in which he was involved at various times which would also show up in the correspondence. However, several groups of correspondence may be singled out for special mention, not because they are necessarily of greater interest or importance, but because they involved projects or activities which do not seem to have resulted in publications and might otherwise go unnoticed.

In 1930-1931, Black became involved in an African-American rural community project which grew out of a plan originally submitted by Herbert Hoover to the Julius Rosenwald Fund in about February of 1928. The basis of the scheme was to have a foundation buy sufficient land to develop communities for the resettlement of poor but ambitious African-American families, who could over a period of time buy the land from the foundation with their earnings. Henry Taylor of the Social Science Research Council became interested in the plan, and his correspondence concerning it during the spring and summer of 1928 is contained in the Black collection. Black and others attempted to revive the project in 1930-1931, but it had to be abandoned when sufficient funds were not forthcoming to complete the pilot study. Of particular interest, however, is an interview with a 91-year-old African-American man, Richard Canty, who had been born a slave (see correspondence for February, 1930).

Also of interest in connection with land settlement is the correspondence relating to Black's work as chairman of the Committee on Control and Direction of Land Settlement of the National Land Use Planning Committee in 1932-1933, in an attempt to discourage a vast “back-to-the-land” movement as an escapist and unrealistic approach to urban problems of the Depression.

During the early 1940s, Black conceived an ambitious project to study the operation of governmental agricultural agencies. During 1941 he traveled extensively all over the country inspecting the work of the agencies at close hand, and interviewing regional officials as well as local farmers. By 1942 the onset of the war had placed restrictions on travel, so he continued his project by means of questionnaires and letters directed to farmers all over the country, seeking their opinions on the operation of such agencies as the Agricultural Adjustment Administration, Farm Security Administration, Soil Conservation Service, Federal Employment Service, and the Department of Agriculture War Boards. The thousands of letters he received probably constitute one of the few sources of contemporary public opinion concerning these agencies for that period.

Black's interest in government agricultural policy is revealed constantly throughout the correspondence, but in 1949 he tried a more direct approach, when he exchanged letters with numerous legislators as well as with other economic and agricultural experts concerning the agricultural program of Secretary Brannan.

Following World War II, Black's correspondence reflects the growing national concern for the agricultural and economic problems of developing nations. Black himself served in an advisory capacity to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations during the 1940s and to the governments of the Philippines, India, and Pakistan under the auspices of the Foreign Operations Administration. Also of interest are letters from other observers in foreign countries, particularly the extremely detailed descriptions of post-war Korea found in the letters of Clyde Mitchell, who directed land reform there in 1947-1948. Letters of Charles D. Hyson in August, 1950, describe activities of the Economic Cooperation Administration in Portugal.

Like the correspondence, ARTICLES AND SPEECHES, and BOOKS AND PAMPHLETS also concern agricultural economics and related topics. In fact, as mentioned above, often the correspondence will refer to items found in these two groups, and chapters or articles were sometimes left with the correspondence when attached to letters discussing their contents or revisions. Printed materials, with the exception of some mimeographed items, were removed from the collection and transferred to the Land Tenure Center Library operated by the Department of Agricultural Economics of the University of Wisconsin (subsequently transferred to Steenbock Library or other campus libraries). A bibliography of transferred materials authored by Black is filed with the paper copy of this finding aid. It is arranged chronologically and therefore may be consulted as a fairly accurate guide to the types of subject matter likely to be found in the articles and speeches for a given period.

Papers of the FEDERAL FARM BOARD consist mainly of memos, reports, studies, and other materials prepared by the staff of the Federal Farm Board, covering the periods when J. S. Davis and John D. Black served as chief economists. Papers concerning the TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY (TVA) relate mainly to projects in which Black was interested in his capacity as consultant. Much of the material relates in particular to unit demonstration farm projects sponsored by the TVA.

The series RESEARCH PROJECTS AND RELATED MATERIALS includes various types of papers, such as reports, minutes of meetings, notes, interviews, and statistics. These materials will be more useful if regarded as a supplement to the correspondence, rather than consulted separately, since the correspondence also contains many similar types of materials, as well as letters which may refer directly to the research project in question. Materials relating to many other research projects are contained wholly within the correspondence.

Black's COURSE MATERIALS are of more than usual interest for this type of material, since they contain many actual transcripts of lectures and discussions by Black and other prominent agricultural economists and government officials invited to address the seminars or participate in symposiums.

The final series, ARTICLES AND SPEECHES BY OTHERS, consists of materials written by prominent agricultural economists, government officials, and others, but not directly connected with the other groups of materials listed above. A list of authors appears in the contents list below. Other articles and speeches appear in the correspondence, attached to letters; in the research materials, as part of projects; and in the course materials, among seminar transcripts or class projects.

Series: Correspondence
Box   1
1919 - 1928, July
Box   2
1928, August - 1930, April
Box   3
1930, May - 1931
Box   4
1932 - 1933, June
Box   5
1933, July - 1934, October
Box   6
1934, November - 1937, May
Box   7
1937, June - 1938, October
Box   8
1938, November - 1940, April
Box   9
1940, May - 1941, August
Box   10
1941, September - 1942, May
Box   11
1942, June - August
Box   12
1942, September - November
Box   13
1942, December - 1944, February
Box   14
1944, March - 1945
Box   15
1946 - 1947, August
Box   16
1947, September - 1948, March
Box   17
1948, April - September
Box   18
1948, October - 1949, March
Box   19
1949, April - September
Box   20
1949, October - 1950, March
Box   21
1950, April - August
Box   22
1950, September - 1951, January
Box   23
1951, February - August
Box   24
1951, September - 1952, July
Box   25
1952, August - December; undated
Box   26
1953, January - August
Box   27
1953, September - 1954, August
Box   28
1954, September - 1955, August
Box   29
1955, November - 1956, August
Box   30
1956, September - 1958, November
Box   31
1958, December - 1960
Box   32
Folder   1
Series: Biographical Sketches
Series: Articles and Speeches
Box   32
Folder   2-7
1916-1931
Box   33
1932-1937
Box   34
1938-1941
Box   35
1942-1948
Box   36
1949-1954
Box   37
Folder   1-3
1955-1959
Series: Books and Pamphlets
Box   37
Folder   4-5
1925, Production Economics - text, notes, and suggestions
Box   38
Folder   1
circa 1927, “The Tax Situation in Minnesota”
Note: Unpublished.
Box   38
Folder   2
1928, Research Method and Procedure in Agricultural Economics
Box   38
Folder   3
1928, “Review of Agricultural Economics Research”
Note: Unpublished?
Box   38
Folder   4
circa 1929, “Chapter 2 - What Tariff Revision Can Do” - possibly from Agricultural Reform in the United States
Box   38
Folder   5
1920s, Chapter 1 and two appendices from an unidentified book concerning the relation between agricultural conditions and business fluctuations
Note: It is not clear whether this is by Black or someone else; appendices relate to theories of Professor Moore. See also Boxes 45-46.
Box   38
Folder   6
1931, Conditions Affecting the Agricultural Development of the Cut-Over Region of the Great Lakes States
Box   38
Folder   7
circa 1934-1936, “Analysis of Census Data on Farms”
Note: Unpublished.
Box   38
Folder   8
circa 1943-1944, Book on farm labor
Note: Unpublished.
Box   39
circa 1943-1944, Book on farm labor (continued)
Box   40-41
1947, Farm Management
Note: First draft and final revision.
Box   42
Folder   1
1949, Federal-State-Local Relations in Agriculture
Note: See also Box 47.
Series: Federal Farm Board Papers
Box   42
Folder   2-7
1929 - 1932, January
Box   43
1932, February -1933
Box   44
Series: Tennessee Valley Authority Papers, 1939-1950s
Series: Research Projects and Related Materials
Box   45
Folder   1
circa 1922, Projects for Farm Management - costs and unrelated materials
Box   45
Folder   2
circa 1924, Creamery Analysis
Box   45
Folder   3
circa 1925, Lakes States Study - materials possibly used in preparation of Land Settlement and Colonization in the Great Lakes States
circa 1928-1929, Materials possibly used in preparation of Black's book, Agricultural Reform in the U.S.
Scope and Content Note: Mostly statistical materials, with several drafts of papers by various persons, and other miscellany.
Box   45
Folder   4
Regarding annual weather surpluses (George M. Peterson)
Box   45
Folder   5
Regarding farm prices
Box   45
Folder   6
Regarding domestic allotment of farm relief plans (Henry Richards, Mordecai Ezekiel, Jesse Tapp)
Box   45
Folder   7
Regarding farm prices
Box   45
Folder   8
Regarding farm prices and tariffs
Box   46
Folder   1
Regarding exports and imports
Box   46
Folder   2
Regarding tariffs and home markets
Box   46
Folder   3
Regarding orderly marketing (Moore)
Box   46
Folder   4
1929-1931, International Union for the Scientific Investigation of Population Problems - Commission I on Population and Food Supply - reports and miscellany
Box   46
Folder   5
circa 1931-1939, Materials relating to the agricultural census - concerning work of the Social Science Research Council and the Committee on Government Statistics to improve census methods - including reports, sample schedules, and other materials
Box   47
Folder   1
1939-1940, County program planning notes
Box   47
Folder   2
1941, 1943, Study of government agricultural agencies - notes, interviews, and report
Box   47
Folder   3
1943, Interviews
Box   47
Folder   4
1943, Farm Security Administration - report to Chester Davis
Box   47
Folder   5
1947-1948, Notes by Charles M. Hardin, and miscellaneous other materials which may have been used in the preparation of Federal-State-Local Relations in Agriculture
Note: See also Boxes 42 and 53.
Box   48
Folder   1
1947-1951, Boston Milkshed Price Committee
Scope and Content Note: Reports, notes, minutes.
Box   48
Folder   2
1948-1952, New England dairy farm project
Note: Sponsored by the Hood Foundation. See also course materials in Box 51.
Box   48
Folder   3
1950, U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Policy Committee - agenda, notes
Box   48
Folder   4
1953, Soil Conservation Policy Conference - agenda, and reports
Box   48
Folder   5
Undated, Miscellaneous notes, including some on John R. Commons, and some research notes on events concerning agricultural policy in 1932-1933
Series: Course Materials
Box   49
Folder   1
University of Wisconsin, course notes and outlines from courses Black took as a student, including materials from courses taught by John R. Commons, circa 1918-1919
University of Minnesota, circa 1920s, outlines for courses taught by Black, , 1920s
Box   49
Folder   2
Advanced Agricultural Economics
Box   49
Folder   3
Economics of Consumption
Box   49
Folder   4
Agricultural Economics
Box   49
Folder   5
Economic Theory (syllabus)
Box   49
Folder   6
Agricultural Production
Harvard University, miscellaneous course materials
Agricultural Economics
Box   49
Folder   7
Early outline, circa 1920s
Box   49
Folder   8
Syllabus, circa 1931
Box   50
Commodity Distribution, Prices, and Consumption - course outlines, transcripts of lectures and seminars with visiting consultants, 1930s-1940s
Box   51
Land use policy seminar - miscellaneous seminar transcripts, reports, notes, outlines, relating to land use policy, New England county land use planning, forestry, conservation, population and world food supply, extension, and farm planning, 1940s-1950s
Box   52
Folder   1-3
Soil Conservation Seminar - transcripts of meetings, 1950-1951
Box   52
Folder   4
Miscellany, Department of Economics - lists of students, project proposals, suggestions for new courses, personnel, opinions of returning graduate students, and other materials, 1930s-1940s
Box   52
Folder   5
Miscellany, Graduate School of Public Administration - opening conferences between faculty and government officials to discuss setting up the GSPA program, faculty meetings, reports, project proposals
Series: Articles and Speeches by Others
Box   53
Aiken, George D.
Box   53
Anderson, Clinton
Box   53
Baker, Gladys L.
Box   53
Bean, Louis H.
Box   53
Benedict, Murray R.
Box   53
Black, Guy
Box   53
Bowman, Mary Jean
Box   53
Brunn, Robert R.
Box   53
Caryer, T.N.
Box   53
Cobb, C.W. and Paul H. Douglas
Box   53
Copeland, Morris A.
Box   53
Davis, Joseph S.
Douglas, Paul H. - see Cobb, C.W.
Box   53
Dennison, Henry, and John Kenneth Galbraith
Box   53
Duckham, A.N.
Box   54
Edminster (?)
Box   54
Elliott, F.F.
Box   54
Ezekiel, Mordecai, and Sherman Johnson
Box   54
Fauser, Immanuel
Box   54
Galbraith, John Kenneth
Note: See also Dennison, Henry.
Box   54
Hammar, Conrad H.
Box   54
Hardin, Charles M.
Note: See also Box 47.
Box   54
Hyson, Charles D.
Box   54
Johnson, Sherman E.
Note: See also Ezekiel, Mordecai.
Box   54
Jordan, Virgil
Box   54
Kellogg, Charles
Box   54
MacIver, R.M.
Box   54
Malenbaum, Wilfred
Box   54
Maris, Paul V.
Box   54
Peterson, George M.
Box   54
Rathbun, Lawrence W.
Box   54
Richards, Henry I.
Box   54
Ronald, W.R.
Box   54
Sorokin, Pitirim
Box   54
Stewart, Charles L.
Box   54
Tapp, Jesse
Box   54
Taylor, Henry C.
Box   54
Tolley, Howard R.
Box   54
Wilson, Meredith L.
Box   54
Working, Holbrook
Box   54
Youngblood, B.