Historical UT Agricultural Publications Now Available as Digital Collections
October 4, 2019

Three unique agricultural publications from University of Tennessee Extension and the Agricultural Experiment Station have been preserved as digital collections by the University of Tennessee Libraries. These vintage publications, created between 1922 and 1990, contain historical information about agriculture in Tennessee.

Tennessee Farm News: “SILO SIMPKINS SAYS . . . The only hen worth listening to is the one that says it with eggs.”

The Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station (today called AgResearch) was established in 1882 and the Division of Extension in 1914. Since the early 20th century, the two units have disseminated agricultural research to Tennessee farmers and rural residents. Extension agents demonstrated practical techniques to rural people on their farms and in their homes. With the goal of improving agriculture, health, and homemaking practices in rural communities, the Agricultural Experiment Station and UT Extension also shared research-based information through news releases, circulars, and reports.

Existing issues of these ephemeral publications were brittle and in need of preservation. In 2018, the UT Libraries secured a grant from Project Ceres (a collaboration between the US Agricultural Information Network, the Agriculture Network Information Collaborative, and the Center for Research Libraries) to digitize and preserve these historically significant publications.

Special Circular, 1936: Plans for a General Purpose Live Stock Barn
Special Circular, 1936: Plans for a General Purpose Live Stock Barn

The Tennessee Farm News Collection (digital.lib.utk.edu/tfn) is a series of weekly news releases published by the UT Extension Service under various titles between 1921 and 1989. The news releases publicized market prices, farm shows, 4-H clubs, and agricultural training programs offered by UT.

The Extension Special Circulars Collection (digital.lib.utk.edu/utesc) contains bulletins from the UT Extension Service dating from 1925 through 1968, each with a unique title and topic. Topics include building plans, rural engineering, home gardening and horticultural advice, and farm and home management.

Tennessee Farm and Home Science, 1958
Tennessee Farm and Home Science, 1958

The Tennessee Farm and Home Science Collection (digital.lib.utk.edu/tfhs) holds quarterly reports published by the UT Agricultural Experiment Station from 1952 to 1990. Reports include research conducted at experiment stations across the state and information on personnel, grants, and agricultural field days.

While showcasing agricultural history in Tennessee, the publications in these collections also frequently reference cultural and political events of the time, such as World War I and the Great Depression, providing insight into how such events influenced life in Tennessee. More than 29,000 pages of historical agricultural publications are now easily searchable and freely available to anyone researching or just curious about the history of Tennessee agriculture.


For more information, contact:
Louisa Trott, Digital Projects Librarian, 865-974-6913 or ltrott1@utk.edu
Isabella Baxter, Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Librarian, 865-974-8116, ibaxter1@utk.edu