About the Exhibition
The NCSU Libraries, from January 5 through April 4, 2001, will celebrate the career of Jim Graham, who served as North Carolina’s commissioner of agriculture for more than thirty years. The exhibit, in the circulation lobby of the D. H. Hill Library, highlights one of North Carolina’s most cherished public servants and one of NC State’s best-known graduates. Entitled “The Sodfather: A Friend of Agriculture in North Carolina,” the exhibit describes Graham’s work to promote and develop agriculture in North Carolina. From an image of the commissioner as president of the Cleveland High School Chapter of the Future Farmers of America, to a photo of the 1978 dedication of the Jim Graham Building at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, this exhibit illustrates the trajectory of Graham's involvement with agriculture. Complementing the documentation of Graham’s achievements are materials drawn from the library’s Special Collections Department, which show how the state’s largest land grant university has contributed to the improvement of North Carolina’s economic bases.
Additionally, friends and family of Commissioner Graham have created the Jim and Helen Ida Kirk Graham Agricultural Heritage Endowment to acquire books, journals, and electronic media relating to agriculture for the general library collections. Another initiative entails identifying and collecting the records of agricultural leaders, organizations, and businesses involved in agriculture or agribusiness activities in North Carolina. The library will gather unique source materials in fields such as tobacco cultivation and manufacturing, hog farming, poultry production, and dairy farming. These resources will permit students and researchers to explore major developments in the state’s economic history. Additionally, a virtual exhibit mounted by Special Collections will enable off-site perusal of exhibit materials, as well as the opportunity to read The Sodfather, Jim Graham’s recollections of his career as “a friend of agriculture.” Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., noted that, “Jim Graham has done more for our farmers and the agriculture industry than anyone in the history of our state.” William Friday, president emeritus of the University of North Carolina, eloquently said of him, “I know that his energies and dedication have been spent building a greater state and for that uncommon spirit and commitment, we owe him our profound gratitude.”