Our agricultural history, now online

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The NCSU Libraries has received a Project Ceres grant to continue its longstanding efforts to digitize historical publications of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

This specific project project will help make some of the Libraries’ print collections more discoverable and accessible on its Rare & Unique Digital Collections website. Targeted publications date from 1922 to 1988 and include 4-H, home economics, and general agriculture titles. A representative few of the many titles that will be digitized include:

  • Cracked Eggs Leak Profit
  • Some Do's and Don'ts in Marketing Fruits and Vegetables
  • State 4-H Health Pageant: Mission: Unhealthy, The Fink Food Fracas
  • Making Muscadine and Other Wines at Home.
  • Honey Bees in North Carolina

Project Ceres is a collaboration between the United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN), the Agriculture Network Information Collaborative (AgNI]), and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). It supports ongoing preservation and digitization of collections in the field of agriculture, and it supports small projects that facilitate the retention and preservation of print materials essential to study of the History and Economics of Agriculture that were published between 1860 and 1988 and to make those materials accessible electronically through digitization.

“The materials will cover topics like plant and animal diseases and pathologies, fertilization and other soil treatments, general farm management, marketing commodities, home economics, and rural youth development,” University Archivist Todd Kosmerick says. “Whereas our earlier digitization projects focused on materials from the early to mid-twentieth century, this new project will focus on publications of the mid- to late-twentieth century.”

Kosmerick, who works in the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, feels that the Project Ceres grant documents might be of particular interest to College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) faculty and students, the Cooperative Extension community (the agents and the North Carolina citizens served by them), and History Department faculty and students.  

The Libraries has been digitizing the large number of Cooperative Extension documents for a while. For over a decade, photographs, archival materials, and publications on the history of agriculture in North Carolina have been preserved and made accessible online for researchers. Grant-funded projects in this vein include:

These projects received Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants, which are federal funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that are awarded by the State Library to eligible North Carolina libraries.