Maryland Farms During World War II

Introduction

The house and home garden of William Sanders, Negro farmer, who has just begunThe Maryland farm population fell from eighty thousand workers in 1939 to sixty-two thousand in 1945, and wages rose from two dollars to five dollars a day. Farmers clamoring for labor, preferably at the old price, forced the state to create a Farm Emergency Labor Program that promoted draft exemption for farm laborers and at various times recruited three thousand Jamaican migrants, three thousand German prisoners of war, and twelve thousand high school students to work during crucial seasons. The state Extension Service established farm cooperatives where farmers could share or rent farm machinery, and the federal Department of Agriculture created a State Agricultural War Board to supervise labor practices, establish crop goals, and promote maximum farm prices. Low-profit margin production -- horses, sheep, potatoes, corn, oysters, and crabs -- declined, and new produce -- especially chickens, soybeans, pigs and vegetables -- soared. Farm production increased 40 percent during the war, the value of land and buildings, 52 percent, farm machinery, 95 percent, and farm income, 138 percent. The farm was evolving from the residue of those left behind to an occupation of capitalist managers.

SOURCE: George Callcott, Maryland & America 1940-1980, p. 48

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 8: The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945)

STANDARD 1: The causes of the Great Depression and how it affected American society. 

Standard 1B: The student understands how American life changed during the 1930s. 

5-12: Explain the effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl on American farm owners, tenants, and sharecroppers. [Analyze multiple causation] 

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, hog slaughtering on the farm of Jesse Hollingsworth, Glen Falls Road, north of Reisterstown. Picture shows Montrose Chew and Ann Hollingsworth Parry cutting lard. Mrs. Parry still has the sausage dipper in the sausage pan in the foreground.
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Ricardo McCloskey
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1936
    REPOSITORY: Baltimore County Public Library Legacy Web

  2. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, barns at Bosley farm, Western Run area.
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Benjamin H. Engle
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: c. 1938
    REPOSITORY: Baltimore County Public Library Legacy Web

  3. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, barn at Blenheim Farm, Sunnybrook area
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Benjamin H. Engle
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 1938
    REPOSITORY: Baltimore County Public Library Legacy Web

  4. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, camp for African American migratory agricultural workers at Kings Creek Canning Company, Kings Creek, Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1940
    SOURCE: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  5. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, camp for African American migratory agricultural workers at Kings Creek Canning Company, Kings Creek, Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1940
    SOURCE: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  6. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, cured pork hanging in the meat house of a Negro FSA (Farm Security Administration) client at Calvert County, Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 1942
    SOURCE: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  7. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, supervisor points out the health hazard in this badly drained pig sty near La Plata, Maryland, Charles County
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: July 1941
    SOURCE: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  8. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, house and home garden of William Sanders, African American farmer, who has just begun receiving FSA (Farm Security Administration) aid. Saint Inigoes, Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 1940
    SOURCE: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  9. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, three of the thirteen children of William Sanders, African American farmer who has only recently begun receiving FSA (Farm Security Administration) aid. Saint Inigoes, Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 1940
    SOURCE: Farm Security Administration - Office of War Information Photograph Collection
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress

  10. DESCRIPTION: Report, Maryland Agriculture in Post-War Period 
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: October 1944
    SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, EXTENSION SERVICE, POST-WAR STATE AGRICULTURAL COMMITTEE
    (Report) MdHR 806064, Location: 2/5/10/61, I9272
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  11. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, Swem Farm on Falls Road, north of the Broadway-Chestnut Ridge area and opposite Harr's Feed House. Men in photo are: Ed Baker, "Doc" Swem, Tyrie Miller, Fred Gartling and George Swem. This picture shows the hair being scraped from the hog following the carcass being scalded.
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Frances Chenoweth Miller
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: January 15, 1944
    REPOSITORY: Baltimore County Public Library Legacy Web

  12. DESCRIPTION: Photograph, farm family having lunch
    PHOTOGRAPHER: Ann Roener
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Jul. 1943
    SOURCE: Robert G. Merrick Archives of Maryland Historical Photographs, MSA SC 1477-1-6570
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

  13. DESCRIPTION: Economic and Social Status of Rural Negro Families in Maryland
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: August 1948
    SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND, AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION AND EXTENSION SERVICE (Bulletin X4) MdHR 803004, Location: 2/5/10/29, I8290
    REPOSITORY: Maryland State Archives

Additional Media Resources

America from the Great Depression to World War II: Black-and-White Photographs from the FSA-OWI, 1935-1945

The Documentary Eye - photographs from Farm Security Administration project (FSA)

USDA Historical Photos

Additional Instructional Resources

The Learning Page: Lessons by Themes, Topics, Disciplines or Eras

Secondary Resources

Neuwirth, Jessican Loren. "Landscapes of authority and nostalgia: Modernization of a southern Maryland plantation. St. Mary's City, Maryland, 1840-1930" PhD dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1997.

Associated Heritage and Preservation Organizations

National Colonial Farm Museum
3400 Bryan Point Road
Accokeek, MD 20607 - 9676
(301) 283-2113
Oxon Hill Farm
6400 Oxon Hill Road
Oxon Hill, MD 20745 - 1106
(202) 690-5185
Carroll County Farm Museum (former almshouse)
500 South Center St.
Westminster, MD 21157
(410) 876-2667, (410) 848-7775
1-800-654-4645 (toll free)

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

 

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