The Department of Agriculture was created in 1895 to encourage the development of agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and related industries. A State Board of Agriculture, which had been established in 1876 to investigate subjects relating to improvements in agriculture, continued to function along with the department in an advisory capacity. Legislation passed in 1919 and 1923 abolished the State Board of Agriculture, the Agricultural Commission, and the Livestock Sanitary Board, and consolidated regulatory activities pertaining to agriculture within the department. Functions relating to forestry were transferred to the Department of Forestry in 1901.

The Department of Agriculture is responsible for promoting the efficient marketing of farm products and dealing with appropriate investigative and service problems. The department works to control animal and plant diseases as well as insect pests, and to safeguard the public against impure or misrepresented foods, fertilizers and pesticides. It also promotes the efficient marketing of farm products. The State Farm Products Show Commission and the State Harness Racing Commission are administrative commissions within the Department of Agriculture.


Administrative Correspondence, 1941-1956, 1958-1971. (55 cartons) Grouped chronologically and thereunder alphabetically by subject of correspondence. A record of incoming, outgoing, and interdepartmental correspondence between the secretary of Agriculture and his bureau chiefs, department heads, and concerned citizens. The correspondence received and sent by Secretary Leland H. Bull, 1964-1967, contains a considerable amount of material relating to minority groups. Among these items is a 1964 Annual Report on Migrant Labor in Pennsylvania, statistical data on African American farmers in Pennsylvania, and a bibliography entitled The Negro in the American Experience and A Selective List of Books on the Contemporary Negro issued by The Pennsylvania State Library. Also present are the following booklets: American History from the Black Viewpoint by the Council for Human Services, September 1968; Migrant Health Report, Pa., 1965; Regulation for Migratory Farm Labor by the Department of Labor and Industry.

Other relevant materials include: transcripts of hearings on Land Grant Colleges that cite agricultural research conducted at Lincoln University, a letter to Secretary Leland H. Bull from William G. Nagel concerning minority employment, a letter from Secretary of Health C. L. Walbor Jr., and miscellaneous letters among which is an invitation and a program from Pennsylvania’s Conference to Examine the Effects of Prejudice in State Government held at Allenberry (Boiling Springs, Pa.), September 11-13, 1968. Also present is a letter from the Director of the Bureau of Markets C. W. Ford concerning proposed legislation to establish a minimum wage for migrant workers, a letter to Governor Raymond Shafer regarding a Task Force on Minority Employment, a memorandum on eligibility standards for Pennsylvania’s food program for needy families, a Miami Herald article entitled "Union Pushes to Organize Migrants," a memorandum on surplus food distribution for migrant workers, a 1965 migrant worker health report for Pennsylvania, and a Pennsylvania State University Poverty Program booklet entitled The People Left Behind. The file also contains transcripts of testimony concerning migrant labor that was made before the United States Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Subcommittee on Migratory Labor, including testimony by James McHale regarding Senate Bill 1019, which was intended to protect the migrant workers. Finally, there are several newsletters and tracts including: 50 Years 1914-1964: The Story of the Erie County Agricultural Extension Association, Higher Education and the Black Atypical Student, and Focus on the Future: New Dimensions for 4-H and Youth Education in Pa.


Glass Lantern Slides of Pennsylvania Bureau of Markets, 1929. (1 box) Unarranged. Lantern slides providing interior and exterior views of various public markets in Pennsylvania. While most of the markets are unidentifiable, among the captioned examples are the Lancaster Farmers’ Market, Harrisburg’s Broad Street Market, and Pittsburgh’s South Side and Diamond Markets. Within the collection is a slide that depicts a group of African American women examining produce shown by a salesclerk. Other slides appear to portray African Americans at different market sites.

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