Beginning in 1920 the Maryland State Board of Agriculture attempted to standardize one important branch of the state's agricultural industry. In 1920 the State Board of Agriculture authorized an inspector of tobacco to take charge of tobacco warehouses and goods in Baltimore. In 1939 a Commission of Tobacco Marketing was established to grant licenses for the buying and selling of leaf tobacco and to establish rules and regulations on keeping books on tobacco sales. In 1947 the Maryland Tobacco Authority was assigned the task of fixing marketing periods and testing the accuracy of weights and measures used in tobacco sales. The activities of the Board of Agriculture, the Commission of Tobacco Marketing, and the Maryland Tobacco Authority are documented in this collection through summary reports of sales, citing price, quantity, wholesaler, and date.
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4.25 Linear Feet
The Maryland State Board of Agriculture Leaf Tobacco Sold monthly reports, cover the period from 1929 to 1961. The collection consists of monthly reports from tobacco wholesalers to the Board. The reports provide information on the market price of tobacco and the quantities sold by individual wholesalers.
Between 1750 and 1938, practically all tobacco growers in Maryland marketed their product through the hogshead markets in Baltimore. In the traditional hogshead market system, farmers brought their cured tobacco in hogshead barrels (650 pounds or greater) to the wholesalers. At the warehouses, inspectors graded the tobacco and selected samples for bidders to examine. The samples were not always representative of the quality of the entire amount to be purchased. Tobacco buyers complained that some farmers "nested" their barrels with higher quality tobacco on top and lower quality tobacco or even other materials underneath. Farmers were often unsatisfied with the closed-bid system of the hogshead markets as well. In 1920, a group of farmers dissatisfied with market prices founded the Maryland Tobacco Growers' Association. This cooperative attempted to standardize prices.
In 1939, Crosby Wyche, a student at the University of Maryland, opened the first loose-leaf market in the state. In the loose-leaf auction system, tobacco farmers labeled and displayed their entire crop of cured leaves for sale. Inspectors continued to officially assign quality grades, but buyers were allowed to peruse all of the tobacco offered for bid. By 1950, Maryland had nine loose-leaf auction warehouses, and the statistics of hogshead warehouses had dropped from five to two; loose-leaf warehouses marketed over ninety percent of Maryland tobacco.
In 1920, the Maryland State Board of Agriculture authorized an inspector of tobacco to oversee the tobacco warehouses and goods within Baltimore. Tobacco wholesalers provided the Board with monthly reports that included numbers for the amount and average price of the tobacco leaf they sold.
Responsibility for inspecting and regulating the tobacco market shifted twice between 1920 and 1961. In 1939, the Maryland State Board of Agriculture established the Commission of Tobacco Marketing to formulate rules and regulations for bookkeeping records of tobacco sales. The commission also granted licenses for the buying and selling of leaf tobacco. In 1947, the Maryland Tobacco Authority, as part of the State Department of Agriculture, began the task of fixing marketing periods and of testing weight and measurement accuracy for tobacco sales. The Maryland State Tobacco Authority continues to regulate the sale of Maryland tobacco domestically and internationally.
The collection is organized as one series:
Claude G. McKee donated the reports to the University of Maryland Libraries in December 1976.
The collection was processed in December 1976. All staples have been removed and replaced with padded, non-reactive fasteners. The reports are arranged in acid-free folders in acid-free boxes.