Organized in 1884, the Vansville Farmers Club sponsored the first farmers' institutes in Maryland. Consisting largely of minutes of meetings, the collection includes information about farm inspections, animal and crop diseases, and the promotion of agricultural improvements.
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This collection is open for research.
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The Vansville Farmers Club records include materials dating from 1898 to 1994. The collection contains correspondence, reports, historical information, and the club's constitution, bylaws, and meeting minutes.
The Vansville Farmers Club, organized in March 1884 at the home of James D. Cassard, the club's founder, was inspired by the Montgomery County Farmers Convention. The club was the immediate successor of the Maryland Agricultural Society, which ceased to exist in 1884. Monthly meetings were held at members' farms. The inspection of the farm and property of the host was an important part of the meeting. The club called upon members to meet early enough to inspect the host's farm and "criticize it freely, but without flattery," after which the Inspection Committee would submit a report. The host was expected to deliver an essay on farm, which was recorded in the minutes of the meeting, as was the Inspection Committee's report. The inspection was followed by a meal provided by the host. The Vansville Farmers Club sponsored the first Farmers' Institute, from which developed the state system of Farmers' Institutes which were eventually taken over by the Extension Service of the University of Maryland. Members have been involved in civic and farm affairs in the state of Maryland since the club's inception.
The collection is arranged as five series.
Constitution and Bylaws
Custodial History and Acquisition Information
The University of Maryland at College Park Libraries received the archives of the Vansville Farms Club in 1973. The club donated additional materials in 1994.
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries holds a number of collections relating to agriculture in Maryland, including records or Farmers' Institutes, as well as the papers of former club members Dr. Harry Jacob Patterson, Dr. Thomas B. Symons, and Albert F. Woods.
The archives of the Vansville Farmers Club were originally arranged into one series; this structure was expanded when the addendum was processed in 1997. At that time, the contents of a file entitled "Vansville Farmer's Club Record Book" were dispersed to various locations within the collection. This "Book" contained meeting minutes dated 1984 to 1991, correspondence dated 1976 to 1991, an undated copy of the Constitution and Bylaws of the Vansville Farmers Club, and a list of names, probably club members. Staples and paper clips were removed, all materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes, and the guide was revised.