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The Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation was formed in 1950 for the purpose of improving the quality of Maryland leaf tobacco through cooperation with research institutions, as well as through education, distribution of free tobacco seeds, and competitions. The Foundation's archives consist of annual reports, bylaws, and exporting records.
This collection is open for research.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
0.25 Linear Feet
The Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation records cover the period from the establishment of the foundation in 1950 to 1968. The collection consists of annual reports, bylaws, and a report on the history of exporting Maryland tobacco.
The Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation was organized in 1950 to improve the quality of Maryland leaf tobacco. The foundation cooperated with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Departments of Agronomy and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Maryland, and the Maryland Agricultural Extension Service. Contributions from the Association of Swiss Cigarette Manufacturers, dealers, selling agencies, the Maryland State Tobacco authority, and other sources financed the non-profit organization. The Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation's office was located at the University of Maryland's Experimental Farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
The foundation employed an executive secretary to direct and coordinate all programs and hired a field agent. Its most important program was the donation of quality tobacco seeds to growers. In the early 1950s it supplied 500 ounces of seed to farmers in Southern Maryland. At the high point, it produced 24,000 ounces in 1956, but on average it produced between 15,000 and 16,000 ounces of tobacco seed. The most popular Maryland variety was Catterton. In its 1962-1963 annual report, the foundation asserted that it "assisted materially in the general acceptance of Catterton, which has lent to the overall improved quality and standardization of the crop." Publicity and education, both key activities, were conducted through publications. The Handbook on the Culture of Maryland Tobacco, the Tobacco Views and News newsletter, and a yearly calendar reached a circulation of nearly seven thousand, although earlier distribution numbers hovered around five thousand. Annual prizes were awarded to members of the 4-H and Future Farmers of America who produced the best seedbeds. The foundation supported several tobacco research projects in conjunction with the USDA and the University of Maryland. Topics of research projects included nitrogen sources, phosphorus fertilization, two-year rotation plans, and chemical analysis and yield rates for Maryland tobacco varieties.
During 1968, the Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation ceased to employ a full-time staff. The Departments of Agronomy and Agricultural Engineering and the Extension Service at the University of Maryland carry on its activities. Dr. Claude G. McKee (1930-1998), former Executive Secretary of the foundation (1957-1962), agreed to produce its newsletters and update the handbook periodically while he served as the Maryland Extension Service's Tobacco Specialist.
The collection is organized as one series.
Claude G. McKee donated the Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation records to the University of Maryland Libraries in April 1976.
The collection was processed in April 1976. All staples have been removed, and the papers are arranged in acid-free folders in an acid-free box.
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives