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Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation records

 Collection 0165-MDHC

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.


  • 1950-1968

Use and Access to Collection

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies or digital surrogates may be provided in accordance with Special Collections and University Archives duplication policy.

Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs unless otherwise specified. It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission to publish materials from the appropriate copyright holder.

Archival materials may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws or other regulations. While we make a good faith effort to identify and remove such materials, some may be missed during our processing. If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.


0.25 Linear Feet

Scope and Content of Collection

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.

Administrative History

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.

Series 1
Administrative Files

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

Claude G. McKee donated the Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation records to the University of Maryland Libraries in April 1976.

Related Material

Several editions of the Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation's Handbook on the Culture of Maryland Tobacco are available in the Maryland Room (Maryland Folio SB 273.M28 1994 and 1990; Maryland Stacks SB 273.M28 1958/78, 1962, and 1958). The 1971 printing of the handbook is available in the McKeldin Library (Stacks SB 273.M28 1971). A partial run of the newsletter Tobacco Views and News from 1980 to 1986 is also available in the Maryland Room. (Maryland Folio SB 273.T68).

Processing Information

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.

Guide to the Maryland Tobacco Improvement Foundation Records
Unknown, April 1976. Revised by Jill F. Reilly, January 2003.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Library Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives

University of Maryland Libraries
Hornbake Library
4130 Campus Drive
College Park Maryland 20742