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William H. Benjamin Letters

An inventory of his letters at Syracuse University

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Benjamin, William H.
Title: William H. Benjamin Letters
Inclusive Dates: 1935-1936
Quantity: 86 items
Abstract: Papers of the American publisher of the National Farm News, a publication devoted to the interests of the American farmer; includes incoming correspondence from congressmen, senators, and governors concerning a campaign by the National Farm News for rural road development.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

William H. Benjamin is best known for his publication, National Farm News. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Virginia E. Jenckes, a congresswoman from Indiana writes (20 Jan 1936):

The National Farm News published at Wisconsin Avenue and M. Street, N. E., Washington, D.C., by Mr. William H. Benjamin, has been rendering a real and genuine service to farmers throughout America for the past ten years. About a year ago Mr. Benjamin acquired the ownership of this publication, and since then it has made great progress in the connection of service rendered to farmers, and in its influence as a national farm publication.

At the height of the era of New Deal legislation, when the nation's farmers were beginning to recognize the need for political organization in an effort to ensure receiving their fair share in an economy already stretched to the breaking point, the National Farm News led a vigorous campaign for the improvement of rural roads which would enable farmers to more easily transport their goods to markets. In a nod of recognition of the animosity between his urban and rural constituents, Governor Wilbur L. Cross of Connecticut quotes from his 1931 inaugural address (23 Jan 1936):

The time has come to lift the farmer out of the mud! During the winter months many of the rural roads are impassable by automobile and very few of them are ordinarily in good condition. The ideal towards which we should strive is a complete network of good roads from all villages and outlying districts, tied in with the state roads and trunk [sic] lines, so that all parts of the State may be readily accessible to farmers and city dwellers alike.

Recognizing a forum in which to cite his political accomplishments and demonstrate his good will toward farmers, Congressman John W. Gwynne of Iowa offers this typical response (31 Jan 1936):

One of the outstanding accomplishments of my State of Iowa in the past fifteen years has been the building of good primary roads. Due to the splendid efforts of the State Highway Commission, our County Boards of Supervisors and our County Engineers, we now have a network of hard surfaced roads second to none in Union.
In the development of farm-to-market roads, however, we have not made the progress which is to be desired. It would seem that a larger percentage of the federal aid money should go to these roads. Money should not be used for expensive diagonal roads or cutoffs (except in the interest of public safety) until the roads the farmers now use are brot [sic] to a higher degree of usefulness.

In a similar vein, Congressman William Lemke of North Dakota offers this optimistic if irreverent observation (1 Mar 1936):

There is a brighter future ahead for agriculture. The dumbbells in Congress will finally wake up to the fact that the farmer must be refinanced, that he must get cost of production, he must have farm to market roads and that all of these are part of the national welfare and national defense.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The William H. Benjamin Letters is a group of documents relating to the National Farm News, a publication devoted to the interests of the American farmer. The collection consists mainly of incoming letters dated 1935 and 1936 from congressmen, senators, and governors to whom Benjamin had sent complimentary issues of the publication.

In response to receipt of the periodical, most of the correspondents include statements about the National Farm News itself as well as various topics related to agriculture. A number of correspondents also allude to the inclusion of farming-related articles, speeches, and legislation, and grant permission to Benjamin to quote from these items for future issues of the publication.

Also included in the collection are three holograph lists which categorize the correspondents with reference to their governmental positions: congressmen, senators, or governors.

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Arrangement of the Collection

The collection contains one series, correspondence, arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Subject Headings


Benjamin, William H.
Bridges, Styles, 1898-1961.
Buck, Clayton Douglass.
Buckler, Richard Thompson.
Cross, Oliver Harlan, 1870-
Cross, Wilbur L. (Wilbur Lucius), 1862-1948.
Earle, George H. (George Howard), 1856-1928.
Gwynne, John W.
Healey, Arthur Daniel, 1889-
Hoffman, Harold Giles, 1896-1954.
Jenckes, Virginia E.
Johnson, Edwin Carl, 1884-1970.
Kahn, Florence Prag, 1866-1948.
Lemke, William, 1878-1950.
Martin, Charles Henry.
Minton, Sherman, 1890-1965.
Mitchell, John R. (John Richard), 1861-1939.
Pierce, Walter Marcus, 1861-1954.
Rogers, Edith Nourse.
Ross, Charles Ben.
Sheppard, Morris, 1875-1941.
Sholtz, David, 1891-1953.
Tingley, Clyde.
Welford, Walter.

Associated Titles

National farm news.


Agriculture and politics -- United States.
Farm roads -- United States.
Farmers -- Political activity.
Publishers and publishing -- United States.
Rural roads -- United States.

Genres and Forms




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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

William H. Benjamin Letters
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Finding Aid Information

Created by: KM
Date: Feb 1989
Revision history: 04 Sep 2008 - converted to EAD (LDC)

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SC 78, Folder 1 List of correspondents - 3 lists organized by governmental office: congressmen, senators, and governors
SC 78, Folder 2 Allred, James V. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Bachman, Nathan Lynn (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Bell, Charles Jasper (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Berry, Tom (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Blood, Henry Hooper (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 2 Boykin, Frank W. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Bridges, Henry Styles (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Buck, Clayton Douglass (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Buckbee, John T. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 2 Buckler, Richard Thompson (4 letters)
SC 78, Folder 2 Burke, Edward Raymond (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Caraway, Hattie W. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Carey, Robert Davis (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Chandler, Albert Benjamin (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Chandler, Walter (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Cochran, John J. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Coffee, Harry B. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Cross, Oliver Harlan (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Cross, Wilbur Lucius (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Earle, George Howard (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Ehringhaus, John C. B. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Futrell, Junius Marion (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Gillette, Guy Mark (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Guffey, Joseph F. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 3 Gwynne, John W. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 4 Healey, Arthur Daniel (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 4 Hildebrandt, Fred H. (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 4 Hoffman, Harold Giles (3 letters)
SC 78, Folder 4 Holt, Elmer (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 4 Jenckes, Virginia E. (6 letter)
SC 78, Folder 4 Johnson, Edwin Carl (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 5 Kahn, Florence Prag (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 5 Kocialkowski, Leo (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 5 Kump, Herman Guy (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 5 Lemke, William (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 5 McNutt, Paul V. (3 letters)
SC 78, Folder 5 Martin, Charles Henry (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 5 Minton, Sherman (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 5 Mitchell, John Richard (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 6 Nelson, William Lester (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 6 Nice, Harry W. (3 letters)
SC 78, Folder 6 Noe, James Albert (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 6 O'Day, Caroline (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 6 Peery, George Campbell (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 6 Peterson, Hugh (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 6 Pierce, Walter Marcus (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 6 Pope, James Pinckney (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Ramspeck, Robert (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Reilly, Michael Kiernan (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Rogers, Edith Nourse (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 7 Ross, Charles Ben (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Sheppard, Morris (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 7 Sholtz, David (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 7 Talmadge, Eugene (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Thomas, Elbert D. (2 letters)
SC 78, Folder 7 Tingley, Clyde (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Welford, Walter (1 letter)
SC 78, Folder 7 Wilson, Riley J. (1 letter)

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