The following observations come after Kristen’s recent foray in the University of Wisconsin library:
The trip to check out the Farmers’ Elevator Guide was interesting. There is no index, so I have just scratched the surface. But this is an interesting twist on things: through the Forties and Fifties, the farmers’ cooperatives were a way of doing business along the lines of a union. There are articles about Washington’s involvement (that went so far as to prohibit all commercial building in the nation at one point, excepting elevators!) that makes today’s meddling seem mild by comparison.
Some of these articles, when I get back to Madison, are a must for the politics of the times that made this boom happen. Both the bumper crops that were bolstered by price supports, and various government loan programs and grain storage subsidies, made the business quite a going thing until it didn’t quite work any more. The Chicago Board of Trade complained we were on the road to Socialism. (And we were.) Much of the debate and business news made its way into the Farmers Elevator Guide.