Guide to the Richard Adlard Collection
NMAH.AC.0692
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0692
Creators:
Adlard, Richard, (Ithel Richard), 1915-1997
Dates:
1936-1998
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
2 cubic feet
3 boxes
Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
This collection consists of some correspondence, extensive agricultural notes, photographs, maps and a scrapbook from Adlard's time as a student at Lingnan University. Adlard's photographs, commentary, and notes on rural life in both China and the Phillipines are extremely detailed and insightful. The collection includes articles written by Adlard, that were inspired by his time in the Orient, on Philippine cocoanut production, Chinese village life, the farmers of China, soybeans as food and pre-war China. The collection also includes Adlard's later articles for various publications and his correspondence with Julia Needham of the
Troy-Bilt Owner News
about Adlard's work with drip system irrigation and design as well as his use of Chinese farming practices in his own home garden. The collection also includes some brief biographical information on Adlard, some related gardening and agricultural pamphlets and two copies of the Garden Way Inc. publication,
Gardening Beyond the Plow
. This collection is valuable in its view of rural China and the Phillipines just prior to World War II and the domination of East Asia by Japan. The collection is arranged chronologically.

Arrangement note
Arrangement note
The collection is arranged chronologically.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Ithel Richard Adlard (1915-1997) was born to Walter and Elizabeth Burrows Adlard on October 14th, 1915 in Condon, Oregon. His interest in agriculture was formed early on and continued into his highschool years. The following is an autobiographical note assembled by Julia Needham, editor of the
Troy-Built Owner News
and a long time correspondent of Adlard, from several of Adlard's letters. This biography was corrected and approved by him in 1995.
At a Methodist youth meeting, I heard a missionary from Allahabad, India, and set my sights on becoming an agricultural missionary. This idea was further reinforced when I studied biology and learned of Mendel's Law. I had a most inspirational biology teacher, Martin Elle, who encouraged me, even though I had little financially.
I got to Oregon State University (then college) where I worked part-time in the greenhouse through a government program for students. This was part of President Roosevelt's New Deal, intended to help college students during the national Depression. We had meaningful jobs at 25 cents per hour.
One morning my roommate read about an opening for an exchange student to Canton, China. I didn't know where Canton was, but checked it out and submitted my application along with several written recommendations. Much to my surprise, I won the Phi Kappa Phi scholarship and in 1937, at age 21, became a student at Lingnan University.
I was the first exchange student in agriculture; the others over the preceding three years had been in the social science and humanities. I was fortunate enough to study under Dr. Floyd A. McClure, a Rhodes scholar and world authority on bamboo, with whom I had biweekly conferences or field trips by bicycle to observe the methods used by local farmers. My textbook was Farmers of Forty Centuries by F.H. King (1848-1911), now available from Rodale Press.
In 1937, the year of my arrival, the Japanese bombed our university, thus disrupting our studies. Four exchange students stayed on while seventeen returned home.
When the American ship on which we sailed docked at Yokohama in 1938, the Japanese authorities came into my stateroom looking for pictures. They had probably seen my article predicting that Japan would take over the Philippines, which my roommate had translated for the Canton paper. Anticipating trouble while at sea, however, I had hidden my bamboo basket of negatives and other materials in a lifeboat along with a broadsword used in executions. After leaving Yokohama, I was relieved to find my belongings still in the boat.
After returning from China, I worked for Oregon State Department of Agriculture when not attending intermittent terms at Oregon State, thus prolonging the completion of my degree in crop science. I devoted all my spare time to the national, "stop war supplies to Japan", movement under the leadership of Dr. Walter Judd, former missionary to China and Senator for Minnesota, whom I met on the boat-trip home. In fact, I spent too much time on this effort and became quite bitter over Americans' "not our business" attitude and the reluctance of colleges and churches to take a stand.
When the draft for one-year training began, I drew Number 17 locally, one year short of finishing college. No draft board appeal process had yet been set up , so I was drafted into the Army in March, 1941, and discharged in August, 1945. I finished my senior year at OSC after returning home. Thereafter, I went to work for the US Soil Conservation Service, and later became an Extension Agent.
What I had learned of traditional Chinese agriculture was all but forgotten during many years of my working life. In the late 1960s, however, the environmental movement and the growing interest in organic food production recalled them to my mind, and I realized that much of modern organic practice was what I had observed in China under an agricultural system that has been used for 4,000 years.
Adlard married his wife Evelyn in 1947, they had two sons. Adlard died on August 22, 1997 in Vancouver, Washington.

Administration
Processing Information note
Processed by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., September 2002.
Author
Finding aid prepared by Franklin A. Robinson, Jr.
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Collection donated by Julia Needham in 1998.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access note
The collection is open for research.
Preferred Citation note
Richard Adlard Collection, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Use note
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Custodial History note
Custodial History note
Collection transferred from Pete Daniels, curator, Division of History of Technology (now known as the Division of Work and Industry), Agriculture Collections in January 2001.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Agriculture--1930-1940--United States Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Agriculture--China Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Agriculture--Philippines Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Correspondence--1930-1940 Genre/Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Japan--1930-1940 Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C., 20013-7012
Phone: 202-633-3270
archivescenter@si.edu