Scope and Contents note
The collection consists of photographs, slides, and motion picture films created by the National Cotton Council to document cotton production and use. It is arranged into three series.
Series 1 are black and white photographic prints dating primarily from the 1950s-1970s. These photographs document every aspect of cotton farming, from before the seed is even planted to the production of finished cloth. The photographs fall into four categories. The majority depict agricultural practices in all their variations, including land preparation, planting, bedding, plowing, harrowing, drainage, cultivation, stripping, and harvesting. Another large group depicts pests and infestations – boll weevils, fleas, mites, pink bollworm, hoppers--and the methods of countering them with insecticide and herbicide applications. A third group of photos documents more general topics, including the history of cotton, research programs, trading, foreign cotton farming, printing, spinning, and weaving. There are also a number of photographs of agricultural equipment manufactured by International Harvester. Finally, a small group of photographs consists of still shots from many of the movies produced by the National Cotton Council. The photographs were maintained in the order that was created by the National Cotton Council.
Series 2 contains slides and color photographs which date from the 1980s-early 2000s. Their value lie in the fact that most seem to cover the same agricultural and general topics as the photographic prints, just in a different format. Many of the groups of slides were obviously assembled for use in presentations. In addition, there are a large number of slides of individuals and activities from National Cotton Council Board meetings and conferences. Since most of these are not captioned and are of little intrinsic value anyway, they will need to be weeded out. In addition, there are a small number of color snapshots, housed in plastic sleeves, mixed in with the slide sheets. While these provide more modern photographic documentation, many of them also show meetings and are probably of little intrinsic value. I was not able to organize the slide sheets into any kind of order before packing them, due to their disorder and lack of time. A lot of processing work will need to be done on this collection, re-housing the slides, weeding out unwanted materials, and separating out the small number of snapshots.
Series 3 consists of office files.
Series 4 consists of two hundred and fourteen films that were created by the National Cotton Council (NCC) and date from the 1960s-1980s. A few of the films document cotton farming, they primarily document cotton’s versatility and use in consumer goods. A consistent theme is that “ordinary cotton” could be quite fashionable. Sample titles include “5000 Years of Cotton Fashion,” “Back to School Fashion,” “Feed Bag Fashions,” ”Designer Showcase,” “Cotton American Style,” “Career Girl Fashion,” “High Fashion in Venice,” “Cotton: Nature’s Food and Fiber Plant,” “Pollution Fighters,” “The Mattress that Wouldn’t Burn,” “Why Cotton in Home Furnishings,” and “Wash and Wear Cottons.”