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The Kansas Government Information (KGI) Online Library
Kansas government publications, resources and information available from the State Library of Kansas

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May 11

Kansas Rural/Small Town Life in 1913-14

Posted on May 11, 2018 at 4:28 PM by Bill Sowers

We've dusted off the Kansas State Board of Agriculture's 19th Biennial Report for the years 1913 and 1914 and have it on display for your perusal on the virtual shelves of the State Library of Kansas' KGI Online Library.

WAIT!  DON'T LEAVE!  COME BACK! OK... a Biennial Report on agriculture in Kansas in the early 20th century... a snoozer for sure.  Nope!  This is an amazing look at rural life in the Sunflower State over 100 years ago and we encourage you to take a look.  It's not just statistics and dry reports on crops and livestock.

For one thing, these folks knew how to write using descriptive, sometimes flowery, excited language that might seem a bit overboard to our "just the facts, Ma'am" 21st century government publication way of thinking.  But then they weren't just reporting, they were promoting life in Kansas to the reader.  The book covers social life, schools, county fairs, roads, etc.

Beyond the writing though are the photographs within the book.  There are 230 graphics in this publication showing all aspects of rural life in Kansas in the early 20th century.  Just scrolling through the book looking at these pictures is a treat.

I'm listing the chapters here just to give you an idea of what is inside the Biennial Report.  It's over 1,000 pages long so we split it into four parts for easier loading:

The Biennial Report is huge so we have divided it into four parts. The parts are as follow (pages and Chapters within each part) :
--PART 1. (pages i-vii, 1-246)
CHAPTER TITLES: Officers and Members of State Board of Agriculture -- Letter of Transmittal -- Introductory -- Schools and Churches -- Social Centers -- Public Highways -- Agricultural Fairs -- Cooperation in Kansas.

--PART 2. (pages 247-539)
CHAPTER TITLES: Agricultural Agents and Farmers' Bureaus -- Irrigation by Pumping in Kansas -- Farm Management -- Domestic Economy -- Agricultural Engineering -- The Soil -- Field Crops.

--PART 3. (pages 540-722 [plus one unnumbered page)
CHAPTER TITLES: Livestock -- Dairying -- Poultry Culture -- Entomology -- The Record-smashing Wheat Crop of Kansas -- Proceedings of the Board -- Twenty Years of Kansas Agriculture.

--PART 4. (pages 723-1024)
CHAPTER TITLES: Statistics of Counties, showing population, acreages, productions and live stock, their values for 1913 and 1914, assessed valuations of properties for taxation in 1914, etc -- General Summary of Statistics, assessed valuation of taxable property for 1914, diagrams of various crops showing comparisons, population and area, and state summaries for 1913 and 1914 -- Crop and Live-stock Statistics for the Years 1913 and 1914 -- General Index -- List of Illustrations.

Bring up one of the Parts and browse through it.  I think you'll be surprised at the depth of information it has on farm life in Kansas a century ago.

State Board of Agriculture Biennial Report - 1913-1914