Title: Williams County Farmers Union Records
Collection number: 10498
Quantity: 6.25 ft.
Provenance: The State Historical Society of North Dakota acquired the Williams County Farmers Union Records from the Williams County Farmers Union on August 19, 1987. This manuscript collection was processed and the inventory prepared by Kari Rombs Kohlhoff, Karen Mund, and Lotte Bailey in July 1988.
Property Rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.
Copyrights: The Williams County Farmers Union has dedicated such copyrights as it possesses in this collection to the public. Consideration of all other copyrights is the responsibility of the researcher.
Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.
Transfer: Two and one-half feet of material were removed and transferred to the appropriate collection management area of the State Archives. Two feet of publications such as books, booklets, newsletters, and pamphlets were transferred to the library.
One-half foot of black and white photos and negatives was transferred to the Photo Archives. Included were photos of conventions; trips to Washington, D.C.; youth camp; and various Williams County Farmers Union cooperatives.
Three samples of arts and craft ideas were transferred to the ephemera collection.
One map of North Dakota was removed and transferred to the map collection.
Since the late 1800's farmers have been aware of the need to join together. Significant organizations came into being such as the Grange movement, National Farmers Alliance, and the Alliance from which the Farmers Union is a descendent. The Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of America was founded at Point, Texas, in 1902, for the purpose of securing equity, establishing justice, and applying the golden rule concerning the plight of the farmer. Today, the National Farmers Union, located in Denver, Colorado, assists state and local unions in various ways.
During the 1920's farmers were seeking an organization that would unify them as they fought foreclosure and other rural problems. Active planners of the Northwest Organizing Committee, Charles Clyde Talbott, A. C. Thatcher, and A. W. Ricker, were determined that North Dakota farmers should have a strong voice. They chose to build an organization primarily to educate farmers in economics and legislation and to safeguard farm laws within the state and nation. Of secondary importance were cooperative efforts in marketing agricultural commodities and purchase of supplies through cooperative corporations.
Recognition of strong local and county participation resulted in grassroots meetings throughout North Dakota in 1927. The first state convention, held in Jamestown in 1927, was attended by 13,000 members. The state headquarters was established in Jamestown.
As stated in its articles of incorporation, the organization's official name was Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of North Dakota, better known as the North Dakota Farmers Union. Its purpose was to carry out a program of education, engage in any activity involving marketing and selling of agricultural products to union members, and distribute and disseminate information to farm families. Members had to be at least 18 years old, involved in farming or ranching, and active participants within the organization and cooperatives. Regular attendance at meetings and a youth program added strength to the union.
The Williams County Farmers Union was organized in 1926 with Alex Lind as the first county president. Farmers Union members canvassed each township in order to form strong local organizations within the county. The locals of Williams County organized during 1927 and that year the county convention was held. The strength of the Williams County Farmers Union locals enabled them to collectively voice the needs and desires of the members. Williams County Farmers Union coordinated the efforts of locals at the state and national level.
The Williams County Farmers Union gave particular attention to the efforts of cooperatives. Farmers Union members patronize cooperatives, are stockholders, and direct the policies of the local cooperatives. In 1928, the first cooperative creamery in the state was established in Williams County and the first state credit union in 1939. The impact of the Farmers Union Oil cooperatives offered support in building other cooperatives, such as grain elevators, cooperative markets, and lumber yards. Despite strong Farmers Union support the endeavors of the medical clinic and funeral association met with disappointing opposition.
North Dakota was one of four states to organize a youth program in 1929. Its purpose was to build better citizens, by being better citizens, and to understand the problems of agricultural organizations. The youth program brought continuity to the Farmers Union organization. Educational programs for juniors emphasized the need for the cooperative movement, peace and patriotism, speech and writers projects, summer camps, and visits to Washington, D.C. These efforts helped prepare youth for the future.
Williams County Farmers Union was a driving force behind rural electrification and the extension of rural telephone services. WCFU helped the establishment of UND-Williston in an effort to provide further education for county youth by supporting a memorial fund and a loan program. The Farmers Union has continued over the years to prepare for the future.
Bismarck Capital Golden Jubilee Edition, Tuesday, August 22, 1939, p. 5.
FU Youth Activities Manual, Dept. of Education, National Farmers Union, 1951, pp. 3-36.
Farmers Union Program, 1952-1953, Golden Jubilee Convention, Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of America.
50 Years North Dakota Farmers Union, Charles and Joyce Conrad, 1976.
Grass Roots, Harold V. Knight, NDFU, Jamestown, 1947.
Guide Post for Teachers in the Local, Coop Publishing Association, ND.
Williston Daily Herald, July 3, 1952.
Williston Herald, October 12, 1977.
SCOPE AND CONTENT
The Williams County Farmers Union Records date from 1930-1977 and measure 6 1/4 ft. The records consist of minutes and subject files. This collection documents administration, projects, and programs of the local as well as cooperative, county, and state levels of the National Farmers Union organization.
The minutes of the Williams County Farmers Union Board of Directors date from 1930-1970, measure 1/2 ft., and are arranged in chronological order. The minutes document annual and quarterly meetings and the effort of the county organization to coordinate the activities of locals and cooperatives on the state and national level.
The subject files measure 5 3/4 ft. and date from 1930 to 1977. The subject files are arranged alphabetically by keyword. The files document the activities of the WCFU cooperatives, county and local activities, and demonstrate the efforts of the county union to coordinate activities on their behalf at the state and national level. Cooperative files include annual reports and financial statements, articles of incorporation and bylaws, clinic form letters, manager’s files, statements, and a list of cooperative stockholders. County files consists of assistant secretary forms, correspondence, legislative director files, membership records, receipt and disbursement record, secretary's correspondence, and youth director files. Local records include bills, dues, headquarter files, officer record sheets, secretary's reports, and secretary-treasurer record books. State files include correspondence, financial statements, policy reports, president's correspondence, secretary's correspondence and statements. Other miscellaneous subject files consists of audit reports, bulletin board material, charter application forms, clippings, coordination meetings, corporation farming, government subsidy review, "Hello Out There" news column files, historical material, Junior Echo information, library materials, Medicare and Social Security information, program suggestions, reserve camp files, rural telephone records, scrapbooks, skits, vocational rehabilitation, and withholding statements.
BOX / FOLDER INVENTORYMinutes
1 Minutes 1930-1941
2 Minutes 1942-1946
3 Minutes 1947-1951
4 Minutes 1952-1956
5 Minutes 1957-1962
6 Minutes 1963-1966
7 Minutes 1967-1970
8 Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws 1946-1970
9 Audit Reports 1955-1956
10 Auditor's File 1967-1969
11 Bulletin Board Material 1977-1978
12 Charter Application Forms
13 Clippings 1956-1964
14 Congressmen, U.S. Correspondence 1947-1951
15 Annual Report and Financial Statements 1945-1960
16 Annual Report and Financial Statements 1945-1960
17 Appreciation Day, Night 1956-1965
18 Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws 1928-1941
19 Articles of Incorporation, Bylaws 1928-1941
20 Boards and Managers 1959-1965
21 Clinic, Form Letters
22 Clinic 1946-1966
23 Clinic 1946-1966
1 Credit Union and Oil Company 1942-1975
2 Data, Directors, Employees, Manager 1957-1958
3 Educational Committee, Credit Union 1946
4 Hospital Information 1944-1945
5 Managers File 1961-1963
6 Market 1943-1969
7 R.E., REA and Credit Union 1964-1965
8 Statements 1931-1966
9 Statements 1931-1966
10 Stockholders of Cooperative
11 Trips 1959-1960
12 Coordination Meetings 1971-1973
13 Conferences 1970
14 Corporations, Farming 1961
15 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
16 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
17 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
18 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
19 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
20 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
21 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
22 Assistant Secretary 1949-1977
23 Contact Work 1966
24 Correspondence, Check-off 1950
25 Educational Director 1947-1950
26 Legislative Director 1955
27 Membership, Veterans 1946-1947
1 Meeting Reports 1960-1962
2 Membership Cards 1932-1957
3 Membership Cards 1932-1957
4 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
5 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
6 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
7 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
8 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
9 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
10 Membership Participation Record 1954-1965
11 Membership Summary 1967-1969
12 Membership Summary 1967-1969
13 Receipt and Disbursement Record 1935-1941
14 Secretary's Correspondence 1930-1952
15 Secretary's Correspondence 1930-1952
16 Secretary's Correspondence 1930-1952
17 Youth Booklet 1965-1967
18 Youth Director 1961-1966
19 Discussion 1962
20 Float 1950
21 Government Subsidy Historical Review 1958-1960
22 Health Material 1945-1950
23 Health Workshop 1946-1947
1 "Hello Out There" News Column 1970-1973
2 "Hello Out There" News Column 1970-1973
3 Historical Material, Farmers Union 1930-1973
4 Historical Material, Farmers Union 1930-1973
5 History, Bull Butte 1950
6 History, Bull Butte 1950
7 History, Farmers Union
8 History, Williams County Farmers Union 1974
9 Income 1955
10 Junior Echo filler information 1933-1955
11 Junior Echo filler information 1933-1955
12 Juniors, Voting Membership
13 Labor 1959-1960
14 Library Materials 1941-1952
15 Library Materials, Rural 1956-1957
16 Annual Meeting 1959
17 Bills 1954-1955
18 Bills 1954-1955
19 Dues 1951-1953
20 Dues 1951-1953
21 Dues 1951-1953
22 Dues, Check Off-Cash Membership 1953
23 Dues, Remitted 1951-1953
24 Dues, Remitted 1951-1953
25 Dues, Remitted 1951-1953
1 Headquarters Financial File 1949-1976
2 Headquarters Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1944-1975
3 Membership Reports 1948-1957
4 Officer Record Sheets 1946-1957
5 Officer Record Sheets 1946-1957
6 Red Cross 1956
7 Secretary's File 1955-1957
8 Secretary's Reports 1957-1973
9 Secretary's Reports 1957-1973
10 Secretary's Reports 1957-1973
11 Secretary's Reports 1957-1973
12 Secretary's Reports 1957-1973
13 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
14 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
15 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
16 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
17 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
1 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
2 Secretary-Treasurer Record Book 1938-1958
3 Voting Members 1960
4 Medicare and Social Security 1964
5 Midwest Conference on Food Policy 1974
6 National Farmers Union 1947-1956
7 Northwest Trade School 1956
8 Program Service 1946-1950
9 Program Suggestions 1964
11 Recreation and Refreshments 1952-1966
12 Recreation and Refreshments 1952-1966
13 Reserve Camp 1955-1962
14 Resolutions 1956-1957
15 Rural Telephone 1952-1953
16 Sand S Electric 1974
17 Schools 1945
18 Scrapbooks 1942-1962
19 Scrapbooks 1942-1962
21 Skits and Plays
21 Skits and Plays
22 Services Incorporated 1944-1960
23 Correspondence 1956-1958
24 Financial Statements 1974
25 Policy Report, Adopted 1956-1960
26 Policy Reports, Tentative 1955-1974
27 President, Correspondence 1939-1949
28 Secretary, Correspondence 1947-1951
29 Statements 1945-1955
30 Statements 1945-1955
1 United Nations 1957-1964
2 Vocational Rehabilitation 1946
3 Withholding Statements 1947-1955
4 Williston, Old Farmers Elevator 1942
5 Young Adult Program 1971
6 Youth Leader, First in Williams County 1933-1936
Box 8: photographs
10498-01 Crowd in Williston Armory listening to Senator Gerald Nye speak 1941
10498-02 Farmers Union grain terminal elevator, Williston, ND ca 1920s
10498-03 Conference of Chief Justices fifth annual meeting portrait, Boston August 1953
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