Archival Adventures in Small Repositories
Where Solebury Farmers Come to Roost
If you're hungry for a meal--and for some friendly discussion about the best way to grow the food for that meal--you might want to join the Solebury Farmers Club. Founded in 1871 and still in existence, the club is among the oldest agricultural organizations in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The Solebury Farmers Club was founded by a group of about 20 farmers who wanted to share information and advice about agriculture. Members met regularly for potluck suppers, conversation, and to listen to speakers on topics such as "Fruit Growing and Farming" (William Parry, 1878), "The Tiller of the Soil, an Autumn Reverie" and "Agriculture and Agricultural Methods in the Orient" (J. Ewing Mears, 1904 and 1908).
The club also participated in farm shows and agricultural competitions--or chose not to participate. In 1899, The New York Times reported on the club's refusal to send wheat samples to the Paris Exposition as a protest against the Dreyfus affair. The Times cited the club's reason, "it is the duty of every citizen...to express his condemnation of the sacrifice of [equal] justice upon the altar of militarism evidenced in the conviction of the Capt. Alfred Dreyfus."*
The Solebury Farmers Club has a long and fascinating history, which they celebrated with 90th and 100th anniversaries in 1961 and 1971. In fact, the keynote speaker for the 90th anniversary was renowned author James A. Michener! To learn more about the Solebury Farmers Club, visit the Solebury Township Historical Society. The club's records at the historical society include a nearly complete run of minute books, 1871-2010, as well as newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, membership dues records, copies of the Solebury Farmers Club Journal newsletters, materials relative to the 90th and 100th anniversary celebrations of the club, and various other documents, printed materials, and photographs.
*"Farmers' Club Takes Action." The New York Times, September 17, 1899. Accessed August 1, 2013. http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=F70616F83F5512738DDDAE0994D1405B8985F0D3.