CyPix: “Dirt Farm Editing” with Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson at his typewriter, undated. (MS 61, box 1, folder 9)

Ray Anderson at his typewriter, undated. (MS 61, box 1, folder 9)

“Dirt Farm Editing,” perhaps it should be called for I try to tamp my stories full of dirt but never to dish it out. Clean dirt, the kind that grows your bacon and eggs, the “dirt farmer” sort of dirt, including muck, mire, mud and manure, but just the same the soil and soul of the nation.

– Ray Anderson. “My Stories are Full of Dirt! An All-American Farm Editor Gives Low Down on His Job.” The Quill, April 1928. (MS 61, box 1, folder 3)

Ray Anderson, former farmer, was best known for his work as a journalist. From 1927-1944 he served as Farm Editor for the Cedar Rapids Gazette. His regular columns included “Fence Drift: Caught in the Woven Wire” (observational poetry) and “SHUCKS! Let’s Talk It Over” (news and observations). In 1944 he left the Gazette to join the staff of Farm Journal as an Associate Editor. Calling Anderson “America’s greatest farm reporter,”  Farm Journal Editor Carroll P. Streeter,  described Anderson as possessing the “liveliest reportorial curiosity I have ever known. Nothing pleases him so much as striking out to go new places, see new things, meet new people, encounter new ideas. He will never outgrow this if he lives to be 100.” (MS 61, box 1, folder 11).


Sunshine, at last.
In abundance.
* * *
Puts color in the corn.
And happy in the heart of the farmer.
* * *
‘Twas ever so, in Iowa.
Gloom never aught but temporary.
* * *
Soil, rain, sunshine, the man on the acres.
Reasons why we live in the center of the world.

– Fence Drift: Caught in the Woven Wire.
Undated. (MS 61, box 1, folder 4)


Aside from the Ray Anderson Papers (MS 61 Finding Aid), we have a number of manuscript collections pertaining to agricultural journalism. Here is a sampling of them:

As always, we are happy to help you with your research. Give us a call or email!

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