New Collection: Arthur W. Rudnick Papers and the 1937 World Dairy Congress

It’s June Dairy Month!  We have a number of collections here in the Special Collections Department which relate to dairy, and to name a few those include the Iowa State Dairy Association Records (where you can see the activities and promotional events of past June Dairy Months here in Iowa), various Iowa State University Dairy Science Department Records (under RS 9/11), and the patent for the process of making blue cheese developed here at Iowa State –  and adopted by Maytag Blue Cheese (under RS 23/01/03).

Iowa State College’s (now University) Iowa Blue Cheese. Photograph taken in 1934.

However, this post will highlight a new collection we recently brought into the department, the Arthur Rudnick Papers.  Rudnick was a long time educator and leader in Iowa’s dairy industry.  He worked at Iowa State as a professor of dairying from 1913 through 1970. During much of his career he served as Iowa State’s extension specialist in dairy manufacturing and developed one of the first dairy manufacturing Extension programs in the country. He retired from the Department of Dairy and Food Industry after more than fifty years of service to the University. In addition to his role as an educator, Rudnick also worked to improve the dairy industry by involving himself in other professional opportunities. He served as a delegate to the 1937 World Dairy Congress held in Berlin, Germany. The World Dairy Congress was held August 22-28th and included over 3,700 delegates from 52 countries. In 1951 Rudnick returned to Europe as a member of a team of farm specialists sent to seek out qualified farm families for immigration to the United States under the Displaced Persons Act.

Arthur Rudnick in 1953 (from the University Photograph Collection, 16-3-A, box 1357)

The collection includes a travel diary documenting Rudnick’s 1937 trip to Europe as a delegate to the World Dairy Congress. Rudnick carefully details his trip, even recording the topics of speakers he listened to at the World Dairy Congress. Pasted into the diary are numerous publications he collected on the trip, mostly written in German, about the dairy industry in England, Germany, and other parts of Europe. Also included in the collection is an article (published in 1919 in the Journal of Dairy Science) in which he describes the process of making buttermilk cheese. At that time, Rudnick states, buttermilk was one of the largest creamery by-products and was often an unprofitable product.

Photograph from the 1937 World Dairy Congress in Berlin, Germany.  (RS 16/3/67, box 1, folder 3)

Rudnick’s diary from 1937 forms the heart of this small collection, and can be a fascinating read about the dairy industry in Europe (mainly Germany and England) in 1937. On page 211 of the diary, in which he describes plants he visited in London on September 14, Rudnick quickly skips from discussing infested milk bottles to pasteurization: “One of the peculiar things is that the housewife does not pretend to send the dairy a clean bottle. We were told that it is not at all uncommon for a plant to receive bottles that had maggots. London has about 90% of its milk pasteurized, the rest is for the most part certified…” In this same entry, Rudnick discusses pasteurizers, aluminum bottle caps, the plant’s production line, and London’s Milk Board.

To read more about Rudnick’s 1937 trip, please visit the Special Collections Department. The finding aid for the Arthur W. Rudnick Papers can be found here.


Now Online: Video on Extension’s History

This week, March 21-26, Iowa State University Extension is celebrating Extension Week.  Check out their website for activities taking place on campus and throughout the state, such as here in Story County.

Perry Holden in the fields at Iowa State in 1905, one year before he was appointed first director of the Agricultural and Home Economics Extension Service

The Extension Service first began here at Iowa State, even before a national extension program was established.  As a land grant college, one of Iowa State’s founding principles was that higher education should be accessible to all.  In the 19th and early 20th century, the Extension Service grew out of early activities such as Iowa State’s short courses for farmers and Perry Holden’s corn train.  These were created from the need and desire to bring the ideas and research here at Iowa State out to the citizens of Iowa.

In 1906 the Iowa General Assembly appropriated funds to create a Department of Extension at Iowa State College.  The National Cooperative Extension Program was a result of the Smith-Lever Act (passed in 1914), which brought together the federal government, the states, and participating county governments as partners in a three-tiered organization to serve the nation’s farm population.

Holden presenting during one of his corn train classes in a train’s passenger car.  Holden’s short courses on corn were so popular that he decided to bring the course to farmers instead of having them flock to the Iowa State campus – and he did this on trains, nonetheless!

To learn more about the history of the Extension Service, take a look at a video we recently uploaded to our YouTube channel.  The video, Extension Heritage: Commemorating 50 Years of Extension Work in Iowa, was made in 1956 to celebrate Extension’s 50 year anniversary.  The video includes reminiscences of one of the founders of the Extension Service, Iowa State Professor Perry Holden.

Holden laid the groundwork for the Extension Service (first called the Agricultural and Home Economics Extension Service), and was appointed its first director in 1906.  In the video, Holden tells about giving 50 speeches in 3 days on his “corn train.”  Holden also reminisces about these courses with a reverend who was on one of the trains on which Holden spoke.  Among a variety of other topics, they discuss early extension work and past and future problems agriculture would face.

The video was made in a different documentary style than we may be used to now, but it contains interesting conversations and bits of history throughout:

We have a variety of collections here at Iowa State documenting the history of Extension, such as the Iowa State University Extension Service Records.  Other Extension related records and papers are listed here on our website.  The collections listed include our Perry G. Holden Papers.