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Colorado State Grange records

 Collection
Identifier: COU:438

Scope and Contents

The collection contains bound proceedings of Annual Meetings (1914/1917/1920-1935/1955-1957), a state roster (1921) and a commemorative address at the 60th Convention in 1934.

Dates

  • 1914 - 1958

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for access.

Conditions Governing Use

Limited duplication of materials allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Biographical / Historical

The Colorado State Grange was organized in 1874 in the territory of Colorado, two years before it became a state and seven after the National Grange came into existence. Called the “Patrons of Husbandry” until 1886, it was organized because farmers were unable to move their products after the Civil War, and banks were asking prohibitive rates which the farmers could not pay. The Grange states that they were a conservative, progressive, non-partisan organization that worked for the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the organization. It was the only fraternal organization to give women and children over 14 the same rights and privileges as men. Many fluctuations occurred in membership throughout the history of the Grange. The first subordinate grange to form was the Ceres Grange, which formed in 1873 with seventeen members in Wheat Ridge, Colorado. 42 granges were represented at the state organizational session in January 1874. When the second annual session was held in 1875, 67 granges with 1,625 members were in attendance. In December 1877, the meeting attendance of delegates was the smallest on record (20 granges). Membership was low during the depression (4188 members) and was at its highest when it went over 12,000 after World War II. The years of 1916 and 1917 were the years of the greatest growth. In 1922, the only scandal in the organization happened; the grange store folded up due to mismanagement. The subordinate granges loaned over $8,000 for the $14,702 debt, which was repaid by October 1941. Several Grangers dropped their membership due to this scandal. The Grange worked to rebuild membership and started Juvenile (i.e. Junior) Granges in the 1930s. In the 1930s, membership grew steadily. The grange tried to stop a decline in membership in the 1950s by dividing the State into two parts for membership recruitment. Franklin Frizzell was in charge of recruiting members on the western slope, and B.J. Bullington was sent to the eastern slope. Also, they held state conventions in cities other than Denver. Under the leadership of Ray Obrecht, membership increased from 8,000 to 9,000, which was a great accomplishment as the number of farms in Colorado decreased by 7,000 in the 1960s. In 1975, the membership was at 8,000 with 100 subordinate granges, 19 junior granges, and 12 Pomona granges. The Grange tried to increase membership in other ways. In 1944, they held a Booster Night (Community Night) to acquaint the public with the Grange’s activities. The 1950s was a publicity-conscious era during which the Grange increased public awareness of its organization and accomplishments. For example, Mrs. Jesse Mae Meyer, a chairman of the Grange, contacted radio broadcasters. On March 12, 1950, Grange items were mentioned on 484 broadcasts. This was a record that the six chairmen after her were unable to approach. The Grange also did many projects, many of which were for their own benefit and others that helped that public at large. In 1874, the master of that grange, George W. Packard, proposed a bank so farmers could get low interest until their crops were sold. The first important issue that was taken care of was preventing the Golden and South Platte Railroad Company from issuing bonds. This may have influenced the decision of the National Grange to encourage regulation railroads. Other early projects of the grange include a cooperative association and the control of the irrigation of water. In 1896, the Grange Mutual Fire Insurance Company was organized. In 1935, the Grange allowed a 2% state sales tax to be imposed upon them for the next two years. However, they returned to a no sales tax stand and passed a resolution endorsing an income tax. They lobbied for highway and road improvements and better traffic laws. The organization prospered greatly in the 1940s while providing food for World War II. The organization was also concerned with school, highway safety, and health. In 1943, they advocated the consolidation of the school districts and endorsed the school hot lunch program. In the late 1940s, they donated generously to the March of Dimes to help polio victims. The Grange sponsored various leisure activities for its members as well. In the 1930s, they held banquets at the Albany and Shirley Savoy Hotels. Several times, over 500 people attended and hundreds more were turned away. The Grange held a large dedication ceremony for its State Grange Building on September 23, 1956, and hosted the November 11, 1957, National Convention in Colorado Springs. They started youth camps in the 1950s and 1960s. The Grange held national sewing contests, as well as art, photography, and crafts contests. In 1970, Mrs. Joan Miller of the Crescent Grange started the Colorado State Grange Chorus.

Extent

1.5 linear feet (1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The Colorado State Grange was organized in the 1870s as an educational and social organization for farmers.

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into the following series: I. JOURNALS OF PROCEEDINGS FOR THE COLORADO STATE GRANGE
Status
Completed
Author
Processed by: Unknown
Date
2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Repository Details

Part of the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Repository

Contact:
1720 Pleasant Street
184 UCB
Boulder Colorado 80503 United States