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Pure Milk Association Records (Chicago)

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Pure Milk Association Records (Chicago), 1924-1969 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: Pure Milk Association Records (Chicago), 1924-1969

ID: RHC/RC/062

Extent: 10.5 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 05/14/1979

Subjects: Associated Milk Producers, Dairying, Dairying, Cooperative, Milk Foundation, Pure Milk Association

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Pure Milk Association records document the origin and development of a northern Illinois milk producers’ cooperative during the period 1924 to 1969.  The collection contains eleven boxes of materials including the articles of incorporation and amendments (1926-1961), by-laws (1962-1969), minutes and proceedings from board of directors and special committees (1924-1969), membership agreement forms (1926-1950) official records (1936) business manuals (1945), and publications (1951-1964).  Minutes and proceedings comprise a major portion of the collection and include reports on the Association’s financial position, membership services, plan operations, sales, and public relations activities.  Of special note are corporate records documenting the history of Pure Milk Association Products Co., a subsidiary of Pure Milk Association.  The records detail the organization and dissolution of the shortlived subsidiary from 1936 to 1940.  In all, these records provide an accurate account of the association’s organization and development in the 1920’s, its expansion of membership from 1930 to 1950, and its role as a major dairy bargaining agency from 1950 to 1970.

Collection Historical Note

On November 30, 1925, thirty-five men representing the University of Illinois Agricultural Extension Service and Farm Bureau dairy farmers from eight counties in northeastern Illinois met to discuss a new dairy marketing organization.  Foremost among their concerns was a new ordinance under consideration in Chicago which would require that all milk sold in the city come from herds cort ified to be free of tuberculosis.  Eight men, each representmr one county, were to go back to talk with local dairymen to assess interest in a new marketing organization: Boone County, L. E. Johnson; Cook County, Herman Schwake; Kane County, W. C. McQueen; Lake County, H. K. Vose; McHenry County, Ole Stalheim; Will County, J. H. Cryder; DeKalb County, George Swanberg; DuPage County, Harold Vial.

The Dairy Department of the Illinois Agricultural Association called a second meeting in Chicago on December 15 to hear the reports of the committee of eight.  Clear and nearly unanimous support for a new organization resulted in the creation of the Pure Milk Association in the second meeting.  In subsequent meetings in December and early January, these dairymen completed the details of administration, structure, and purpose of the cooperative and on January 13, 1926, the Pure Milk Association incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois.  During these weeks Chicago had passed an ordinance (on December 24, 1925) requiring tuberculin tests for all herds producing milk to he sold in the city.

From a financial standpoint, the first few years of operation for the Pure Milk Association were lean and discouraging.  Only after the eighteen day milk strike of 1929 was the Association recognized by the Chicago milk dealers as the bargaining agent for northern Illinois milk producers.  In spite of a plunging stack market, stagnant industry, and bankrupt farmers, the Pure Milk Association maintained full production.  Prior to January 1929, the Association had less than 500 members.  By the end of that year membership had grown to 15,000.

With the increase in membership and financial strength the Pure Milk Association instituted more programs to insure reater protection for its members.  Among the services rendered by the Association, the most important were aggressive milk sales, promotion, guaranteed market and milk check, and surplus milk handling through expanded marketing facilities.

On July 21, 1931, the Association organized the “Milk Foundation incorporated” to handle promotional advertising of fluid milk in the Chicago market.  On March 15, 1932, the Association established the Market Adjustment Fund to provide a guaranteed market and guaranteed milk check for every member.  In 1933, the Association began expanding operations to solve the problem of surplus milk disposal by leasing and operating plants in Elgin, Hinckley, Lisle, St. Charles, and Richmond, Illinois, and in Kansasville, Orfordsville, Salem, and Thorpe, Wisconsin.

In one decade, the Pure Milk Association demonstrated its ability as a producer cooperative to increase dairy product sales and encourage dairy farmer cooperation.  In 1969, the Association explored the feasibility of merging several dairy cooperatives into one large cooperative.  In 1969, Pure Milk Association, under the direction of Avery Vose, became a part of the consolidation of 17 cooperatives into the Associated Milk Producers incorporated.

Subject/Index Terms

Associated Milk Producers
Dairying
Dairying, Cooperative
Milk Foundation
Pure Milk Association

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the materials in this collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights to the materials belong to Associated Milk Producers, Incorporated of Chicago, Illinois.  Literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: Walter Kirchner

Acquisition Method: Walter Kirchner deposited the records of the Pure Milk Association in the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on May 14, 1979

Separated Materials: Researchers should note that further information on the Pure Milk Association may also be found at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  The material deals with a Federal Trade Commission investigation ca. 1930’s.

Related Materials: Researchers using these materials may also wish to consult other related manuscript collections hold by the Regional History Center:  DeKalb Consumers Association Records (RC 15), Gurler Family Papers (RC 25), and John P. Case Papers (RC 86).


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Folder 1-27: Minutes, Board of Directors and Association, January 1959-May 1961

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