I write two series of books, and in each series I try to pass on our farm heritage in an entertaining but accurate story. My goal is for people to see my stories hundreds of years from now and understand what it was like to be a child on a farm in 1950.
I believe that a story not told is lost forever, and that we need to tell our stories, for if they are left to others to tell, the stories will either be inaccurate or forgotten.
I have a goal of producing 16 titles of fun, accurate stories about a farm family in 1950. The stories range from January to December and deal with the same farm family. When completed, the stories will express in a very personal but accurate way what it was like to be a child on a farm in 1950.
I have 4 stories completed, but to tackle the next one, a story about harvest, I need to do something a bit different.
Please read the letter below, which I sent to hundreds of places via email and USPS. Also, our show at Minnesota City Historical Society was the first place we handed out the letter of request after the show. The response to the letter from those who attended my show was extremely gratifying.
Respond if you can help or pass on the request. Many thanks-----
Hello to everyone,
i apologize for this impersonal message, but I’m sending this request for harvest pictures to many people and many facilities in hopes of getting a good response. Please pass this message on to anyone who can help.
For those of you who have seen my show at a nearby school, museum, library, or senior/community center, you are already familiar with my efforts to preserve our farm heritage by creating accurate stories about farm life in1950, stories which aim to teach and entertain children and adults of all ages.
But let me review my purpose briefly:
I have two series of books that tell accurate yet entertaining stories about farm activities: If I Were a Farmer series and Farm Country Tales series.
Both series are efforts to preserve farm heritage with Collector books that will become keepsakes to be passed on from generation to generation.
More about my other stories can be found on www.gordonfredrickson.com
I have sixteen titles planned that cover the farm activities of the fictional Carlson Family from January through December in 1950, and my long-term goal is to complete all sixteen stories so I have a body of work that accurately depicts events on a farm in 1950. The books will be historic and entertaining. I have 4 books completed so far.
The next book in the Farm Country Tales series will be called Harvest: A Farm Country Story, and I hope to make it different from the others in the series in a couple ways:
1) Since many people have asked about my doing a story on harvest with comments like, "Don't forget to include the big dinner and all the lunches," or "Don't forget tipping the shocks," or "Don't forget stack threshing," I know this book about harvest will have to be more than twice as long as the others and probably larger in dimensions.
2) Because of the difficulty in illustrating all the machinery accurately, I have decided to have the book contain two parallel stories.
On the left page will be actual photos of harvest activities along with an explanation and narration of the process.
On the right page (or part of the right page) will be my fictional story in rhyme and meter. Since I hoe to have ample pictures displaying all aspects of threshing, my rhymed story will not be accompanied by any illustrations of harvest on the Carlson farm in 1950.
The Carlson Family is the same fictional family I have featured in all of my Farm Country Tales series. Although this book will be aimed more at adults, I am hoping my story will be an added entertainment to interest kids and others who have not experienced the process first-hand.
I would like to keep the cost of the book under $25.00 but I want it to be hardcover and of collector quality.
However, I need a great deal of help locating pictures.
If you or anyone you know has pictures I can use, please let me know.
Either email them to me or if you can't scan them, call me and we can figure out a way to get a copy to me.
You will be given credit in the book and offered a free book when (and if) the book is completed.
If you have a large number of pictures, maybe we can schedule a time when we can come out to visit your farm, museum, or personal collection. Distance is not an issue.
Pictures should be from the era of 1940-1960 (but they can be from any time period as long as they are pictures of any part of the process of harvesting grain). The book is about threshing, but I need pictures of early combining for the book, too.
Also, any kind of picture showing any kind of old farm activity may be useful, for example, pumping water from a well or a cistern, washing clothes or hanging them on a line, picking eggs or cleaning eggs, a hen on a nest, cleaning chickens and cooking on a wood stove (even if it is not for harvest).
Since the area I am portraying is hilly, pictures that show hilly terrain are preferred, but if your pictures are on level fields, that's OK.
Please know I welcome all pictures.
Pictures can show horses and tractors, kids and adults, men and women. Pictures of steam power are welcome too.
I am interested in pictures showing all facets of threshing, and I am a little reluctant to give a list because I do not want to leave anything out.
But below is a list of some items to spark your memory. The list is not meant to limit, so if you have something that is not on the list, send it anyway:
1. Cutting grain with a binder pulled by horses or tractor.
2. shocking grain by kids and adults and men and women, taking a water break and drinking out of a thermos or a jar
3. tipping shocks-pictures with snakes in the shocks would be good too
4. Pictures of snakes in the grain bundle or on the wagon
5. loading bundles
6. kids working with adults
7. kids and/or adults in the grain box, loading or unloading
8. pitching bundles into the machine
9. someone on the machine as it is working
10. the machine blowing straw onto the straw pile
11.someone adjusting the blower
12. men and women and kids pitching bundles
13. belting the threshing machine
14. aligning and tightening the drive belt
15. unplugging the machine
16. people of any age pumping water.
17. cutting grain with horses or with tractors pulling the grain binder
18. washing up for lunch inside and outside the house
19. serving and eating lunch outside in the field or inside the house
20. preparing the meal--all steps, including butchering chickens,
making pies, etc. using a wood stove or newer range.
21. women cooking, especially with a wood burning cook stove
22. women in the field or driving tractors
23. kids driving tractors
24. people loading wagons-
wagons pulled by horses--wagons pulled by tractors
25. threshing machine on the road
26, pumping water by hand for cattle or animals of any kind
27. pumping water from a cistern pump in a kitchen or washroom
28. washing clothes with a ringer washer
29. hanging clothes out on the clothesline
30. stacking bundles for stack threshing
31. stack threshing or pitching bundles into a threshing machine
from a stack of bundles
32. stack threshing when there is snow in the ground
33. butchering chickens or ducks or geese
And any other farm activity!
Identify the date of the picture, the workers, the activity, and the machinery, if possible because i intend to identify details in each picture in the book.
Thanks for any help you give. If I use one or more of your pictures, you will get a free book if it gets published. Getting this done will be a long process.
I can make no promise that it will be published. It depends on the quality and quantity of pictures I get, so please do your best to help me out.
I hope to hear from you. I want this to be known as the book on threshing.
I want it to be known as the book that depicts our Minnesota harvest heritage.
To contact me,
Call me at 952-461-2111, 952-797-6169.
or send me a note at my address:
Gordon W. Fredrickson
8855 Canter Lane
Lakeville, MN 55044
My wife Nancy will be assembling and cataloging the pictures as they come in.
Thank you so much.