Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A year later in 1939 Makepeace announced the library as an accomplished fact with the library to “consist of all publications, letters, records, etc., pertaining to the cranberry industry which it is possible to obtain.”
He urged any member who knew of any old diaries of cranberry growers of the past, bog records or other material which might easily be considered as being of no value and might be thrown away, to have them placed in the library so that eventually there will be a complete reference room with cranberry material kept for the information of visitors and for reference upon every possible phase of the industry.
He gave Dr. Henry J. Franklin of the State Cranberry Experiment Station great credit for assembling much of the material already gathered.
The Growers’ Association was supported in this work by Clarence J. F. Hall (1898-1967), editor and publisher of Cranberries magazine who was a vocal advocate of the project and who editorialized in the May, 1939, edition of that magazine about the benefits that could be derived from such a library. “This should be of help to the cranberry industry, not only of Massachusetts but to the growers in the other cranberry states. For, here will be filed away in time all information about all the ramifications of our cranberry culture, which can possibly be obtained.”
A review of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association in 1950 indicated the foundation of the library as among its most noteworthy achievements. At this time it was recognized as “undoubtedly the greatest collection of ‘Cranberryiana’ in the world”. Yet despite the wealth of materials archived in the collection and the pride which the Growers’ Association clearly had in the collection, it was underused by growers, so much so that Cranberries urged “visits – frequent ones – to that ‘cranberry room.’ This is a project of Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association which is given too little attention. There is much of interest there to every grower.” To reinforce its case, the magazine reprinted remarks made by Walter A. Piper of the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture before the spring meeting of the Growers’ Association and on WEEI radio Boston supporting the library.
The Middleborough cranberry collection remained a tangible reminder of the Association’s presence and was regularly cited by officers of the organization throughout the period as an example of the group’s success. Outgoing president Arthur M. Handy of Cataumet pointed with pride to the work of the library in August, 1957.
Today, the cranberry collection remains an important resource to researchers. With photographs, barrel and box labels, early records of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association and other materials, the Middleborough Public Library Cranberry Collection likely remains the largest collection of historic cranberry-related materials in existence.
A small portion of the Middleborough Public Library’s Cranberry Collection may be viewed on-line.
“Middleboro Library Has Novel Cranberry Room”, undated newspaper clipping
Cranberries, May, 1938, “Cape Growers’ Association has Annual Meeting”, p. 8; May, 1939, “Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association Holds It’s [sic] Spring Meeting at Wareham”, p. 6, and “Cranberry Library”, p. 9; September, 1943, “56th Annual Meeting of Cape Growers Association”, p. 12; September, 1944, “Mass. Crop Can Be Called ‘Poorest Ever.’ Considering Present Acreage Possibility”, 7; March, 1945, “Cranberry Scoops and Screenings”, p. 20; September, 1946, “Program of Cape Growers’ Association Exceptionally Interesting”, p. 6; December, 1946, “Some Random Thoughts”, p. 18; May, 1950, “Mass. Cranberry Station and Field Notes”, p. 3; September, 1951, “Marketing, main Topic of Annual Meeting, Cape Association ..”, p. 10; May, 1954, “Fifty Years Ago, and Now”, p. 15, and “Cranberry Room”, p. 20; August, 1957, “Massachusetts Growers Warned State is Slipping in National Production”, p. 13