American Agriculturist Protective Service Member Sign


Origin:United States

Size:14“ height x 7” width

Materials:tin and enamel paint

Object ID:WHP-ADV69

California Cultivator Farm Protective Service Member Sign

Date: 1920s

Origin: United States

Size: 18“ height x 12” width

Materials: heavy gauge sheet iron

Object ID: WHP-ADV1

In the 1920s, the formation of associations and co-ops was widespread in America. Many voluntary citizen cooperatives banded together to solve the problems of crime and lobbying for legislation. Agricultural publishing organizations created membership groups that kept farmers informed and connected them with a larger community. Each member received a membership certificate and a metal sign to post on their property. These signs were used as security “insurance” for member farms and seen as a way to wage “war on rural crime.” They also were used to “protect one from fake agents” while simultaneously acting as free advertising for the farm publication. Some saw this approach as vigilantism in the guise of protective associations – farmers with guns protecting their farms from thefts.

American Agriculturist Protective Service was organized by the American Agriculturist, a publication started in 1843 by the Allen Brothers. The Allen Brothers capitalized on the increase of people moving west due to improved routes of transportation like the widening of the Erie Canal with a monthly publication was well-written, but dry and sparsely illustrated. In 1857, Orange Judd (1822-1892), who had been made the editor in 1853, wanted a way to bring the latest research to farmers, purchased the monthly from the Allen Brothers. He expanded it and began adding engraved illustrations to the publication. He also started publishing a German language edition for immigrants.

Orange Judd created a publishing firm known as Orange Judd and Company. Judd shifted the focus of the American Agriculturist toward the whole family. He published five separate regional editions, expanded the content beyond the production side of the farm, and increased advertisements. This magazine dealt with farmers, gardeners, and the trades that fed into America’s largest industry. In 1888, the Orange Judd Publishing Company bought another agricultural journal, James Hill’s, The Farmer, and would eventually absorb more than thirty agricultural journals.

California Cultivator was a magazine that began publication in 1889 as Poultry in California, became California Cultivator and Poultry Keeper (1892), and finally California Cultivator (1900). It merged with Rural California (1914). It ended publication in 1948 and merged with California Farmer.