A fine crop of potatoes you got there, grandpa!

March 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm 1 comment

1918burlingame-noticeYesterday, I was catching up on some research at the Rhode Island Historical Society Library, which holds 43 linear feet of collections relating to the Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Company. I’ve mentioned Brown & Sharpe in previous posts, because National War Garden Commission founder Charles Lathrop Pack singled out this Rhode Island firm for sponsoring War Gardens in 1917.  1918burlingame-bluecard

I focused on a dozen of the 43 linear feet: materials related to Luther D. Burlingame and wartime activity. Burlingame worked for Brown & Sharpe as engineer, and he was active in Rhode Island’s environmental movement in the early 20th century. He not only coordinated the firm’s War Gardens during World War I, but he also launched the state’s subsistence garden program in 1932.

In the last section of the last scrapbook in the last box I had requested, I found several items related to Brown & Sharpe’s activities during WWI. The prize was an 1918 article by Burlingame on “Shop Gardening as a War Measure: How Factory Employees Can Help Increase the Food Supply.” Glancing at the sample list of employees who tended garden plots, I saw a familiar name:

1918burlingame-list

That’s my grandfather, Louis Zurier, who worked–and gardened–at Brown & Sharpe in the war years! I was stunned to encounter him on the pages of a magazine article, in a scrapbook, in a box, at a library. There he was, with 14 bushels of potatoes worth $24.80 in 1917. Good growing, grandpa!

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Entry filed under: Charles Lathrop Pack, economic crisis, factory gardens, food, gardens, Providence, Rhode Island, Rhode Island Historical Society. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Kate  |  March 16, 2009 at 10:14 am

    This is amazing! It must be in your blood.

    Reply

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