Reports by the South Carolina Boll Weevil Commission regarding decrease in cotton production due to infestation, 1917 & 1921

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Document Description:

The boll weevil, a beetle that feeds on the bolls of cotton plants, entered the United States from Mexico at the turn of the century.  By the mid-1910s, the boll weevil was destroying cotton yields in mid-South.  These two reports from South Carolina’s Boll Weevil Commission provided information about the boll weevil outbreaks in other states, and how to combat the problems in South Carolina.  The illustration of the boll weevil comes from a 1917 report by the Commission.  The 1921 report also included the Brookhaven Report, which outlined the findings from a 1915 expedition to Louisiana to assess the boll weevil threat to South Carolina.  The Brookhaven Report outlines the importance of paying off old debts and working together as a community, to be prepared for the smaller cotton crops after the boll weevil entered the state.  The entire south would be affected by the decrease in cotton production throughout the 1920s, which in many ways brought the beginning of the Great Depression to the South well before the stock market crash of 1929.

Citation:

South Carolina Boll Weevil Commission.  Boll Weevil: Report of the South Carolina Boll Weevil Commission.  Prepared by Walter M. Riggs.  Washington: Government Printing Office, 1917, 3.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

South Carolina Boll Weevil Commission.  Boll Weevil: Report of the South Carolina Boll Weevil Commission, Richard I. Manning, Chairman.  Prepared by Walter M. Riggs.  Washington: Government Printing Office, 1921, 6-7.  Published Division, South Caroliniana Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina.

Correlating SC Social Studies Academic Standards: 

Standard 3-5: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the major developments in South Carolina in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century.

Indicator 3-5.3 Summarize the changes in South Carolina’s economy in the twentieth century, including the rise and fall of the cotton/textile markets and the development of tourism and other industries.

Standard 8-6: The student will demonstrate an understanding of South Carolina’s development during the early twentieth century.

Indicator 8-6.4 Explain the causes and the effects of changes in South Carolina culture during the 1920s, including Prohibition, the boll weevil, the rise of mass media, increases in tourism and recreation, the revival of the Ku Klux Klan, and the Southern Literary Renaissance.

Standard USHC-7: The student will demonstrate an understanding of the economic boom-and-bust in America in the 1920s and 1930s, its resultant political instability, and the subsequent worldwide response.

Indicator USHC-7.1 Explain the social, cultural, and economic effects of scientific innovation and consumer financing options in the 1920s on the United States and the world, including the advent of aviation, the expansion of mass production techniques, the invention of new home appliances, and the role of transportation in changing urban life.

 

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