The first public agricultural experimental garden in America was located in Savannah, Georgia. In addition to food, they grew several fiber crops including hemp, flax, and even silk, but to no avail. Instead, cotton became king, and it was just three miles up the Savannah River from the Trustees’ Garden where Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin which revolutionized the cotton industry.
Kentucky was once the heartland of the American hemp industry, as this evocative turn-of-the-century postcard shows. It depicts a man’s world: hemp, horses, beautiful women, tobacco, and bourbon. It draws a nostalgic picture of quiet rural roads, guarded by leafy stands of hemp waving in the warm wind, sitting on the front porch in the rocking chair with a tall glass of iced tea, the coon dogs keeping you company, a Winchester rifle on your lap, and wafting out the window is the sweet aroma of fresh apple pie!
The task of providing cloth for an entire community was an integral part of daily work at Pleasant Hill. Coats, bed sheets, socks, blankets, feed sacks, dresses, towels, rope — all of these were a necessary part of everyday life. Until it became practical to purchase textile goods, they were produced within the community. In addition to providing for their own needs, Shaker textile items were manufactured for sale.
This collection contains 10 postcards from the early 1900’s. Hemp flourished in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky and was grown primarily for bailing cotton. Henry Clay encouraged the US Navy to use Kentucky hemp over Russian hemp for cordage used on sailing ships. Scenes include cutting hemp by hand and machine, shocks of hemp, and manually breaking hemp in the field.
During WWII the Japanese cut-off supplies of manilla hemp from the Philippines. Therefore, the US government formed the War Hemp Industries, a subsidiary of the Commodity Credit Corporation, to build over forty hemp fiber processing mills throughout the Midwest to produce cordage for the Navy.