Collection Number: 03527

Collection Title: Hugh H. Bennett Papers, 1906-1966, 1984.

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities; this finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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Size 26.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 10,000 items)
Abstract Hugh H. (Hugh Hammond) Bennett (1881-1960), originally from Wadesboro, N.C., was a white soil scientist and conservationist with the United States Department of Agriculture, 1903-1951. This collection contains professional correspondence, photographs, and other materials of Bennett, concerning soil conservation surveys and projects in the western United States, Latin America, South Africa, and the West Indies; the Association of American Geographers, 1943-1945; and Bennett's writings. Also included are a diary, 1949, of a conservation survey trip to France, Italy, Tunisia, and Algeria; technical articles; biographical data; clippings, some arranged into scrapbooks, covering Bennett's life and work, 1935-1955; personal and family correspondence; and genealogical materials. Photographs are of land features; meetings with farmers, including members of the Navajo and Crow nations; community and other public events; and family. There are also films, including one about farm machinery produced by the New Holland Machine Co.
Creator Bennett, Hugh H. (Hugh Hammond), 1881-1960.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Access to audiovisual and moving image materials may require production of viewing copies.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Hugh H. Bennett Papers, #3527, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Transferred to the Southern Historical Collection from North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C., in 1961. Additions received from Albert Coffey in October 1994 (Acc. 94157) and Carolyn Weckstrom and Hugh H. Bennett III in August 2011 (Acc. 101473).
Additional Descriptive Resources
A copy of the original finding aid for this collection is filed in folder 1a.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Hugh H. (Hugh Hammond) Bennett (1881-1960), a native of Wadesboro, N.C., was a white soil scientist and conservationist with the United States Department of Agriculture, 1903-1951. He was married to Edna McCue.

Bennett graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1903, and from 1903 to 1909, he served as a soil scientist with the Soil Survey Division of the Bureau of Soils. In 1909 Bennett was an inspector in a special soil survey as well as a member of an agricultural expedition to what was probably the Panama Canal. He was in charge of an explorative expedition to Alaska in 1914; a member of the Chugach National Forest Commission in 1915; the Guatemala-Honduras Boundary Commission in 1919; the Rubber Commission sent to Central and South America and the West Indies, 1923-1924; in charge of an agricultural survey of Cuba during the winters of 1925-1932; in charge of a soil erosion and moisture conservation investigation for the Bureau of Chemistry and Soils, 1929-1933; assisted the Department of the Interior from September 1933-March 1935, where he organized and headed the Soil Erosion Service before its transfer to the Department of Agriculture as the re-named Soil Conservation Service; and he was chief of the Soil Conservation Service of the Department of Agriculture, 1935-1951. On 1 November 1951, he was appointed special assistant to the secretary of agriculture to advise on conservation and resource matters.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection contains professional correspondence, photographs, and other materials of Hugh H. (Hugh Hammond) Bennett (1881-1960), concerning soil conservation surveys and projects in the western United States, Latin America, South Africa, and the West Indies; the Association of American Geographers, 1943-1945; and Bennett's writings. Also included are a diary, 1949, of a conservation survey trip to France, Italy, Tunisia, and Algeria; technical articles; biographical data; clippings, some arranged into scrapbooks, covering Bennett's life and work, 1935-1955; personal and family correspondence; and genealogical materials. Photographs are of land features; meetings with farmers, including members of the Navajo and Crow nations; community and other public events; and family. There are also films, including one about farm machinery produced by the New Holland Machine Co.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series Quick Links

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated.

Arrangement: chronological.

This series contains correspondence pertaining to Bennett's career in soil conservation. There is very little personal correspondence, and the bulk of the material consists of official letters; Department of Agriculture memorandums; correspondence regarding soil conservation surveys and projects in the western United States, South America, South Africa, and the West Indies; documents regarding the publication of his book Soil Conservation, published in 1939; articles written by and about Bennett; and correspondence during his time as the president of the Association of American Geographers, 1943-1945; and a diary, 1949, of a conservation survey trip to France, Italy, Tunisia, and Algeria.

Folder 1a

Original finding aid #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 1a

Folder 1

1923-1932 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 1

Correspondence from 1923 is from the Canal Zone; letter from 9 July 1930 contains some genealogical information about Bennett's family.

Folder 2-3

Folder 2

Folder 3

1933 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 2-3

Contains some letters concerning projects in Idaho, Texas, Washington, and other locations.

Folder 4-5

Folder 4

Folder 5

April 1934-October 1934 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 4-5

Letter from 24 August 1934 contains autobiographical information on Bennett.

Folder 6

1935 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 6

Contains letters regarding Bennett's book Soil Conservation.

Folder 7

1936-1937 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 7

Contains letters regarding Bennett's book Soil Conservation.

Folder 8-10

Folder 8

Folder 9

Folder 10

1938 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 8-10

Contains letters regarding Bennett's book Soil Conservation.

Folder 11-14

Folder 11

Folder 12

Folder 13

Folder 14

1939 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 11-14

Contains letters regarding Bennett's book Soil Conservation; an article entitled "Relation of Entomology to Erosion" is dated 25 February 1939.

Folder 15-16

Folder 15

Folder 16

1940 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 15-16

Includes article dated 28 February-12 April 1940 concerns work in Venezuela; article from 28 November 1940 entitled "Thirty Years of Vertical Farming."

Folder 17

1941 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 17

Contains several letters concerning work in Venezuela and correspondence from Puerto Rico; letters from 17 September 1941 and 14 October 1941 from Ernest E. Maes, field representative in South America, writing from Lima, Peru.

Folder 18-19

Folder 18

Folder 19

1942 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 18-19

Contains several letters concerning work in Venezuela and correspondence from Puerto Rico.

Folder 20-22

Folder 20

Folder 21

Folder 22

1943 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 20-22

Contains some correspondence in connection with Bennett's presidency of the Association of American Geographers; 25 May 1943 article "Don't Forget the Soil"; 15 June 1943 article "War and Postwar Food Production."

Folder 23

1944 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 23

Contains some correspondence in connection with Bennett's presidency of the Association of American Geographers, and Bennett's trip to the Union of South Africa.

Folder 24-26

Folder 24

Folder 25

Folder 26

1945 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 24-26

Contains some correspondence in connection with Bennett's presidency of the Association of American Geographers, and a trip to Venezuela.

Folder 27-28

Folder 27

Folder 28

1946-1949 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 27-28

Contains mimeographed booklet by Bennett from 1 July 1948 entitled "Bibliography: Books, Articles, Technical Publications;" and 65 typed pages of a diary dated September-October 1949 kept during trip Bennett and Glenn E. Riddell, an extension Soil Conservation Service conservationist, took to France, Italy, Tunisia, and Algeria to observe and gather updated information on land conditions, soil and water conservation measures, and causes and effects of land deterioration in order to advance soil and water conservation in the United States.

Folder 29

1950 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 29

Contains letters from foreign countries regarding various projects.

Folder 30-37

Folder 30

Folder 31

Folder 32

Folder 33

Folder 34

Folder 35

Folder 36

Folder 37

1951 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 30-37

Contains several letters concerning a biography of Bennett entitled Big Hugh, his retirement, 70th birthday, and his appointment as special assistant to the secretary of agriculture on conservation and resource matters, and several articles.

Folder 38-40

Folder 38

Folder 39

Folder 40

1952, 1955-1956 #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 38-40

Contains a few letters regarding a trip to Cuba in 1956.

Folder 41-42

Folder 41

Folder 42

Undated #03527, Series: "1. Correspondence, 1923-1956 and undated." Folder 41-42

Contains mostly articles, birthday cards, and memoranda on book sales.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 2. Clippings, 1935-1955.

Arrangement: chronological.

This series contains clippings regarding Bennett's career and related topics. Included are four scrapbooks, of which Volume 3 concerns Bennett's trip to South Africa, and Volume 4 contains clippings concerning "Hugh Bennett Day" in Anson County, N.C. Additionally, there is a collection of pictures.

Folder 43

Volume 1: Scrapbook, 1939-1941 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 43

Contains clippings about Bennett and topics related to his career.

Folder 44

Volume 2: Scrapbook, 1942-1944 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 44

Contains clippings about Bennett and topics related to his career.

Folder 45

Volume 3: Scrapbook, 1944-1947 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 45

Contains clippings from 1944-1945 about Bennett's trip to South Africa, and one clipping from 1947.

Folder 46

1935 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 46

Folder 47-48

Folder 47

Folder 48

1936 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 47-48

Folder 49-51

Folder 49

Folder 50

Folder 51

1937 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 49-51

Folder 52

1938 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 52

Folder 53-54

Folder 53

Folder 54

1939 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 53-54

Folder 55

1940 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 55

Folder 56-57

Folder 56

Folder 57

1941 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 56-57

Folder 58-59

Folder 58

Folder 59

1942 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 58-59

Folder 59a-60

1943 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 59a-60

Folder 61-62

Folder 61

Folder 62

1944 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 61-62

Folder 63-65

Folder 63

Folder 64

Folder 65

1945 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 63-65

Folder 66-69

Folder 66

Folder 67

Folder 68

Folder 69

1946 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 66-69

Folder 70-76

Folder 70

Folder 71

Folder 72

Folder 73

Folder 74

Folder 75

Folder 76

1947 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 70-76

Folder 77-82

Folder 77

Folder 78

Folder 79

Folder 80

Folder 81

Folder 82

1948 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 77-82

Folder 83-89

Folder 83

Folder 84

Folder 85

Folder 86

Folder 87

Folder 88

Folder 89

1949 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 83-89

Folder 90-92

Folder 90

Folder 91

Folder 92

1950 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 90-92

Folder 93-99

Folder 93

Folder 94

Folder 95

Folder 96

Folder 97

Folder 98

Folder 99

1951 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 93-99

Folder 100-101

Folder 100

Folder 101

1952 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." Folder 100-101

Oversize Volume SV-3527/1

Scrapbook, 1946 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." SV-3527/1

Scrapbook concerning "Hugh Bennett Day" in Anson County, N.C., on 9 September 1946. It contains letters, telegrams, speeches, resolutions, clippings, and other related materials.

Oversize Volume SV-3527/2

Scrapbook #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." SV-3527/2

Clippings documenting Bennett's work thoughout the Southeast.

Oversize Volume SV-3527/3

Scrapbook of press coverage of trip to South Africa, 1944 #03527, Series: "2. Clippings, 1935-1955." SV-3527/3

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3. Photographs.

Image Folder PF-3527/1-6

PF-3527/1

PF-3527/2

PF-3527/3

PF-3527/4

PF-3527/5

PF-3527/6

Photographs #03527, Series: "3. Photographs." PF-3527/1-6

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3A. Photographs and Film (Addition of October 1994).

Acquisitions Information: Accession 94157

Image Box IB-3527/1

Oversize photographs #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Film (Addition of October 1994)." IB-3527/1

Chiefly land features, with Bennett and others. Some photographs are by Hermann, Postlethwaite, Hallowell, Herrin F. Culver, and Bob Branstead.

Image Box IB-3527/2-5

IB-3527/2

IB-3527/3

IB-3527/4

IB-3527/5

Photographs, 1920s-1940s #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Film (Addition of October 1994)." IB-3527/2-5

Images depict land features, including some aerial views, meetings, and other events, and are organized by state and country. There are also files on flooding and kudzu.

Film F-3527/4

"Summer of '42" television spots; Woody Allen interview, 1971 #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Film (Addition of October 1994)." F-3527/4

16mm motion picture film

Film F-3527/5

New Holland Machine Company, "Green Promise", circa 1952 #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Film (Addition of October 1994)." F-3527/5

16mm motion picture film

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 3A. Photographs and Films, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011).

Acquisitions Information: Accession 101473

Image Box IB-3527/6

Photographs, 1900s-1940s #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Films, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." IB-3527/6

Images depict members of the Navajo nation in New Mexico; Hugh Hammond Bennett Soil Conservation Day (1946), including photographs of Bennett with George Smith (b. circa 1866-1867) and Simeon Bennett (b. circa 1866-1867), a preacher, both of whose parents had been enslaved; a boll weevil monument in Coffee, Ala.; community festivals with barbecue and brunswick stew preparations, and other public events; and family portraits. Of note are photographs of scenes from the Log Cabin Jamboree, an event held by an African American community near Mayfield, Ga. Images depict beauty pageant winners and a choreographed dance. There are also snapshots of Bennet with members of the Crow nation.

Film F-3527/1

Dr. Bennett's funeral #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Films, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." F-3527/1

16mm motion picture film

Film F-3527/2

"My Trip to South Africa" #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Films, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." F-3527/2

16mm motion picture film

Film F-3527/3

Unidentified home movie; "The Day of the Locust" television spots #03527, Series: "3A. Photographs and Films, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." F-3527/3

16mm motion picture film

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4A. Papers, 1930s-1950s and undated (Addition of October 1994).

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Series 4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011).

Acquisitions Information: Accession 101473

Chiefly family, personal, and professional correspondence; writings by and about Bennett; photographs from a trip to Costa Rica; itineraries and travel vouchers; genealogical material; wills and landholding records; and biographical materials.

Box 18

Edna McCue (Bennett) to Hugh Bennett Sr., 1906-1908 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 18

Hugh Bennett Sr. and Dr. Joe H. Bennett, 1894-1909, 1921-1952 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 18

Hugh Bennett Sr. to daughter Edna, 1914-1960 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 18

Family correspondence, 1907-1918 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 18

Box 19

Family correspondence, 1921-1959 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 19

Personal and professional correspondence, 1922-1924, 1928-1931, 1935-1952 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 19

Includes reports from Ecuador, Panama, to the Bureau of Soils.

Box 20

Personal and professional correspondence, 1944-1952 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 20

Box 21

Personal and professional correspondence, 1957-1960, 1984 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Includes photographs from a trip to Costa Rica, 1958-1960.

Miscellaneous correspondence, 1903-1966 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Itineraries, 1934-1936 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Travel vouchers, 1940 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Taxes, 1941, 1944 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Writings #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Newspaper articles #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 21

Box 22

Printed material #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 22

"Lineage" #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 22

"Wills and landholdings" #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 22

Biographical materials #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 22

State of Oklahoma vs State of Texas, 1921 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 22

Box 23

Ledger, 1937-1951 #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 23

Trip to Africa #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 23

Loose papers #03527, Series: "4A. Papers, 1906-1966, 1984 and undated (Addition of August 2011)." Box 23

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Processing Information

Processed by: SHC Staff; Meaghan Alston, Anne Wells, Patrick Cullom, and Nancy Kaiser, November 2021

Encoded by: Noah Huffman, December 2007

Updated by: Adam Fielding, Kate Stratton, and Jodi Berkowitz, January 2011; Nancy Kaiser, November 2021

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine ethnic identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual's preference for ethnicity to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at wilsonlibrary@email.unc.edu.

This collection was rehoused and a summary created with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

This finding aid was created with support from NC ECHO.

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