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National Cotton Council of America Photographs and Film

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Catalog Data

National Cotton Council  Search this
28 Cubic feet (48 boxes)
224 motion picture films
Archival materials
Collection descriptions
Motion picture films
Motion pictures (visual works)
Slides (photographs)
circa 1945-1999, undated
The collection consists primaily of photographs and films created by the National Cotton Council (NCC) to document cotton production and use and to support the advocacy and educational work of the organization.
Scope and Contents:
The collection consists of photographs, slides, and motion picture films created by the National Cotton Council to document cotton production and use and to support the educational and advocacy work of the organization. It is arranged into four series. Series 1 contains black and white photographic prints dating primarily from the 1950s-1970s. These photographs document every aspect of cotton farming, from before the seed is even planted to the production of finished cloth. The photographs fall into four categories. The majority depict agricultural practices in all their variations, including land preparation, planting, bedding, plowing, harrowing, drainage, cultivation, stripping, and harvesting. Another large group depicts pests and infestations – boll weevils, fleas, mites, pink bollworm, hoppers - and the methods of countering them with insecticide and herbicide applications. A third group of photos documents more general topics, including the history of cotton, research programs, trading, foreign cotton farming, printing, spinning, and weaving. There are also a number of photographs of agricultural equipment manufactured by International Harvester. Finally, a small group of photographs consists of still shots from many of the movies produced by the National Cotton Council. The photographs were maintained in the order that was created by the National Cotton Council. Series 2 includes slides and color photographs which date from the 1980s-early 2000s. Their value lies in the fact that most seem to cover the same agricultural and general topics as the photographic prints, just in a different format. Many of the groups of slides were obviously assembled for use in presentations. In addition, there are a large number of slides of individuals and activities from National Cotton Council Board meetings and conferences. Since most of these are not captioned and are of little intrinsic value anyway, they will need to be weeded out. In addition, there are a small number of color snapshots, housed in plastic sleeves, mixed in with the slide sheets. While these provide more modern photographic documentation, many of them also show meetings and are probably of little intrinsic value. The slide sheets were maintained in the order that the company used them. Series 3 consists of office files icluding industry publications and reference materials. Series 4 contains two hundred and fourteen films that were created by the National Cotton Council (NCC) and date from the 1960s-1980s. A few of the films document cotton farming;, they primarily document cotton's versatility and use in consumer goods. A consistent theme is that "ordinary cotton" could be quite fashionable. Sample titles include "5000 Years of Cotton Fashion," "Back to School Fashion," "Feed Bag Fashions," "Designer Showcase," "Cotton American Style," "Career Girl Fashion," "High Fashion in Venice," "Cotton: Nature's Food and Fiber Plant," "Pollution Fighters," "The Mattress that Wouldn't Burn," "Why Cotton in Home Furnishings," and "Wash and Wear Cottons."
The collection is arranged into four series. Series 1, Black and White Photographic Prints, circa 1945-1970s, undated Subseries 1.1, Cultivation and Production of Cotton, circa 1950s-1970s, undated Subseries 1.2, Film Stills, 1956-1971, undated Subseries 1.3, Subjects and Events, 1945-1965, undated Series 2, Slides, circa 1979-1999, undated Series 3, Office Files, 1954-1981 Series 4, Films, 1953-1980
Biographical / Historical:
The National Cotton Council of America (NCC) is the official trade association of the cotton industry. The NCC was founded in 1939 to promote the interests of cotton farmers, ginners, brokers, and manufacturers from the Southern, cotton-growing states. Its mission evolved over the years as new uses for cotton and its byproducts were found; as synthetic fibers were developed; as fashion tastes changed; as government regulation increased; and as foreign competition in farming and manufacturing grew. The National Cotton Council's website states that its current mission is "to ensure the ability of all United States cotton industry segments to compete effectively and profitably in the raw cotton, oilseed and United States-manufactured product markets at home and abroad." Throughout its existence, the NCC has been the contact point for industry issues affecting its members, legislators in Congress, allied agribusinesses, and consumers. The National Cotton Council of America (NCC) initially gave this collection to the Cotton Museum at the Memphis Cotton Exchange early in 2008, during the move of the Memphis-based NCC's corporate offices into a much smaller facility. Calvin Turley, president of the Board of the Cotton Museum, accepted the materials with the understanding that he could do with them as he wished. Ultimately, he decided that the collection was outside the scope of the Cotton Museum's mission. Turley offered the collection to the National Museum of American History in the belief that this was "the best possible place in the whole world for it."
Related Materials:
Materials in the Archives Center Maid of Cotton Records (NMAH.AC.1176)
Donated to the Archives Center in 2009 by the Cotton Museum.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Cotton textile industry  Search this
Cotton industry  Search this
Cotton growing  Search this
Cotton picking  Search this
Cotton manufacture  Search this
Trade associations  Search this
Textile industry  Search this
Cotton  Search this
Cotton farming  Search this
Photographs -- 1950-2000
Motion pictures (visual works)
Slides (photographs) -- 1950-2000
National Cotton Council of America Photographs and Film, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
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National Cotton Council of America Photographs and Film
Archival Repository:
Archives Center, National Museum of American History