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NRCS History Articles - References

History of the Soil and Water Conservation Movement: A Short List of References

Compiled by Douglas Helms, Historian, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Batie, Sandra. Soil Erosion: Crisis in America's Croplands. Washington, D.C.: Conservation Foundation, 1983.
An account of the resurgence of soil erosion and the national concern over it in the 1970s.
Bennett, Hugh Hammond. Soil Conservation. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1939.
Not intended as a work of history, it nonetheless provides a thorough account of soil conservation activities and plans in the late 1930s.
Brink, Wellington. Big Hugh, The Father of Soil Conservation. New York: Macmillan, 1951.
A popular biography.
Hardin, Charles M. The Politics of Agriculture: Soil Conservation and the Struggle for Power in Rural America. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, 1952.
Early history of SCS and the political struggles.
Held, R. Burnell and Clawson, Marion. Soil Conservation in Perspective. Baltimore, Maryland: John Hopkins University Press, 1967.
Reviews the results of thirty years of soil conservation activities.
Homes, Beatrice Hort. A History of Federal Water Resources Program, 1900-1960. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 1233. Washington, D.C.: Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1972.
-------. History of Federal Water Resources Programs and Policies, 1961-1970. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 1379. Washington, D.C.: Agriculture, 1979.
Includes a chapter on P.L. 566, Small Watershed Program. The earlier volume includes information on the eleven authorized projects and the 1936 Flood Control Act.
Lowdermilk, Walter C. Conquest of the Land Through Seven Thousand Years. Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 99. Washington, D.C.: Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1953, reprinted 1986.
Study by a noted scientist of the effects of soil erosion on ancient civilizations.
McDonald, Angus. Early American Soil Conservationists. USDA Miscellaneous Publication No. 449, Washington, D.C.: Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1941, reprinted 1986.
The contributions of Americans to soil conservation before the beginning of the 20th century soil conservation movement.
Morgan, Robert J. Governing Soil Conservation: Thirty Years of the New Decentralization. Baltimore, Maryland:  John Hopkins University Press, 1965.
Very thorough on legislative history, political struggles, growth of districts, and Agricultural Conservation Program.
Parks, W. Robert. Soil Conservation Districts in Action. Ames: Iowa State College Press, 1952.
An account of the status and operation of districts in the late 1940s and early 1950s, but not a history of the district movement.
Sampson, R. Neil. Farmland or Wasteland: A Time To Choose. Emmaus, Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1981.
Includes a chapter on the history of public programs in addition to its thorough treatment of the current situation.
-------. For Love of the Land; A History of the National Association of Conservation Districts. League City, Texas: National Association of Conservation Districts, 1985.
Simms, D. Harper. The Soil Conservation Service. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1970.
A good general history of SCS up to 1970.

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