Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

George T. McJimsey


The organized corn husking contests of the 1920s and 1930s facilitated the spread of scientific farming methods and contributed to farmers' increased reliance on scientists, technicians, and agribusiness suppliers. The efforts of agricultural leaders, bolstered by the enthusiastic boosterism of midwestern towns, made the corn husking contests annual composite snapshots of the growing industrialism in agriculture and rural life through this period of time. The associational relationships developed through participation in the corn husking contests encouraged rural residents to adopt the values, beliefs, methods, and technology of industrial culture;The groups that organized and sponsored the corn husking contests and the rural people who participated in them are the main focus of this study: the midwestern farm journal editors, agricultural extension agents, agricultural college scientists and the staff of experiment stations, manufacturers of agricultural machines, members of Chambers of Commerce and other civic groups of small midwestern towns, and individual farmers. Corn culture was the glue that held these groups together. Each group had a unique interest in the corn husking contests and was able to realize this interest because of the diversity of activities involved in planning, preparing, advertising, and holding the contests. In spite of their individual motivations, these contest sponsors shared a common, industrialized, vision of Midwestern agriculture, a vision based on organizational association, efficient methods of production, and the application of modern science and technology.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Denise Lorraine Dial



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

265 pages