The Hunterdon County Historical Society is pleased to announce the release of its latest manuscript collection, No. 136: Records of the Hunterdon County Agricultural Extension Service. This collection contains records of the Hunterdon County Agricultural Extension service and some of its employees from 1933 to 1960. Important subjects include the history of the artificial breeding of Dairy Cattle, the careers of agricultural agents Enos Perry, William Schaefer, and Edward Gauntt, and statistical accounts of cattle research in Hunterdon County. Researchers interested in the beginnings of the artificial cattle breeding program within the U.S. would also find this collection very helpful.
In 1939, the first artificial cattle breeding program in the nation was established in Hunterdon County by Enos. J Perry. The first cooperative breeding association included farmers from Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties. The organization was sponsored by the Hunterdon County Board of Agriculture. The spread of artificial breeding from Hunterdon County was
very successful in many regards. Today, a very high percentage of cattle are bred artificially, thanks to the pioneering work and research of E.J. Perry, Agricultural Agents, and the Cooperative Breeding Association of Hunterdon County.
This collection provides a deep look into the history of the artificial breeding program and its introduction to Hunterdon County, and through that, to the rest of the country. The breeding program of Hunterdon County essentially pioneered the way for the artificial breeding on a national stage. Enos J. Perry, a Rutgers agricultural officer, visited an island off the coast of Denmark. Upon this visit he learned the complexities and techniques of artificial breeding. Soon thereafter, Perry introduced this new more effective method of breeding to Hunterdon County. This gave rise to breeding organizations such as the North Jersey Breeding Association, among others. The Perry experience is very well documented through the William Schaefer papers (included in this collection) and provides an in-depth view of his travel abroad in the 1937. This was the start for artificial breeding, not only in Hunterdon County, but eventually for the U.S.
Included in this collection are Bull Pedigree charts with photos of prized bulls, items from various organizations that evolved around the artificial breeding program, and information concerning the travels of E.J. Perry. Also included are the papers of William Schaefer, a Hunterdon County agricultural agent, who provides great insight into early years of the artificial breeding program through the correspondence with affiliates. Other items of interest include monthly and annual reports of the extension service and 4-H groups of Hunterdon County. Highly detailed information regarding the statistical information of the breeders and farming in general is contained within these reports. Also included is a large scrapbook created by Edward Gauntt’s family in 1940. The scrapbook contains mostly newspaper clippings from Gauntt’s days as an agricultural agent and his many accomplishments.
The Hunterdon County Historical Society would like to thank archival volunteer Scott Preston for the arrangement and description of this collection.