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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the John Walter Coverdale Papers

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1856-1939
Creator: Coverdale, John Walter
Extent: 1.50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0069
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Agriculturist. Correspondence and subject files relating to the early years of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was given to the University of Iowa Libraries by John W. Coverdale in 1958.

Preferred Citation: John Walter Coverdale Papers, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

John Walter Coverdale was born in Clinton County, Iowa, in 1883. He attended Delmar High School and in 1906, graduated from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He began his career as a farmer and then became a county agent. In 1917, the first efforts to federate farm bureaus in Iowa took place under the leadership of Coverdale. A temporary committee was formed and on December 27, 1918, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation was founded. Coverdale became the organization's first secretary and wrote its constitution. The American Farm Bureau Federation was founded the following year and John W. Coverdale became its first secretary. In the early 1920s, he was secretary, treasurer, and director of organization form the AFBF. In 1925, Coverdale returned to private business in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Seven years later, he went to work at Rath Packing Company as manager of the feed and fertilizer department. In 1945, he became the director of Rath's agricultural bureau. Upon retirement he managed a 340 acre farm.

The papers of John W. Coverdale consist of three boxes (1.5 linear feet) of manuscripts relating to the early years of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation. Subject files include items such as minutes of the executive committee, treasurer's reports, and correspondence of the AFBF. There is also a typescript (with notes and early drafts) entitled "The Federation" by J.W. Coverdale and James R. Howard. Finally, the papers include clippings, articles, and a scrapbook all relating to agricultural issues.

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • "The Early Days of the Farm Bureau in Iowa and the American Farm Bureau Federation" by John W. Coverdale and James R.Howard. Typescript (carbon copy), notes and preliminary drafts
  • Correspondence and clippings relating to Coverdale's resignation and reinstatement as secretary of the A.F.B.F. (including a letter from Henry C. Wallace) - 1923
  • Correspondence concerning the National Wheat Growers Advisory Committee
  • Minutes of meetings of the Executive Committee of the American Farm Bureau Federation - 1921-1922
  • Minutes of meetings of the Executive Committee - 1923-1924
  • Box 2:
  • County Agent and Farm Bureau, January, March, and May - 1924
  • A.F.B.F. Weekly News Letter, November 12, 1925-April 13, 1926 (Incomplete) - 1925-1926
  • The Dearborn Independent, April 12, 1924 (Article "Jewish Exploitation of Farmers' Organization," by Robert Morgan)
  • The Dearborn Independent, August 2, 1924 (Article "To Save an Industry from Sapiro Hands," by Robert Morgan)
  • Clippings concerning grain market co-ops
  • Transcripts of letters relating to the American Farm Bureau - 1923-1924
  • Farm Bureau clippings
  • Minutes of the Executive Committee of A.F.B.F. - 1922-1923
  • Treasurer's reports - 1920-1925
  • Miscellaneous notes and correspondence - 1923
  • Farm Bureau Federation Organization plan
  • Box 3:
  • Minutes of Mid-West States Meeting, May 13-September 29 - 1922
  • Newspaper clippings
  • "History of John Walter Coverdale"
  • Correspondence, Committee on the Relation of Electricity to Agriculture - 1938-1939
  • Scrapbook, opposition to Dickinson Bill
  • Autobiography of Hans J. Jepson (grandfather of J.W. Coverdale) (photocopy)
  • "Ray's Higher Arithmetic, Common Fraction; Promiscuous Exercises" (notebook)
  • Farm Records of Hans J. Jepson (photocopy) - 1956-1891

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

Personal Names:
Howard, James Raley, 1873-

Corporate Names:
American Farm Bureau Federation
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation



Genre/Form of Materials:
Clippings (Information artifacts)