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xiii Acknowledgments In writing this book, I drew on the knowledge of family members and friends, particularly my sister, Lois Conkin Hunt. Unlike in earlier books, I was not able to draw information and valuable criticism from students in my history courses, since I have retired from teaching. But I was honored to teach a brief, one-week course during the summer of 2007 in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute atVanderbilt. Most of the students were retired and old enough to have memories that stretch back to the Great Depression.They showed an intense interest in agriculture, offered helpful comments on my developing book, and asked questions that helped me better organize the chapters. I thank them.A friend with an extensive knowledge of agriculture,Thomas Bianconi, read the manuscript and offered several helpful comments. Above all, I want to acknowledge with gratitude an outside reader, the late Bruce L. Gardner of the University of Maryland, who read the developing manuscript twice and offered hundreds of useful criticisms. Thanks to theVanderbilt University Library, I have a wonderful library study. From the nearby library stacks or from our Interlibrary Loan service , I gained most of my research materials. No one could enjoy a more congenial work environment. My illustrations reflect the generosity of several people. Pete Daniel, a curator in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian , a past student of mine, and a leading agricultural and southern historian, helped find four of the photographs from the museum’s collection , including that of an original Hart-Parr tractor. Sherry Shaefer, who publishes the Oliver Heritage magazine, helped in the restoration of this Hart-Parr and made the excellent photograph included in this book. Harold Sohner created one of the replicas of the original McCormick reaper and generously provided the photograph for this book.This replica is in the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton,Virginia.The excellent photographs of early Fordson and Farmall tractors are from the South xiv Dakota State Agriculture Heritage Museum in Brookings, South Dakota. Dawn Stephens, curator of photographs, helped locate the best possible photographs and provided them free of cost. The John Deere Company provided two photographs of very large John Deere combines. As I wrote this book, I kept thinking of two pioneers in the field of agricultural history, a field that I have just invaded.We are all indebted to them for their lifelong work. One was a public historian, the late Wayne Rasmussen, who long headed the agricultural history section in the Department of Agriculture.The other, an academic historian, is Gilbert Fite, who knows more about farming than anyone I have ever known. Acknowledgments ...


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