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Calling All Corn Cultivator Experts

May 17, 2010

Tell me you label your images with names, dates or some kind of identification.

I admit, I am horrible about labeling my pictures. I currently have almost 600 images on my digital camera and when the memory card maxes out I will finally get around to making some prints. Usually these prints are enjoyed and placed in a photo archive box. Even now, I will go through photographs a mere 10 years old and wonder the event or year. When working with images in our collection, it is wonderful when they have some identification or information with them. I came across a great image in our collection that I wanted to use in an upcoming Destination Indiana journey on farm machinery.

Unfortunately, the photograph had no info except it was in a collection of Henry County items, and it probably dated circa 1910. It looks like it could be an interesting story why would a family get all dressed up and pose on a piece of farm machinery. But, what the heck was that machine? I checked farm books, farm websites and with farmers and got answers ranging from a potato planter to sodbuster to rutabaga picker (I think the person just liked incorporating rutabaga in a sentence whenever possible).

Turns out, we had this same print in another collection. However, this time it was part of an album that included labels. According to the album, it was a demonstration of a patented corn cultivator that took place at the Esterbrook farm in 1917. I am still trying to verify if it is a corn cultivator (if we have any corn cultivator experts out there, let me know) but it certainly gives me several leads to explore.

Corn cultivatorsmaller

So, thanks to all of you who identify your images. Librarians in the future will thank you too!


Suzanne Hahn is director of reference services for the IHS Collections and Library. She loves helping people find the information they seek and is perhaps the only librarian ever to get shushed for laughing too loud in a library.

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