Manuscript Collections - J. Franklin Thackery

Oct 18, 2021

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5 linear feet, 2 linear inches (12 LGA-S boxes)
Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

The papers of J. Franklin Thackrey, longtime Director of Economic Information with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consist of 5 linear feet of correspondence, memoranda and reports that were donated to the Hoover Presidential Library by Thackrey’s family in 1992.


John Franklin Thackrey was born on December 16, 1910 in Kansas City, Kansas.  At an early age, his family moved to Manhattan, Kansas, where Thackrey later enrolled as a student at Kansas State University (then known as Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science).  Thackrey studied journalism at Kansas State, earning a bachelor’s degree in 1933 and a master’s degree in 1934.  Following his studies, Thackrey worked for a year as a reporter with the Fort Worth[Texas] Press, and the Manhattan[Kansas] Mercury-Chronicle.  In early 1935, he took a position as a statistical clerk with the Resettlement Administration in the Department of Agriculture.  Although this position lasted only two years, it marked the beginning of Thackrey’s service with the Federal government, which with the exception of a couple of brief periods, lasted until his retirement in ­­­­­­1974. 

In 1938, Thackrey took a position with the University of Nebraska Agricultural Extension Service as assistant extension editor.  Three years later he accepted a position as an information specialist with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Economics, and moved to Washington DC. 

In 1946 he was appointed Director of Economic Information within that agency, and served in that same capacity in the Agricultural Marketing Service and the Consumer and Marketing Service of the Department of Agriculture during the next two and a half decades.  In this position, Thackrey supervised the editing and distribution of a variety of publications that the Bureau produced, including crop and livestock reports, outlook and situation reports, and publications geared toward consumers of agricultural products. 

During his tenure, Thackrey also introduced and promoted the translation of these publications into Spanish, and was a member of the Languages and Literature Committee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Graduate School.  A longtime resident of Falls Church, Virginia, Thackrey was also active in a number of civic groups there, including a committee that drafted the city charter.

J. Franklin Thackrey died on November 24, 1990.


The J. Franklin Thackrey Papers are arranged in alphabetic order by name and subject. Through the activities of the Agricultural Marketing Service and its successor bureaus, one can see a shift in the activities of the Department of Agriculture from not only helping producers market their products but to also serving as an advocate for the consumer.  Topics covered in Thackrey’s papers include the development of consumer information and education materials, the publicizing of food stamps and free school lunches sponsored by the Department, meat and poultry inspection programs, as well as Thackrey’s trip to the Soviet Union in 1960 as part of an agricultural communications delegation.


Peter DeVries Papers. DeVries was head of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics when Thackrey worked there.


Box      Contents
1          Agricultural Communicators in Education, 1980
Agriculture Department
                     Agricultural Marketing Service
                              Baker, John D., 1956, Internal Security Investigation
                              Consumer Information and Protection, 1938, 1964-1975, and undated
                                       (4 folders)
                              Dairy Production, 1960-1974
                              Fair Packaging and Labeling, 1965-1970
                              Foreign Agricultural Service
                                       General, 1960
                                       Japan, 1959-1965
                                       Latin America, 1966-78
                                       Scandinavia, 1946

2                            General, 1950-1979 (4 folders)
                              General – Clippings, undated
                              Grapes, 1968
                              Information Division
                                       General, 1962-1976
                                       Wire Services
                                                General, 1963-1973
                                                Ridder Publications, 1963-1973

3                            Market News Service, 1933-1974 (2 folders)
                              Meat and Poultry Inspection and Grading, 1954-1976, and undated
                                       (5 folders)
                              Meat and Poultry Inspection and Grading. Sausages, Fat Content,
                                       1967-1971, and undated

4                            National Food Buyers’ Quiz, 1966
                              Peanuts, 1968-1974
                              Personnel, 1949-1974
                              Reports and Meetings, 1959-1981
                              Tomatoes, 1972
                              Transportation of Food, 1973-1974
                     Agricultural Research Service, 1954-1975

5                   Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), 1965-1974, and undated
                     Benson, Ezra Taft, Burned Books, Clippings, 1955-1958
                     Communications and Information, 1954-1973, and undated
                     Computer Systems, 1974
                     Co-op Information, 1977
                     Defense Operations, 1955-1962
                     Disaster Food Relief, 1967-1973
                     Extension Service, 1953-1970
                     Farm Population Report, 1958-1962
                     Farm Subsidy Programs, 1968
                     Food and Nutrition Service, 1962-1970
                     Food Editors Conference, 1974
                     Food Market Alert, 1973
                     Food Safety, 1964-1978, undated
                     Food Surplus Distribution, Webaux County, Montana, 1968
                     Freedom of Information, 1953-1969

6                   Freedom of Information, 1970-1973, and undated (2 folders)
                     Freeman, Orville, 1966-1969
                     General, 1935-1972, and undated (2 folders)
                     Graduate School, 1963-1979
                     Hunger in America, 1966-June 1968 (3 folders)

7                   Hunger in America, July 1968-1971, and undated (3 folders)
                     Hunger in America. Food Stamp Program, 1965-1973
                     Hunger in America. School Milk and Lunch Program, 1946-1977
                     Internal Security, 1955-1973
                     The Law & the Market, 1966 (booklet)
                     Letters of Appreciation, 1955-1978
                     Nader, Ralph, 1968-1972
                     Office of Information, 1933-1974
                     Plentiful Foods, 1969-1981, and undated
                     Politics, 1951-1971
                     Population, 1958-1968, and undated

8                   Publications Program, 1954-1974, and undated
                     Public Relations, 1959-1962
                     Radio Scripts, 1938 Farm Program
                     Reorganization, 1971-1972, and undated
                     Resettlement Administration
                              First Annual Report, 1936
                              General, 1930-1937, and undated
                              Nebraska Office, 1934-1941, and undated
                     Speeches and writings by others, 1954-1974, and undated

9                   Soviet Union. Agricultural Information Trip, 1960
                              Background Information
                              Diaries and Reports
                              Itinerary and Notes
                              Printed Information
                              Report by Ray E. Durham
                              Soviet Agricultural Delegation to the United States

10        American Association of Agricultural College Editors, 1941-1976
            Benson, Ezra Taft, 1955
            Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Publications, 1934-1941
            Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, Mass Media, 1960
            Civil Service Reform, 1949-1980
            Consumer Price Index, 1981
            Food and Drug Law Institute, 1966
            Government Printing Office, 1972
            Health, Education, and Welfare Department
                     Complaints, 1971
                     Genie, 1967 (film script)
                     Gerontology Research Center, 1972-1979
                     Education, 1940-1977
            Humor, undated
            Information Advisory Group, 1946-1951
            Leonard, Rodney, Affidavit, Mar 1970
Maps, 1952, and undated

11        National Livestock and Meat Board, 1970-1972
            National Press Club, 1971
            President’s Advisory Committee on Universal Training, 1945-1946
            Public Relations Society of America, Inc., 1969
            Scandinavian Brochures, 1960
            Senate and House Bills. 1973-1974
            Stevenson, Adlai – Death, 1965
            Thackrey, J. Franklin
                     Awards, 1968-1973
                     Nebraska, 1935-1941
                              Agricultural Marketing Service Business, 1937-1978, and undated (2 folders)
                              Biographical Information, 1910-1940
                              Falls Church, Virginia, 1946-1981, and undated
                              Family Business and Letters, 1924-1980, and undated (3 folders)
                              Insurance, 1956-1980

12                          Internal Security Investigation, 1956-1964
                              Professional Organizations, 1965-1975
                              Retirement, 1974-1975
                              Speeches and Talks, 1959-1976
                              Travel, 1962-1975
            Thackrey, Russell I., 1969
            United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, 1959