Inside Spencer: The KSRL Blog

Fields of Gold

June 15th, 2021

Summer has arrived and with it one of the busiest times of the year for Kansas farmers: wheat harvest!

Kansas is the leading state in the nation for winter wheat – wheat planted in the fall and harvested in the summer – with seven to eight million acres planted and hundreds of millions of bushels produced each year.

With the start of harvest fast approaching, please enjoy these photos of the wheat harvests of the past!

Black-and-white photograph of Men and horse-drawn harvesting machinery in a wheat field.
Harvesting wheat in Kansas, 1913. Photograph by L. M. Ulmer, Abbyville, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH P2603. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Black-and-white photograph of Men and horse-drawn harvesting machinery in a wheat field.
Harvesting wheat in Kansas, 1914. Photograph by L. M. Ulmer, Abbyville, Kansas. The back of the postcard says this: “Much wheat is harvested in Kansas, with a header cutting 10 or 12 feet. The header is pushed into the grain by six or eight horses, a sickle clipping the heads and a rolling canvas elevating them into a headerbarge drawn alongside, and in it conveyed to stacks in convenient places, to be threshed later.” Call Number: RH PH P2606. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
Black-and-white photograph of Men and horse-drawn harvesting machinery in a wheat field.
Harvesting wheat in Thomas County, Kansas, 1907-1910. Call Number: RH PH P1130.2. Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Emily Beran
Public Services

Waving Wheat Watch

June 6th, 2018

“In wheat Kansas can beat the world” – Topeka Daily Capital, October 12, 1888.

Venture outside the Kansas cities and you will find one of the state’s greatest assets: its farmland. During this time of year, many of the rolling fields are starting to turn gold as farmers prepare for Kansas’ upcoming wheat harvest. Kansas is the nation’s leader in the production of winter wheat – wheat planted in the fall and harvested during the late spring and summer – with eight to twelve million acres of winter wheat planted in the state every year.

As we look forward to the upcoming harvest season, let’s take a look at some photos of wheat harvest in Kansas from the early to mid twentieth century.

Photograph of a wheat harvest in Kansas, 1910s

Harvesting wheat in Kansas, 1910s.
Photograph by L. M. Ulmer, Abbyville, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH P2605.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

 

Photograph of a wheat harvest wheat near Jetmore, Kansas, 1919

Harvesting wheat near Jetmore, Kansas, 1919.
Call Number: RH PH P1488.2. Click image to enlarge.

 

Photograph of a wheat harvest in Thomas County, Kansas, circa 1922

Harvesting wheat in Thomas County, Kansas, circa 1922.
Photograph by George Gould, Colby, Kansas. Call Number: RH PH P1130.1.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

 

Photograph of two combines in a wheat field, St. John, Kansas, 1945-1949

Two combines in a wheat field, St. John, Kansas, between 1945 and 1949.
Photograph by William Gray. Call Number: RH PH P1101.
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).

Even as the times and technology change, one thing remains constant: Kansas continues to lead the way when it comes to wheat production!

Emily Beran
Public Services