FINDING AID

AUBURN UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS & ARCHIVES


Guide to the

Carter D. Poland Photograph Collection, RG 268:

Cotton:  From Seed to Soap, and the Boll Weevil From Egg to Maturity

Scope/Content:  This is a collection of photographs taken by Carter D. Poland in ca. 1939.  It illustrates the history of cotton agriculture in the South since the 1893 boll weevil infestation.  The photographs tell four interrelated stories:  planting, cultivating, and harvesting cotton; the biology of the boll weevil, the damage it causes, and measures to stop it; ginning, spinning, and weaving the cotton lint; and manufacturing oil from the cotton seeds.  Poland also published a pamphlet that provides captions for the photographs as well as technical photography information.
Biographical Sketch:  [Provided by Carter D. Poland, Jr., January 12, 2000]  Poland was born on December 6, 1888 in Marshall, TX and was the son of Walter Henry and Florence Carter Poland.  He attended Oklahoma A&M College, then in Indian Territory, and later Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.  In 1911 he married Winnie Mitchell of Chattanooga, TN, and they established residence in Anniston, AL.  In 1921 he founded Poland Soap Works to manufacture industrial cleansers.  Oil from cottonseed, peanuts, and soybeans was the principal raw material in the production of Poland soaps.  Many of his customers were cotton mills throughout the Southeast.  He wrote and  published a regular news bulletin for his customers regarding national business conditions and other subjects of current interest.  He was President and Owner of the company until his death on May 13, 1961.

Poland was a nationally recognized writer and public speaker on advertising and selling.  His articles were published in Printer's Ink, Nation's Business, and Class and Marketing.  He served on the Speakers Bureau of the Advertising Federation of America.

During the Roosevelt New Deal he was on the National Speakers Bureau expounding the program of the National Recovery Act in regard to Child Labor, Wage-Hour Law, and Working Conditions.

In the late 1930s Poland took up photography as an avocation.  All of his work was photographed with either a Leica or Speed Graphic camera and he developed and printed his film.  During World War II he became an accredited news photographer for Wide World Photos, a service of the New York Times.  Through his dedication to help the war effort in publicizing the build-up of the Armed Forces, he contributed countless photographs of this activity to newspapers across the country.  His photography appeared in The National Geographic.

President Eisenhower named him as a charter member of the National Planning Association.  He was a Director of the American Soap and Glycerin Association from 1947 until 1953.

He was survived by his wife of fifty years, a son Carter D. Poland, Jr., and three daughters:  Martha, Mary, and Anne.



 
Carter D. Poland's Photographs and Captions, ca. 1939
 1.  Plowing in the red clay hills of Georgia.
Oxen are seldom seen at work in the fields now.  It took seven years to teach this ox to plow.
 2.  Planting Cottonseed.
 3.  Cotton Plants just out of the ground.
[Click here for technical photography data]
 4.  Chopping Cotton.
This is done to thin out the plants and destroy weeds.  The next step is hoeing to get rid of weeds.
 5.  Cotton Plant about a month old.
Cultivation by plowing begins when cotton is about this size.  Fields are plowed five to seven times before they are laid by.
[Click here for technical photography data]
 6.  Unusually good Cotton Field.
This is an experimental field for development of cottonseed for planting.
[Click here for technical photography data]
 7.  Close-up of Cotton Bloom, square and boll natural size.
[Click here for technical photography data]
 8.  Blooming Cotton with squares and young bolls.
At this tender age cotton is most susceptible to the ravages of the boll weevil.
[Click here for technical photography data]
 9.  Here is the grown Boll Weevil magnified 90 times.
The boll weevil came over from Mexico in 1893 and has spread all over the cotton belt.  It is most destructive in cool wet weather.  Hot dry weather kills more weevils than anything man has devised.  The weevil forced diversified farming in Coffee County, Alabama, and made the farmers there more prosperous.  In 1919 a monument was erected to the boll weevil in Enterprise, the county seat.  This is the only monument erected on the North American continent to a pest.
[Click here for technical photography data]
10.  Boll Weevil puncturing Cotton Bud enlarged 25 times.
The Boll weevil attacks squares and young bolls, although preferring the former.  This picture shows the weevil puncturing the bud inside the square.
[Click here for technical photography data]
11.  Cotton Bloom Bud punctured by Weevil enlarged 50 times.
The weevil makes punctures for egg-laying and feeding.  The feeding puncture (left center) remains open but the egg-laying puncture ( right center) is always sealed with a wart-like plug.
[Click here for technical photography data]
12.  Boll Weevil Eggs magnified 1,500 times.
This shows there is no uniformity to the shape of a boll weevil egg.
[Click here for technical photography data]
13.  Boll Weevil Egg magnified 3,000 times.
The egg has skin for a shell and is translucent.  This contains the tiny grub in the process of hatching.
[Click here for technical photography data]
14.  Gathering infested buds and bolls.
Two methods are used in an effort to control the weevils.  One is by hand gathering the infested buds and bolls and burning them, and the other is by poisoning either through application by hand or sprayer.
[Click here for technical photography data]
15.  Boll Weevil Grub magnified about 200 times.
The egg hatches within about three days into a white grub with a yellow head but without legs.  It is in the grub stage that the weevil does its damage to the cotton crop.  The grub feeds on the inside of the bud or boll and is a voracious eater.  This picture shows the side of the bud cut away to expose the grub which is enjoying a meal.
[Click here for technical photography data]
16.  Boll Weevil Grub showing head magnified 200 times.
[Click here for technical photography data]
17.  Full Length Boll Weevil Grub magnified 200 times.
More of the bud cut away to show the whole grub which is almost grown.
[Click here for technical photography data]
18.  Boll Weevil Pupa magnified about 500 times.
The grub becomes full grown in from seven to twelve days at which time it passes into the pupa stage.  The pupa is only about half the size of the grub from which it evolved.  This picture shows the pupa lying on its back.
[Click here for technical photography data]
19.  Side of Pupa enlarged about 300 times.
This picture shows wing and leg formations.
[Click here for technical photography data]
20.  Back of Pupa magnified 500 times.
Here is a pupa with extended snout.
[Click here for technical photography data]
21.  Natural size male and female Weevils.
Both insects are brown, but the female shows a cast of gray.
[Click here for technical photography data]
22.  Adult Weevil magnified 140 times.
[Click here for technical photography data]
23.  Grown Weevil ready for flight magnified 64 times.
It took eight hours, thirty minutes, forty boll weevils and twelve negatives to get this picture.  The reason for using so many boll weevils was their wings are fragile and broke easily.  The chief difficulty was getting the legs and wings out at the same time.
[Click here for technical photography data]
24.  A good yield of Cotton on one stalk.
25.  Natural size open Cotton Bolls.
This is extra good cotton.
[Click here for technical photography data]
[Photo Unavailable] 26.  Cotton picking time   [Click here for technical photography data]
27.  Seed Cotton from the field.
[Click here for technical photography data]
28.  Going to the Gin.
29.  Ginning Cotton.
Gin cotton going through the gin stands to the saws which separate the lint cotton from the seeds.
[Click here for technical photography data]
30.  Lint Cotton and Cottonseed from the gin.
[Click here for technical photography data]
31.  An old-fashioned Cotton Mill.
In the front rooms of this log cabin in the mountains of Tennessee as man, his wife, his son, and his daughter-in-law earn a meager living making cotton yarn and cloth.
32.  Ancient carding and spinning.
[Click here for technical photography data]
33.  An original old-time Hand Loom.
It takes two hands and both feet to operate this loom.
[Click here for technical photography data]
34.  The most modern textile plant in the South.
The walls are constructed chiefly of prism glass.
35.  The newest and fastest of modern Spinning Frames [1939].
[Click here for technical photography data]
36.  X Model Loom, the very latest and fastest [1939].
[Click here for technical photography data]
37.  Cottonseed magnified 2 1/2 times.
The fiber on these seeds is removed and becomes linters, from which rayon and other valuable materials and articles are manufactured.
38.  Cottonseed and its products.
Diagram courtesy of National Cottonseed Products Association, Inc.
[Click here for technical photography data]
39.  Separator for Cottonseed Hulls and Meats.
The cottonseed are cleaned and delinted.  Then they go to the hulling machine where the outer hull is cracked.  The hulls and kernels or meats are then separated by being passed over a series of shaker screens.  The hulls are used for cattle feed, plastics, and other materials.
[Click here for technical photography data]
40.  Cooker and former.
The cottonseed meats are cooked in a steam-jacketed kettle (background).  The cooked meats are then spread evenly over a mold (former) where they are wrapped with filter cloth and then taken to the hydraulic presses.
[Click here for technical photography data]
41.  Pressing oil from Cottonseed.
These presses reach a maximum pressure of about 4,000 pounds to the square inch.
[Click here for technical photography data]
42.  Refining Cottonseed Oil.
These centrifuges, similar to but heavier in construction than cream separators, refine a tank-car of oil (60,000 pounds) every five hours.
[Click here for technical photography data]
43.  Cottonseed Oil in shortening and margarine.
Refined cottonseed oil is bleached then solidified by hydrogenation or adding beef tallow.  This makes shortening for baking and margarine which is an excellent bread spread.  Many dietitians believe that this is healthier than hog lard.
[Click here for technical photography data]
44.  Cottonseed Oil and shortening for frying.
Liquid refined and bleached.  Cottonseed oil (called cooking oil) is also used for frying. 
Technical data--July mid-afternoon, downtown Augusta, Georgia, official temperature 102 degrees in the shade.  The hot grease can be seen simmering in the pan.  Cooking time thirty-five minutes for egg fried "with eye open."
[Click here for technical photography data]
45.  Cottonseed Oil for salad.
There is no better salad oil than refined and bleached cottonseed oil.
[Click here for technical photography data]
46.  Cottonseed Oil for soap making.
Soap making was originally a backyard job, but old-fashioned lye soap is seldom made anymore.
[Click here for technical photography data]
[47.  Boll Weevil Monument, Enterprise, Alabama.]
[From no. 9, above:  The weevil forced diversified farming in Coffee County, Alabama, and made the farmers there more prosperous.  In 1919 a monument was erected to the boll weevil in Enterprise, the county seat.  This is the only monument erected on the North American continent to a pest.]

Return to the AU Special Collections & Archives Department Homepage