Thach distributed copies of an address he had delivered to the Commercial and Industrial Association of Alabama "last July" in Gadsden. He did so to call the recipients' attention to API's need to secure additional support from the legislature in the upcoming session. Whatever the upcoming session did would impact Auburn's status for four years. He noted that API received little state support compared to "the different technological schools in the South." He urged the recipients to discuss the situation with their local representative. Thach to "Dear Sir," December 4, 1902.
Thach had requested that the governor appoint a committee to lobby the next session of the legislature in behalf of API. WKT of Birmingham and Ligon had been appointed. The president also urged that the committee cooperate with Judge Carmichael and Judge Haralson. Furthermore, they needed "the active cooperation" of Yedder Samford, W.W. Pearson, Bob Thach, and J.C. Street of Anniston. Thach to W.K. Terry, December 12, 1902.
Thach had met with Governor Jelks, who appointed a committee on legislation to represent the college at the upcoming session. TDS, WKT, and Ligon were the members. Thach believed that "by good organization and by co-operation with some of our best men like Pearson, Street, [and] Bob Thach" the legislature could be convinced of the "real needs" of Auburn. With regard to the tax fund, Thach recommended that they seek an adjustment before the matter came up: "Give us ten cents, the schools fifteen cents, and the Department of Agriculture five or six cents." The reduction of twenty cents, or forty percent, should "meet the demands of the situation." Thach wished to do what was "entirely right," but would not allow the college "to be crippled in the very beginning of its career." Thach to T.D. Samford, December 19, 1902.
TDS reported that he would cooperate with Thach, the other committee members, and other alumni in lobbying the legislature. He recommended preparing a statement comparing what Alabama and other states were doing in support of their land-grant colleges. Thomas D. Samford to Thach, December 22, 1902.
Thach requested information regarding the federal court ruling regarding the tax on commercial fertilizers. Thach to W.B. Kilgoe, January 8, 1903.
Thach had had less success than hoped "in collecting the money for our building." He had sent out approximately 1000 letters soliciting private donations, but had only raised $700. The president asked if "a specific appropriation from the legislature" could be used to match WB's offer. The state had provided no building funds since the destruction of Old Main by fire and Thach believed that such a request would meet with success. Thach to Wallace Buttrick, January 10, 1903.
Thach requested that WFH look up Senate Bill 11, proposed by Dunne, and provide him with information regarding the changes it proposed in code 382-3-4. Thach to W.F. Herbert, January 17, 1903.
FCZ reported to Thach that in none of the fertilizer cases either in federal court or Louisiana state courts were there arguments made "on the merits," but while the suits were pending fertilizer companies agreed to conform to the law provided the legislature modified some provision of the statute. F.C. Zachario to Thach, January 20, 1903.
Thach asked WRO to support the bill regarding reduction of the fertilizer tag tax, which had been agreed upon by the Senate Committee on Agriculture. The college did not oppose reduction of the tax to whatever point the legislature deemed best, but the amount suggested in this bill gave "a very substantial reduction" and at the same time protected "all the school interests hitherto supported from this fund." Approximately $8000 of the $13,000 API received from this fund was expended in fertilizer analysis as required by law. The remainder, which varied from year to year according to fertilizer sales, went into agriculture, farmers' institutes, and the like. Any diminution of API's share would harm the agricultural program. Thach to W.R. Oliver, January 22, 1903.
Thach asked JAR to support a bill for "a first-class department of Animal Industry" when it came before the Senate. Thach to John A. Rogers, January 22, 1903.
Thach asked GPH to support the bill which had been agreed upon by the Senate Agricultural Committee, which would provide "a slight increase." Thach implied that this increase would go toward a Department of Animal Industry, which some other states already supported. API stood willing to reduce the fertilizer tax to ten cents, as the House bill provided. He could also accept one-third of twenty-five cents, although this would allow "no development or improvement...for the benefit of agriculture in the state." Thach to George P. Harrison, January 22, 1903.
WBC wrote that several years ago the legislature passed an illuminating oil bill, which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. WBC had been instrumental in that ruling: as president of Dixie Oil Company, he believed that the law discriminated in favor of Standard Oil. Now, WBC believed he could craft a bill that would meet the constitutional test. If successful, WBC asked that a friend and himself "be taken care of" and "given places as assistants to the State Chemist" at an annual salary of $2000 each. If Thach approved, WBC would have the bill prepared by Governor Jones, who was his attorney in the earlier case, and who was familiar with the constitutional clause under which the previous bill had been overruled. W.B. Clay to Thach, January 24, 1903.
Thach wrote to WBC that API would "be most willing to undertake the analysis of oil." He warned that any amount in excess of "a reasonable cost" would be declared unconstitutional by the federal courts if the Standard Oil Company brought suit, which they would. Thach to W.B. Clay, January 24, 1903.
WBC thanked Thach for his support and noted that he had spoken with the governor, who also favored the idea. January 25, 1903.
Thach noted this his own responsibility stopped with API, but as an educator he thought any reduction in the fertilizer tax that harmed the district agricultural schools would curtail "a most excellent educational work." Thach to John A. Rogers, January 24, 1903.
Thach urged CBG to write to members of the Birmingham delegation to the legislature. He also urged him "to stir up the other boys in Birmingham to do so." Finally, he reported that they would receive a letter from the "alumni society" covering various political talking points. Thach to C.B. Glenn, February 6, 1903.
Thach had spoken to Mr. Floyd in Montgomery and now believed there would be no problem in obtaining the building money from the legislature. Thach to Wallace Buttrick, February 7, 1903.
Thach sent a circular letter calling attention to the need for scientific education in Alabama, particularly a textile school. He enclosed an address he had delivered on this subject and urged the recipients to lobby their local legislative delegation in this matter. Thach to "Dear Sir," February 9, 1903.
The Commissioner of Agriculture called the president's attention to the work of Senator W.D. Dunn of Clarke County in defense of the district agricultural schools. He was the first senator who came to their rescue "in the beginning of the tax tag reduction." With his assistance, the commissioner prepared a bill which "took care of Auburn, the Agricultural Schools, and this department." The commissioner concluded that if Dunn had not introduced the bill fixing the rate at 30 cents the district schools would have perished and Auburn and the Department of Agriculture "would have suffered very materially." R.R. Poole to Thach, February 12, 1903.
Thach assured GNM of Pratt City that he would urge the board to establish the work they had discussed and would make the figures as high as possible. The president promised to provide ample time "for putting the company on notice." Thach to G.N. Mitcham, February 12, 1903.
Thach asked TDS to use his legislative influence in support of a $1500 annual appropriation to make API's professor of horticulture the state horticulturist. He asked TDS to use his influence to have Betts reappointed to the board. If this was not possible, he suggested C.C. Harris of Decatur, "who was one of the very best Trustees the College ever had." Thach to T.D. Samford, February 14, 1903.
Thach asked AAMcD to support the illuminating oil bill, which simply added this article to the list of items analyzed by the state chemist. Half the revenue raised would go to the common schools. Georgia and Tennessee already had such bills, which made Alabama "the dumping ground of every inferior oil that cannot stand their test." Thach to A.A. McDonald, February 14, 1903.
Thach asked RFL to contact AAMcD of Barbour, W.F. Shafer of Dallas, and R.C. Simpson of Lauderdale to urge their support of the illuminating oil bill. McD wrote the original bill and these three reviewed it as a sub-committee. Thach had spoken with Shafer earlier that day, who supported it. McD also accepted it as a substitute to the bill he originally wrote. The fee would be one quarter cent per gallon. Thach to R.F. Ligon, February 14, 1903.
TDS informed Thach that he had seen Wheels and McCreary regarding the horticulture bill, as promised. Wheels supported the measure at a $1500 salary. McCreary supported it at $500, but later came around to the higher figure. He also saw Rich, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, regarding the oil inspection bill. He promised to favor it in committee. Walker, Waddell, Shaefer, London, Simpson, and Davis also promised to support it in committee. London wanted a legal brief as to its constitutionality. The problem now was time. TDS believed the bill could pass, but it had to be pushed. He urged Thach "to go down immediately and help to push it." T.D. Samford to Thach, February 19, 1903.
Thach sent a circular letter requesting support of Senate Bill 238, which had passed the Senate, passed the House Agriculture Committee, and now came before the full House. The state's fruit industry might be "doomed to destruction from the San-Jose scale and other insect pests" if this measure failed to pass. Thach to "Dear Sir," February 23, 1903.
Thach wrote to RFL regarding the horticulture bill [Senate Bill 238], which resembled a similar law in Georgia. He called attention to the threat posed to the state's fruit industry by the San Jose scale and urged RFL to recommend Senate Bill 238 to the governor for his approval. Thach to R.F. Ligon, March 4, 1903.
TDS has seen the governor and asked him to sign the bill, [presumably Senate Bill 238]. T.D. Samford to Thach, March 6, 1903.
The governor signed "the [oil] bill" Wednesday. March 6, 1903.
Thach wondered when the oil bill would go into operation. Thach to W.B. Clay, March 6, 1903.
The General Education Board had decided that it would not match money raised through taxation or appropriations by state legislatures. Wallace Buttrick to Thach, March 7, 1909.
Thach feared that the legislature would not fund a textile school this year, but intended to "keep up the agitation until Alabama has one." Thach to Chadwick Minge, March 13, 1903.
Thach wrote to the governor that the Standard Oil Company claimed that oil tag tax was not in effect, but the Southeastern Oil Company in Birmingham stood ready to comply. Thach to William D. Jelks, March 14, 1903.
Thach notified the attorney general that the auditor had informed him that the Standard Oil Company contended that the oil law was a penal statute and could not be enforced until thirty days after the adjournment of the legislature. Thach to Massey Wilson, March 14, 1903.
The attorney general had advised the president that the oil tag tax was now operational. Thach to Cassety Oil Company, March 26, 1903.
The oil bill was designed to put all oil sold in the state under a fire test guarantee of 120 degrees F. Thach to Cassety Oil Company, April 1, 1903.
Due to a telegraph operators error, Thach was informed that the oil tag bill was "in effect now," when it should have read "ineffective now." April 10, 1903.
WRS informed Thach that he had received and examined House Bill 79. The Senate offered some amendments and the measure would return to the House for concurrence. Apparently, this measure was designed to strengthen some of the inspection responsibilities that API had assumed. W.R. Shafter to Thach, August 17, 1903.
Standard Oil Company contended that the oil tag tax was invalid and refused to buy tags or tag its oil. G.T. Wofford to Thach, November 20, 1903.
Thach wrote to the attorney general regarding the oil tag tax: "...we greatly regret this turn of affairs...." Thach to Massey Wilson, November 23, 1903.
Thach wrote to the attorney general regarding the oil tag tax. As to the constitutionality, the president pointed out that it followed the model of the fertilizer tax. As to necessity, the president pointed out the danger of dumping uninspected fuel in Alabama. Thach to Massey Wilson, November 30, 1903.
The Southeastern Oil Company was willing to comply with the tax, but Standard Oil refused to pay and the matter was before the Supreme Court. Southeastern did not want to pay a tax which was not imposed upon its competition, but neither did they want to incur a fine if the court decision went in favor of the state. They proposed putting an amount equivalent to the tax on deposit for API until the matter was settled. G.T. Wofford to Thach, December 2, 1903.
Thach said that there was no oil case pending before the Supreme Court, but that suits would be brought against "all dealers who sell oil below the standard required by law, and without tags." Thach to Southeastern Oil Company, December 5, 1903.
Thach complained to CALS that the oil companies and dealers were "ignoring the law entirely." "High officials" had suggested to the president that suit be brought against either large dealers or small. He assumed CALS that such an action would meet "with the hearty approval of the Governor." Thach to C.A.L. Samford, December 5, 1903.
The president's cousin, an attorney in Athens, reported that he had discussed the matter with Mr. Pettus and they intended to bring the oil tag matter before the grand jury, where they anticipated securing some indictments. H.C. Thach to C.C. Thach, December 8, 1903.
Thach promised to hold oil tax funds from Southeastern in reserve and recommend their return if the law was declared unconstitutional. Thach to Southeastern, December 15, 1903.
TDS reported that Thomas had "upheld the constitutionality of the [oil tax] law." T.D. Samford to Thach, January 13, 1904.
The oil question would be delayed until January 28. W.B. Clay to Thach, January 20, 1904.
There would be no fertilizer tag tax revenue for the quarters ending June 30 and September 30 because most of the tag sales took place in December, January, February, and March. During other quarters, the tax did not generate enough revenue "to pay the expenses of the office having had to call on the Treasury for our own allowance." R.R. Poole to Thach, October 11, 1904.
Thach wrote to the commissioner of agriculture that he was in sympathy "with your movement," but preferred that it be accomplished through "the reduction of acreage rather than by the reduction of fertilizer." Thach to R.R. Poole, March 25, 1905.
Thach had been notified that Carnegie would donate $30,000 for the construction of a library, on the condition that the college raise the same amount to endow its support. Thach to J.M. Carmichael, April 1, 1905.
The president wrote to the governor regarding "the amount of the fertilizer tax allocated [to API] by the attorney-general." Thach was disappointed in the amount and requested an audience with the governor to discuss the matter. Sales for the past year had been 1000 ton more than the previous, but the school's share was $1300 less. Thach believed that the question turned on the interpretation of one phrase in the statute. Previously, it had been interpreted in Auburn's favor. Thach to William D. Jelks, April 12, 1905.
The president wrote to the attorney-general requesting a chance to plead API's case regarding the fertilizer tax. Thach to Massey Wilson, April 13, 1905.
Thach wrote to IWH--who was apparently state school superintendent--saying he had received the treasury department notice giving white children 54.9 percent and black children 45.1 percent. This was a relative decrease for white children. This matter concerned API "vitally." The president simply wanted to verify the figures. Thach to I.W. Hill, August 24, 1905.
Thach invited the governor and the board to visit the campus to see for themselves Auburn's desperate need for classroom and laboratory space. Thach to J.M. Carmichael, September 23, 1905.
Thach asked RR to publish an editorial regarding Auburn's need for more classroom and laboratory space. Thach to Rufus Rhodes, September 25, 1905.
The president asked the governor to remember Auburn's needs if he called a special session: more classroom and laboratory space. Thach to William D. Jelks, September 27, 1905.
The Birmingham News of this date carried an editorial along the lines suggested by Thach in his letter of the 25th to RR. Eli P. Smith to Thach, September 27, 1905.
Thach cannot actively support McAdory's candidacy for state superintendent
of education, but personally he knows of no other person he'd rather see
in that position. Thach to I.W. McAdory, October 9, 1905.
Thach wrote to the editor of The Tradesman, published in Chattanooga, commending him in his promotion of southern education. The president complained that there was much rhetoric regarding southern resources and potential, but it would never become reality without home-grown and home-educated leaders. Otherwise, people from outside the South would capitalize upon the region's potential. Thach to N.F. Thompson, January 31, 1906.
WBC was "in Montgomery again" and preparing for "the next legislative battle" on the oil tax bill. He had reviewed the old bill, the Supreme Court's decision respecting it, and believed that it could be passed. The last bill was "beaten by manipulation of Mr. Weakley." This time, WBC wanted "to get the bill through and have a test made" before "asking for the position" that he held before. W.B. Clay to Thach, March 13, 1906.
Thach requested the names and addresses of members of the Alabama Senate and House. He hoped that the incoming legislature would support the work of API. The school especially needed buildings for agriculture, mechanics, a library, more boarding house facilities, and an infirmary. Thach to Robert F. Ligon, December 7, 1906.
CSA of New York City wrote to offer Thach help in lobbying the upcoming legislature. Champe S. Andrews to Thach, December 11, 1906.
Thach thanked Andrews for his offer of December 11 and assured him that they would be in contact as plans for the upcoming legislature session moved forward. Thach to Andrews, December 14, 1906.
The only revenue that API currently derived directly from the state was one-third of the fertilizer tax. The school's remaining income came from funds appropriated to the state by the federal government. The laboratories and equipment necessary represented "the great difference in the cost of the old type of education, and the new, or technical type." Alabama should fit her own sons to manage the development of the state's natural resources, rather than rely upon "the hands of other young men from other States and sections." Thach to "Dear Sir," December 18, 1906.
JFW saw Thach on the 6th and the 7th regarding "the agitation about moving Auburn College to Birmingham." The first inkling he had came from the Age-Herald of "last Friday." His first impress was "that some private understanding between the Faculty and parties in Birmingham with reference to a gigantic scheme had been reached." Acting on that impression, he wrote to Thach in favor of the proposition, but also requested the president's views. He stood ready to follow whatever position Thach advocated. Thach later notified him "to hold matters still." The proposition of the move turned out to be "an iridescent dream." The only reason JFW favored the matter at first was his mistaken believe that the faculty supported it. He had conferred with some of the agitators, who included M.J. Lide, and urged them to stop. Joel F. Webb to Reuben -----, January 7, 1907.
JFW met with the Auburn alumni in Birmingham the previous evening and put the matter of the move to rest. The account of the meeting in the Age-Herald of this date, he said, was "not entirely correct." Joel F. Webb to Thach, January 8, 1907.
The president of Howard College in Birmingham complained that the president of the University of Alabama had issued a statement saying that, unless the state increased support for Tuscaloosa, "hundreds of young men would be forced to go outside of Alabama to obtain the advantages of higher education." As of today, APM had written to the Montgomery Advertiser and the Birmingham News regarding this "unjust and arrogant" claim. A.P. Montague to Thach, January 8, 1907.
Thach acknowledged JFW's letters of January 7 and 8 and noted that an editorial in "today's Age-Herald" showed "the absolute futility and folly of that irresponsible agitation." Apparently, "Reuben" in the letter of the 7th was Webb's brother. Thach to Webb, January 9, 1907.
Thach notified the legislative committee of the board that they would meet at 3 PM, January 14, in the lobby of the New Exchange Hotel to consider matters "of imperative importance." January 11, 1907.
WBC still believed that the oil tax bill could pass and urged Thach to "cut out that nervous hustle & bustle and get busy" pushing it. W.B. Clay to Thach, January 19, 1907.
JFW volunteered to do whatever he could "to aid in securing the passage of the bill providing for the appropriation to Auburn College." J.F. Webb to Thach, January 19, 1907.
Thach asked RBB to use his influence to further the Auburn bill pending before both houses of the legislature. Governor Comer had already endorsed Auburn's request for $226,000. Thach to R.B. Barnes, January 26, 1907.
Thach had requested the $226,000 appropriation "for increased facilities" to be paid in four annual installments. Thach to J.S. Frazier, January 26, 1907.
The tag tax had passed the Senate, which also defeated an effort to reduce Auburn's share from 30 cents to 10 cents. Mr. Lusk "threw his influence in favor of keeping matters" as they were, which Thach appreciated. Thach to J.B. Hobdy, January 26, 1907.
Thach wrote to HLM asking him to lobby the relevant Senate and House committees regarding Auburn's appropriation. Thach to H.L. Martin, January 28, 1907.
AWB had been notified of his appointment to the board of trustees. He agreed with Thach's efforts "to build up the college to its largest usefulness." A.W. Bell to Thach, February 5, 1907.
Thach asked NDD to go with Ligon and Feagin to see the governor regarding an increase in Auburn's appropriation from $32,000 to $40,000. This would be in lieu of Auburn's share of the tag tax. These funds were needed to increase the size of the faculty, which need he anticipated because of growing enrollment. Thach noted that Auburn could run without this increase if the school only received its share of the tag tax. Thach to N.D. Denson, February 11, 1907.
Thach reported to the board of trustees that Auburn's classrooms, laboratories, and boarding houses were filled to capacity. Since 1902 the college enrollment had increased 47 percent while the income had increased 37 percent. The revenue increase came from increases in the fertilizer tax, but under "the new arragement" Auburn would be taken off the tag fund and given a fixed appropriation of $32,000 per year. This would not be sufficient to meet the institution's needs. The president suggested that this be raised to $40,000 and urged the trustees to use whatever influence they had to that end. Thach to Board of Trustees, February 14, 1907.
Thach wrote to a member of the legislature informing him that none of the money provided under the Hatch Act could be used for instruction in the college. Thach to R.F. Ligon, February 23, 1907.
The president of Clemson congratulated Thach "on receiving from the legislature of the state a magnificent appropriation for the building and other improvements of the institution." P.H. Mell to Thach, February 27, 1907.
The legislature appropriated $57,000 in four annual installments for building purposes. In additional, they appropriated $40,000 per annum for "maintenance," which would be on an ascending scale. Thach to K.G. Matheson, March 6, 1907.
For the past two months, Thach had been "right down at it in a personal canvass with the members of the legislature." The president believed, however, the "the entire educational program was largely determined by the governor." Thach was very pleased at the outcome of the past legislative session. Thach to Champe S. Andrews, March 7, 1907.
Under Governor Comer, Thach expected "an era of still greater expansion" for higher education. Thach to W.F. Feagin, March 9, 1907.
Thach was "pretty well satisfied with the results of the ascending scale for the tag tax." Thach to R.F. Ligon, March 9, 1907.
The new mining bill discriminated against Auburn graduates in that it required superintendents and assistant superintendents to have been "practical miners of two years experience." H.E. Reynolds to Thach, July 13, 1907.
RCS succeeded in geting "your bill through the House this morning and had it sent to the Senate forthwith without engrossment." He predicted that it would "get through without much delay." R.C. Smith to Thach, July 16, 1907.
Thach had received Smith's letter of July 16 "and also the morning paper." He wondered who had taken charge of the bill in the Senate. Thach to R.C. Smith, July 16, 1907.
Thach had learned through R.C. Smith, Lee County representative, that there were "some clerical irregularities in House Bill No. 960," which concerned Auburn's "library matter." The president informed the governor of the problem and asked him to refer the bill back to both houses for correction before he signed it. The problem was minor and would not effect the substance of the bill. Thach to Comer, July 22, 1907.
Thach wrote to a member of the legislature, apparently regarding criticism from the Farmers' Union that API was not doing enough for Alabama agriculture. It seemed that the Farmers' Union particularly charged that Auburn devoted more attention to engineering than agriculture. Thach contended that the opposite was true, even though there were relatively fewer agricultural students and the school received relatively small state appropriations for that subject. He noted that Auburn had to represent both town and country interests. Thach to W.F. Feagin, August 12, 1907.
The president wrote to the governor requesting support for Auburn's sanitation and water supply needs at the call session of the legislature. Thach to Comer, September 30, 1907.
The governor's private secretary notified Thach that Comer would probably include the matter raised on September 30 in his call for a special session. William E. Fort to Thach, October 3, 1907.
RFL--clerk of the supreme court--had spoken to the governor regarding the additional $25,000 appropriation for Auburn, to be paid in four annual installments. The governor gave him no encouragement regarding the matter and RFL doubted that he intended to support it. Auburn's appropriations had already been "exceedingly heavy." Robert F. Ligon to Thach, November 20, 1907.
Thach wrote to the governor regarding a section of the code which concerned the inspection of illuminating oil. According to the law, API's professor of chemistry had responsibility for conducting the inspections. The president proposed a conference to set in motion the machinery for enforcing the law. Thach to Comer, April 6, 1908.
Auburn had statutory authority for inspection of fertilizers, nurseries, and live stock. Thach to M.A. Scovell, September 12, 1908.
The board had made no addition to the staff for API's duties under the oil tax. The work was "being conducted by the present officer of the college without an additional cent of remuneration. The board would take no further action on the matter until June. "I should think that no one would be at all disposed to accord anything but words of the warmest appreciation for your original interest in the matter." Thach to W.B. Clay, October 3, 1908.
On governor's office letterhead, Thach received a letter of KC asking if he could do anything to help her brother, Robert M. Collins, Jr., to secure a position as oil inspector. Katherine Collins to Thach, October 7, 1908.
Thach requested a meeting with the governor regarding the oil tax. As he understood it, the measure had generated $12,000 in revenue to date. Thach to Comer, November 2, 1908.
Thach asked the governor to request that the solicitors of each judicial district be informed of the oil tax law and employed in its enforcement. He also requested an inspection of tax records because there had been "dereliction in certain quarters in payment of this tax." Thach to Comer, November 19, 1908.
Thach wrote to the governor and referred to "Mr. White's letter concerning tag tax on illuminating oils." White had written to the state tax commissioner concerning the matter. The president noted that the same oil companies paid comparable taxes in Georgia, Tennessee, and Mississippi. With the governor's help, he believed the law could be enforced in Alabama. Thach to Comer, November 28, 1908.
The system of fertilizer inspection began in 1882. In lieu of its former share of this tax, Auburn now received an annual appropriation of $40,000. Above the amount paid to Auburn, the state secured approximately $50,000 in revenue from the fertilizer fund. Thach to Brown Ayres, December 11, 1908.
Comer asked the president to inform him "in what manner" the illuminating oil law was being violated before he notified the sheriffs of the counties mentioned in Thach's letter of June 24. Comer to Thach, June 30, 1909.
Thach responded to Comer's letter of the 30th: the companies specified in his of the 24th were not "placing tags on the tank cars" as required. Thach to Comer, July 1, 1909.
The Mobile County solicitor had been advised by the governor of Thach's complaint regarding the Marine Oil Company. The solicitor had conducted "such investigation as was practicable" and had detected no violation of the law. N.E. Stallworth to [Thach], July 10, 1909.
Thach said he received constant reports that the Marine Oil Company failed to tag its shipments of oil into Alabama as required in the political code 1572 ff. and the criminal code 2361. The president had no specific instances of violation, but urged the routine inspection of cars that came into Mobile. Thach to Stallworth, July 12, 1909.
Thach wrote to an official of the Standard Oil Company regarding the oil tag tax. Apparently, Standard was complying, but Thach suspected that the law was being evaded "in a wholesale manner." Returns in Alabama came nowhere near those in Tennessee, Georgia, and Louisiana, which had similar laws. Thach to E.L Pauley, July 12, 1909.
Thach noted that "Vann's bill," house bill 79, had been reported with amendments in the Senate. It seemed "in every way satisfactory" to the president because it provided food and drug protection with no expense to the state. Thach to R.C. Smith, August 18, 1909.
Auburn's total income from the state was $40,000 per year, plus $20,000 on "the original Morrill endowment." The state also appropriated $15,000 for nursery inspection and "last year" the school received $8000 for the inspection of coal oil. Thach to R.J. Noell, October 21, 1909.
The amount of oil tax revenue collected during July: Standard Oil Company $2456, Indian Refining Company $133, Texas Oil Company $191, and Gulf Refining Company $66, for a total of approximately $2847. B.L. Shi to Thach, July 25, 1910.
The amount of oil tax revenue due to the state from API for October, 1910, was $2033.51. Thach to W.W. Brandon, November 2, 1910.
The amount of oil tax revenue due to the state from API for November, 1910, was $4008.75. Thach to W.W. Brandon, December 1, 1910.
The question of Auburn's appropriation was still in committee. There seemed to be "a probability of a shortage in revenue." Thach to W.K. Terry, March 13, 1911.
The state of Alabama appropriated approximately $30,000 [annually] for the experiment station, farmers' institutes, and other extension work. Thach to J.C. Hardy, May 31, 1911.
In his 1912 annual report (pp. 66-7), President Pritchett of the Carnegie Foundation noted that the University of Alabama required four years of high school for admission, but Auburn required less than two years. This may have been fitting for agriculture students, but these comprised only a portion of Auburn's enrollment. API also had an engineering school and an academic college, where the majority of students were enrolled. Pritchett saw "no reason why the State of Alabama should offer to its youth at the same time college work of the first grade and college work of the second grade, engineering training of standard excellence and engineering training of an inferior degree." As long as this went on, "the larger number of students [would] gravitate toward the easier and lower plane." This represented an injustice to the students and the taxpayers. J. Lister Hill, president of the Montgomery Alumni Association of the University of Alabama, had forwarded this excerpt to prospective students, one of whom sent it to Thach. B.H. Boyd to Thach, August 19, 1912.
Thach responded to a letter from Governor O'Neal regarding "the expenditures of appropriations made by Act #9, approved February 9, 1911." The governor was "mistaken in regard to the manner of the expenditures of the fund so far as mingling of the specific items [was] concerned." The appropriation budget made by the director of the Experiment Station and approved by the board of trustees was "exactly in accordance with the different subjects as specified in the act." These included such things as fertilizer experiments, drainage and irrigation, and live stock. The treasurer kept an account book of the funds spent in each area covered by the act. Thach volunteered to provide O'Neal whatever information he needed to verify Auburn's use of these funds as specified in the act. In conclusion, he reminded the governor that "this bill was passed by both houses of the legislature without a single dissenting vote." Thach to O'Neal, September 23, 1912.
Thach wrote to a special agent of the Standard Oil Company informing him that the Collinsville Oil Company was now complying with the law. He was less sure of the Birmingham company. Thach to E.L. Pauley, December 12, 1912.
Thach informed the governor that he was willing to remedy any misunderstandings that had arisen regarding education work that Auburn intended to undertake during the summer months. Apparently, some other state school had expressed concerns regarding this. Thach to O'Neal, March 18, 1913.
The college treasurer forwarded the state treasurer a check for $4037.90, the amount due for March on the illuminating oil tax. Thach to C. Brooks Smith, April 2, 1913.
The college treasurer forwarded the state treasurer a check for $1939.40, the amount due for April on the illuminating oil tax. Thach to Smith, May 3, 1913.
Thach reported that the last legislature appropriated $138,000 for buildings at Auburn, but state finances had been "embarrassed" and no payment had been made. Thach to P.K. Pierce, May 3, 1913.
Auburn and Alabama were under pressure from newspapers to make advertising contracts for the fall, but the state's finances had been so poor that neither could afford what had been spent before. The president of Alabama urged that the "two leading institutions of the state" act in harmony in this matter. Apparently, he and Thach had discussed this before. George H. Denny to Thach, June 24, 1913.
An English professor at MIT asked for information regarding "a controversy alleged to exist" between Auburn and Alabama over "educational matters." Clinton H. Collester to Thach, October 25, 1913.
The reply to CHC was drafted by "BLS" but signed by the president. [At this point, most of the outgoing letters are signed by B.L. Shi, registrar.] Thach claimed to know of no controversy between Auburn and Alabama. Thach to Collester, November 3, 1913.
Haygood Patterson of Montgomery wrote to Thomas Bragg of the Auburn faculty, enclosing a draft article sent by President Denny of the University of Alabama to the Montgomery Advertiser. He noted that Miss Matthews at the newspaper considered some of Denny's statements thinly-veiled attacks upon Auburn and underlined such on the copy he sent to Bragg: the "choice young men and women" of the state wanted to attend the University of Alabama because it was known throughout the country, not within the "narrow confines" of a single state; some "so-called 'colleges'" had been accepting students without adequate high school preparation; and "some institutions calling themselves 'colleges'".... In his cover letter, Patterson charged that Denny harped "on the Carnegie fourteen-units in a childlike and mirth provoking manner." Patterson to Bragg, March 14, 1914.
Thach wrote to a faculty member that the college was unable to meet the bills incurred by his department because the school had "no money whatsoever in the treasury." Thach to J.S. Caldwell, April 28, 1914.
A prospective student wrote to Thach that he had decided to attend Alabama, but was now considering Auburn. James Haygood to Thach, July 30, 1914.
Thach replied to Haygood that Auburn would be a good choice, but he had no wish to argue the virtues of one school over another. Thach to Haygood, August 1, 1914.
Shi wrote to Thach at the Gay-Teague Hotel in Montgomery: "I have had 150 copies of letter multigraphed, and will mail to the various members of the legislature Wednesday." Thach was apparently staying in Montgomery while the legislature was in session. Shi to Thach, February 2, 1915.
H.B. Johnson, general manager of the Sheffield Company of Sheffield, Alabama, wrote to the speaker of the Alabama house, urging him to support a $100,000 appropriation for API, "one-half the amount that was appropriated for Auburn but in some manner has been denied this institution and is imperatively needed to carry on the education of many of Alabama's sons who are seeking education at the Auburn Polytechnic." H.B. Johnson to A.H. Carmichael, February 5, 1915.
The state did not "make any direct appropriation for the college for the distinct purpose of education and maintenance." The larger percentage of school funds were derived from the federal government. The two funds paid to the college by the state were $40,000 for inspecting commodities (one the basis of which the state collected $232,000 per year) and funds appropriated for extension. Thach to C.S. McDowell, February 20, 1915.
A committee of alumni petitioned the speaker of the house to support the amendment of HB 533, which amendment would exempt Auburn and Montevallo from the provisions of the bill repealing appropriations made by the 1911 legislature. The appropriations for Auburn's "sister institutions" had been released in full, while only one-half of the Auburn and Montevallo appropriations had been released. Furthermore, both A and M agreed not to "present any claims for payment until the existing financial embarrassment of the state has been relieved." Finally, the authors of the petition reminded the speaker that through the analysis of fertilizers, cotton seed meals, feeding stuffs, foods and drugs, illuminating oils, and samples of soils, minerals, and plants Auburn generated $232,000 annually for the state treasury. The alumni committee sent the same message to other members of the legislature. Vassar Allen et al. to Carmichael, February 6, 1915.
Thach requested from the secretary of state a certified copy of the joint resolution by which the Alabama legislature approved the Smith-Lever act. Thach to John Purifoy, February 12, 1915.
B.C. Davis wrote to Governor Charles Henderson recommending the appointment of Dr. John Rush as an Auburn trustee. Davis to Thach, April 27, 1915.
Thach sent out copies of his annual report with a cover letter stating that the college was "in urgent and imperative need of buildings" and "absolutely destitute of funds for the necessary buildings mentioned in the report." He mentioned the 1911 appropriation of $200,000, $100,000 of which remained unpaid. Furthermore, the state received an annual income of more than $232,000 for the inspection work performed by API. [The legislature was either in session or about to convene at this time. Apparently, this letter went to members of the legislature.] Thach to H.C. Thach, July 7, 1915.
Go to Finding Aid for Presidential Records, Charles Coleman Thach, 1902-1920
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