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Harvesting on a Bonanza Farm
Harvesting on a Bonanza Farm
TitleHarvesting on a Bonanza Farm
Date of Original1891
CreatorRogers, W. A. (William Allen), 1854-1931
Creator RoleIllustrator
DescriptionLine extending far in distance of men operating binders in wheat field. Man on horse riding away from photographer.
Ordering InformationConsult:
General SubjectAgriculture
Subject (LCTGM)Horse teams
Agricultural laborers
Harvesting machinery
Subject (LCSH)Bonanza farms
Subject (Local)Binders (Agricultural machinery)
Binding grain
Sheaves of grain
LocationRed River Valley (Minn. & N.D.-Man.)
North Dakota
United States
Item NumberFolio 102AgB66.7
Format of OriginalLithographs
Dimensions of Original40 x 55 cm.
Publisher of OriginalHarper's Magazine Co.
Place of PublicationNew York (N.Y.)
Transcription"Harvesting on a Bonanza Farm. The original cave dweller, dear child of the Working Scientist, harvesting his wheat crop by going out to his field and gnawing off the heads of the grain with his active jaws. The plan had its advantages and also its disadvantages, on the whole, our able progenitor longed for something better. Then there arose a thoughtful paleozoic inventor who pointed out that the grain could be pulled up by the roots and the heads thrashed out in the palm of the hand. This satisfied our esteemed ancestor, and matters ran along thus for a few hundred thousand years; in deed. I claim the Working Scientist's privilege to be vague as to years. Let us throw overboard the cave-dweller, for that matter, and come along down to modern times. Let us begin with the sickle, for instance. [addition text not transcribed until mention of Dakota] Our illustration, with the noisy orator on the first machine, and the mule agitator on the second, and the undefined individuals on the twenty-three others, is on one of the big 'bonanza' farms of Minnesota or the Dakotas. Let us say it is in the valley of the sinuous Red River of the North. Perhaps it is on the great Dalrymple farm of nobody knows how many thousand acres. The waving wheat rolls away like the pampas plains of South America. It does not seem as if it can come from the work of man, but that wheat must be the natural product of the soil. the country is level as a floor. The wheat ripens in July, and the harvest runs into August. The days are long in this land then, it is near the forty-seventh parallel. Before the sun comes, clear and golden, the men are up looking after their horses. the eight-hour-day agitation, has not reached the Red River of the North; walking delegates walk not; the men are satisfied if they get eight hours in which they do not work. The shadows are still long and the day breeze but just awakening when the noisy clatter of the machines begins. I grieve to say that profanity, fluent and copious, is thought necessary to start everything as it should be started. The richly laden heads of the wheat are bowed even lower than usual with the weight of the heavy dew. The wild roses down among the wheat are at their brightest. Over by the river there are acres of wild sunflowers on their long waving stems beginning to rise and fall in the morning breeze. Along the road and by the edge of the field, for there is an edge somewhere, the golden-rod and the first purple flowers of autumn stand stiffly, with the dewdrops clinging to them. There are meadow larks and brown thrushes to furnish the music, and a flock of prairie chickens whir away; the long line of machines moves on regularly and noisily; the language of the drivers remains plain, and the mules learn precisely what is thought of them by the men most intimately associated with them, and therefore in the best position to judge them correctly. The sun mounts higher in a sky deeply and darkly blue, a mid-continent blue, with none of the watery mistiness of the sea-coast. When the summer clouds begin to appear, towards noon, they are white and fleecy, like great billowy pillows of down, but their edges are as clearly marked against the rich blue as a swan's breast against the dark waters of a lake. Till late in the afternoon the sun shines down fiercely, tempered every few minutes by the clouds, which move up all day long in a never-ending procession from the south, and whose shadows chase each other like great stealthy daytime ghosts across the bending wheat. But they are not rain clouds, and at night they hide away somewhere in the north, except a few, perhaps, which become long dark bands near the horizon, and sometimes if the night be warm, play at harmless lightning flashing like great laze fire flies of the sky; and the fire flies of the world below are out among the sunflowers before the noisy binders stop, and the mules, with their characters once more openly held up to public scorn, are led to the house for the night. The sun went down some time before, looking like a big globe of burnished gold; the white calm moon comes up far away across the level silent plain, and the tired men creep to rest. Another day of the harvest is done. The paleozoic gentleman was primitive in his harvesting methods, but I fancy he enjoyed himself more than they do in the valley of the Red River of the North. He did not work so hard, and he had more time to lie on his back and watch the white clouds float across the far-away mysterious sky." - Accompany text.
NotesTitle from caption.
Black and white version also in collection.
Repository InstitutionNorth Dakota State University Libraries, Institute for Regional Studies
Repository CollectionDakota Lithographs and Engravings Collection Folio 102
Collection Finding AidConsult:
Credit LineInstitute for Regional Studies, NDSU, Fargo (Folio 102AgB66.7)
Rights ManagementImage in public domain.
Digital IDrsL00014Full
Original SourceHarper's Weekly, Aug. 29, 1891. p. 660-661.
Digital AlterationsMaster scan made up of two scans stitched together.
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