Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Cinderella of the New South: A History of the Cottonseed Industry, x855-1955. By
Lynette Boney Wrenn. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1995- Pp.
xxiv+280. Bibliography, index. ISBN o-87049-882-7. $38.00.)
Despite its title, Cinderella of the New South is not a psychosocial treatise on post-
Reconstruction southerners, but a summary of the development of the South's
"Cinderella" industry: cottonseed crushing, milling, and refining.
Prior to 1880, farmers retrieved cottonseed, a byproduct of cotton harvesting
and ginning, for their next year's crop and used the remainder as fertilizer and
livestock feed. After 1880, such factors as increased cotton production, expan-
sion of rail lines, and development of a new crushing and refining technology
created an unprecedented demand for cottonseed. Manufacturers wanted oil
and meal for margarine, cooking oil, shortening, soap, paint, livestock feed, and
improved fertilizer; linters, the short cotton fibers attached to the seed, became
the cellulose base for explosives and early plastics.
Agricultural and economic historians have not dealt with cottonseed to the
same degree with which they have examined timber, tobacco, and cotton. Limit-
ing her investigation to the years 1855 to 1955, Wrenn fills the void by address-
ing the development of processing technology; buying and selling patterns;
secrecy, price fixing, and cartels; trade associations; and a series of antitrust in-
vestigations that led to industry reorganization. The author deserves credit for
clarifying the intricate network of business relationships that existed between
small "interior" mills and large "terminal" mills (p. 17), relationships that also
affected farmers, cotton ginners, crushers, rail and truck transporters, and gov-
Wrenn presents Texas-related details, including photographs of cottonseed
processing from the Waco mill (dated 1939), and describes the role of Texas
crushers in industry-wide trade associations. Notably, there is only one reference
to the Anderson-Clayton cottonseed empire.
Wrenn's densely researched economic focus is based on the established works
of Tompkins, Woodman, and Woodward plus contemporary works by Ras-
mussen and Daniel. However, her examples of New Deal social impact are limit-
ed to wage structures, and overall there are few supporting quotations from
individuals, either as primary or secondary sources. Nevertheless, this is a valu-
able contribution to agricultural and economic scholarship.
Houston KAREN GERHARDT BRITTON
America at War. Edited by Calvin L. Christman. (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press,
1995. Pp. 656. Introduction, bibliography, index. ISBN 1-55750-036-3.
This anthology of articles from Military History Quarterly is recommended to
any general reader who wants a better understanding of how America has waged
war over the course of three centuries. Calvin Christman has selected fifty-one
articles from the leading popular journal of military history that, since its incep-
tion in 1988, has featured some of the best scholars and writers in the field. This
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 99, July 1995 - April, 1996. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101217/. Accessed March 4, 2015.