The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Lewis Gould's study provides a sturdy framework within which these and
other questions about the social dimensions of Texas politics can be explored.
Georgia Institute of Technology ROBERT C. MCMATH, JR.
The Public Career of Cully A. Cobb: A Study in Agricultural Leadership.
By Roy V. Scott and J. G. Shoalmire. (Jackson: The University and
College Press of Mississippi, 1973. Pp. viii + 287. Illustrations, bibliog-
raphy, index. $9.95.)
Rather than a biography, this is a view of farm problems, changes, and
programs from the perspective of Cully A. Cobb, a poor, southern farm boy
who, starting with little more than grit and determination, became a signifi-
cant farm leader not only in the fields of agricultural education, the exten-
sion service, and farm publication, but also as chief of the Cotton Production
Section, Agricultural Adjustment Administration. Born in Tennessee, Cobb
was raised on a small farm in Mississippi, educated at Mississippi Agricul-
tural and Mechanical College, became principal of a county agricultural
high school and head of corn-club work (4-H) in Mississippi (1910 o), and
in 1918 became assistant director of the Mississippi Agricultural Extension
Service. He resigned this office in 1919 to become editor of the Atlanta
based Southern Ruralist, one of the South's most important farm journals,
which merged with Progressive Farmer in 1930o.
As an editor, Cobb became nationally prominent. He is generally con-
sidered to be an agricultural fundamentalist, who favored use of business
methods and diversification on the farm, stressed the role of education, and
appealed to the small, land-owning southern farmer. A strong supporter of
McNary-Haugen, he received wide support for appointment as Roosevelt's
secretary of agriculture in 1933. Although he was an efficient AAA adminis-
trator, Cobb opposed the idea of permanent government management of
agriculture and some of the "patently dangerous schemes" of Rexford Tug-
well. As a leader of the agrarian or conservative faction of the AAA, Cobb
incurred the displeasure of the "liberal" element. Conflict between the
"liberals" and "agrarians" centered in the cotton section and climaxed over
the issue of tenancy, and specifically over the "Norcross case" involving the
Southern Tenant Farmers' Union in Arkansas. Cobb retired from govern-
ment in 1937, after four years of service, to continue an active business life
as head of Ruralist Press, Inc., a commercial printing corporation in At-
lanta, where he remained until the sale of his business in I971, when he
was 87 years old.
In technique, this book is essentially a series of independent historical

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 78, July 1974 - April, 1975. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117149/. Accessed July 30, 2014.