Information for Researchers
Scope and Content
Collection Title: Guayule Rubber Industry in Salinas, California
Collection Number: BANC PIC 1962.006--fALB
1 album (44 photographic prints) ; 17 x 34 cm. ; ephemera
44 digital objects
The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California 94720-6000
Information for Researchers
Collection is stored off-site. Advance notice required for use.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish photographs must be submitted
in writing to the Curator of Pictorial Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library
as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must
also be obtained by the reader.
Copyright restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted
to research and educational purposes.
[Identification of item],
Guayule Rubber Industry in Salinas, California, BANC PIC 1962.006--fALB, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Digital Representations Available
Identifier/Call Number: BANC MSS C-B 834:
Title: Sheridan Downey Papers
Identifier/Call Number: BANC PIC 1981.076--PIC:
Title: California Park and Recreation Areas, and Other Western Views, ca. 1930-ca. 1949
Transferred from the Sheridan Downey papers (BANC MSS C-B 834).
Extraction of rubber from guayule plants escalated in the United States as a consequence of the Second World War. During World
War II, Americans found themselves lacking in rubber supplies, as Japan controlled 90% of the world's rubber supply and American-made
synthetic rubber proved inferior to the natural product. As early as 1907, experiments by the Intercontinental Rubber Company
were conducted on guayule, a Mexican desert shrub which contained 20% pure rubber that lent itself to harvesting. The International
Rubber Company soon began to breed the plant to produce double that amount of rubber. After harvesting, the plant was sent
to a mill for production, where it was compressed into molds for shipment.
The Salinas Valley was host to commercial operations on a large scale, begun in 1926 by the Intercontinental Rubber Company.
Eight thousand acres of guayule were under cultivation and up to five tons of guayule rubber were turned out daily. After
a paper published by Intercontinental Rubber's vice president, Dr. David Spence, outlined how the United States could not
become dependent on foreign supplies, the War Department sent two majors (one of whom was Dwight D. Eisenhower) to investigate
the Salinas operation. After the outbreak of hostilities with Japan, the federal government passed the Emergency Rubber Project
Act in 1942 and took over Intercontinental's operations in Salinas, creating the Guayule Rubber Project, under the direction
of the United States Forest Service. Nurseries were established for the Salinas plant near Bakersfield, Oceanside, and Indio,
California and in New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. By 1944, 32,000 acres were devoted to the growing of guayule.
The end of World War II and the improvement of synthetic rubber meant the end of the guayule project in the Salinas Valley.
After 1945 the Salinas land was turned over to the production of other crops.
(Source: Verardo, Jennie Dennis, and Denzil Verardo.
The Salinas Valley : an Illustrated History. Northridge, CA: Windsor Publications, 1989.)
Scope and Content
This collection consists of an album of 44 photographic prints, plus ephemera, of the guayule rubber industry in Salinas,
California, circa 1942. The photographer is unknown. Included in the photographs are images of workers planting, harvesting
and manufacturing the guayule; views of agricultural equipment; guayule fields; guayule plants; mills and mill machinery at
Salinas; and Senator Sheridan Downey, Major Evan W. Kelley of the U.S. Forest Service, rubber chemist Dr. David Spence, and
members of the "Truman Committee," which investigated Salinas' guayule industry.
The ephemera consists of three items: a letter from the Salinas Chamber of Commerce to Senator Sheridan Downey, sheets of
information on guayule rubber, and another letter from the Salinas Chamber of Commerce to the Truman Committee of the Senate.
The first letter is one page, to Senator Sheridan Downey from Fred S. McCargar of the Salinas Chamber of Commerce, introducing
the album as a scrapbook of the development of the guayule project in Salinas. Following it are five sheets of information,
in the form of questions and answers, about the planting, harvesting, and production of rubber from the guayule plant. The
last segment is a four-page letter, again from McCargar, to the Truman Committee of the Senate, outlining the production of
guayule rubber before and after the government took control of the Salinas operations on March 5, 1942.
This collection was put together with the cooperation of the Salinas Chamber of Commerce, the United States Forest Service,
and the Intercontinental Rubber Company. Typewritten captions are pasted below the photographs, and are reprinted in the container