Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Helen Hosmer Papers, 1937-1969
MS 149  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (104.27 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Collection Scope and Content Summary
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Helen Hosmer Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1969
    Collection number: MS 149
    Creator: Hosmer, Helen
    Extent: .5 linear ft.

    1 digital object
    Repository: University of California, Santa Cruz. University Library. Special Collections
    Santa Cruz, California 95064
    Abstract: This collection consists of a small incomplete run of the Rural Observer, a newsletter put out by the Simon J. Lubin Society, published and edited by Helen Hosmer, a letter to Carey McWilliams and miscellaneous papers from the Simon J. Lubin Society.
    Physical location: Stored offsite at NRLF: Advance notice is required for access to the papers.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to publish or to reproduce the material, please contact the Head of Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    Helen Hosmer Papers, MS 149. Special Collections, University Library, University of California, Santa Cruz.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Helen Hosmer & Randall Jarrell, 2002.


    Helen Hosmer was a writer, activist, and historian of California agribusiness. Her knowledge of California's agriculture dated back to the 1930s when, as a student at the University of California, Berkeley she worked at the Poultry Division, College of Agriculture. Later she worked for the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which established camps for migrant workers in California. During this period, Hosmer came to know FSA photographer Dorothea Lange, agricultural economist Paul S. Taylor, and many important figures in the labor movement in San Francisco. Because of her conviction that labor organizing was essential among agricultural workers, Hosmer resigned her government position at Farm Security in 1935 in order to have the freedom to work in behalf of her political beliefs. She co-founded the Simon J. Lubin Society, an organization that promoted unity between family farmers and migrant laborers and exposed the antiprogressive political activities of California agribusiness. From 1935 to 1941 she published and edited the Lubin Society's Rural Observer. The Society also issued special publications, such as Who Are the Associated Farmers? and John Steinbeck's Their Blood is Strong.
    After World War II, Hosmer temporarily put aside her political activism and spent over 25 years living in Mill Valley as a housewife, mother, pianist, and gardener. In the early 1960s she resumed her research and writing. Once again she turned her attention to California agriculture, writing articles for American West magazine, and serving as director for the research committee for the California Farm Reporter.

    Collection Scope and Content Summary

    This small collection includes a letter from Helen Hosmer to Carey McWilliams, [1969?] describing the demise of the newsletter and an incomplete run of the Rural Observer, along with miscellaneous reports and balance sheets from the Lubin Society.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Hosmer, Helen
    Agricultural industries--Citizen participation--California
    Agricultural industries--California--History
    Agricultural laborers--California
    Migrant labor--California
    Political activists--California

    Index Terms Related to this Collection

    McWilliams, Carey
    Simon J. Lubin Society of California

    Related Material

    • Their blood is strong by John Steinbeck. San Francisco, Calif., Simon J. Lubin Society of California, Inc., 1938. UCSC Spec Coll HD1527.C2S74 1938 Library has: c. 1-2.
    • Helen Hosmer: A Radical Critic of California Agribusiness in the 1930s, interviewed and edited by Randall Jarrell. UCSC Spec Coll HD1491.C2H6 1992