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Inventory of the Floyd Hal Higgins Collection
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  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related Material
  • Indexing Terms
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights

  • Creator: Higgins, Floyd Halleck, 1886-1975
    Title: Floyd Halleck Higgins Collection
    Date: 1790-1982
    Extent: 565.4 linear ft.
    Abstract: News editor for Caterpillar Tractor Company (1927-1933); freelance agricultural journalist (1933-1971). Brochures, correspondence, manuscripts, clippings, serials, photographs, and posters relating to the development of agricultural machinery in the United States, Canada, and Europe, particularly the history of tractors and combines.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Davis, California 95616-5292
    Collection number: D-056
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Floyd Halleck Higgins was born on May 15, 1886, in Keokuk, Iowa. After graduating from Iowa State College in Ames, he moved to Chicago and western Canada to work in a variety of public relations positions including Director of Public Relations, National Association of Farm Equipment Manufacturers (1922-1926). Higgins moved to California in 1927 where he became the News Editor for Caterpillar Tractor Company. He immediately found that farm machinery history “was gathered by each company’s ad men when they needed to get up something for a ‘special number’ of some publication in which its ads appeared.” In self defense, Higgins began collecting materials relating to the origins of combines and tractors but his interests expanded to include all forms of farm mechanization.
    In 1933, Caterpillar moved its corporate headquarters to Peoria, Illinois. Higgins chose to stay in California where he worked as a free-lance writer. His articles appeared in Pacific Rural Press , Farm Implement News, Diesel Progress , Rice Journal, and other agricultural journals. He used every opportunity to interview “the men who were there” and create an historical record supported by material in his ever-growing collection.
    In 1959, Higgins sold his collection of more than ninety file cabinet drawers of research materials, to the University of California, Davis. The University Library hired him to remain the curator of the collection, a position he held until 1972 when ill health forced him to retire. He died on February 28, 1975.

    Scope and Content

    This finding aid is for the portion of the collection that is primarily brochures and other printed material relating to the development of agricultural machinery in the United States particularly the history of tractors and combines. Manuals, catalogs, clippings and photographs have been treated separately. Higgins’ personal correspondence and manuscripts are now the F. Hal Higgins Papers.

    Related Material

    O-005, Agricultural Technology Brochures Collection
    O-012, Agricultural Technology Catalogs Collection
    O-011, Agricultrual Technology Manuals Collection
    D-004, Anthony W. Bakken Collection
    D-308, Caterpillar 20 Collection
    D-267, Terry Galloway Collection
    MC213, Walter H. Gardner Collection
    MC135, Harris Manufacturing Company Collection
    D-116, F. Hal Higgins Papers
    MC173, Hoke Tractor Affadavit Collection
    MC194, Lawrence and Maxine Mapes Collection
    MC014, Howard Steiner Collection
    D-173, E. J. Stirniman Collection
    MC149, John Talbert Papers

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Higgins, Floyd Halleck, 1886-1975--Archives.
    Agricultural machinery --Design and construction--Sources.
    Tractors--Design and construction--Sources.
    Combines (Agricultural machinery)--Design and construction--Sources


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from F. Hal Higgins with generous assistance from the International Harvester Company, Deere & Company, and Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, 1959.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Floyd Halleck Higgins Collection, D-056, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis..

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, University of California, Library, Davis 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 researcher.