Marijuana Policy Project
Curved Papers

Treasure Trove of 'Hemp for Victory' Photos Unearthed

A 14-minute propaganda film made by the Department of Agriculture in 1942 called Hemp for Victory changed the course of hemp legalization many decades later.

The short extolling the industrial benefits of hemp for the war effort was obtained by Bill Conde in 1976. He gave a copy to Jack Herer in 1984. Five years later, Herer and Maria Farrow traveled to Washington, DC in hopes of finding actual proof of the film's existence at the Library of Congress. 

"They didn't have a copy so we gave them one," Farrow tells CelebStoner. "We found the proof that it was made by the government. I know what we did, what we saw and what we proved."

Now, all these years later, another hemp activist, Joe Domino, has acquired a treasure trove of governemt hemp photos and documents from the 1940s. 

Domino, who owns Gourmet Hemp Foods, contacted the National Archives in College Park, Maryland last November asked to look at microfilm related to "War Hemp Program of the Department of Agriculture, 1942-1947." It was know known as War Hemp Industies. After finding the photos at the Maryland office in December (they were archived by the now-defunct Farm Security Adminstration), he went to the Kansas City, MIssouri office to do further research in January.

Since the program benefited the war effort, it was unceremoniously canceled by the government after World War II ended, thanks in part to Harry Anslinger, who ran the now-defunct Bureau of Narcotics. Domino handed his research over to hemp expert John Dvořák

Domino's also the author of Craig Lee's Kentucky Hemp Story: Memoirs of an Industrual Hemp Activist.

Here are some of our favorite Hemp for Victory photos:

Original caption: "Cutting hemp by hand"

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Original caption: "Harvesting hemp on the farm of Brooks Barnes, Winchester, Ky. with a hemp harvester that cuts and automatically spreads the stalks on the ground to dew ret." (Septemeber, 1942)

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Original caption: "This hemp, grown in 1941 and properly weathered, is being hauled to a decorticating plant in Versailles, Ky. April 1942. Here machinery breaks the stalks and removes the hurds, or pithy portions, from the fibers. This decorticating plant is working on a U.S. Navy contract."

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Original caption: "It takes lots of spinning to make twine from loose hemp fibers." (April, 1942)

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Original caption: "The U.S. Army guards the nation’s main supply of hemp seed, stored temporarily in a tobacco warehouse in Lexington, Ky., as a central point for distribution to Kentucky farmers." (April, 1942)

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Check out the entire photo collection here

 

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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of CelebStoner.com, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.