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Eckles Club papers

Identifier: 668

Scope and Content

The papers of the Eckles Club consist of meeting minutes and agendas, correspondence regarding the club, treasurer's reports, and other administrative documents such as by-laws and the constitution. The collection begins at the time of the club's formation in 1916 and the last materials are from 1967, approximately a year before the last meeting of the club.

Before the demise of the club, in order to pay one last tribute to their Chief, it was decided to compile recollections of him from the remaining club members. The original intention was to bind them in four volumes, with each recollection contained in all of them. One copy was to be given to the University of Missouri Library, one to the University of Minnesota Library on the St. Paul Campus, one to the family and one either to the Library of Congress or the National Dairy Shrine. This project was never completed but the unbound tributes were found with the collection along with surrounding correspondence (folder 19).


  • 1916-1967


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Requests for permission to quote should be arranged with head of University of Minnesota Archives.

Historical Note

In 1916, at a meeting of the Eastern States Exposition, held in Springfield, Massachusetts, a group of eleven former students of Dr. Clarence Eckles, a professor of dairy husbandry at the University of Minnesota, met informally and decided to form a club in his honor. The club consisted solely of his former students from the University of Missouri and later also from the University of Minnesota. The object of the club as stated in the Constitution and By-Laws was as follows: "The Eckles Club is a social and inspirational Club, organized in honor of Clarence Henry Eckles, who has been our guide, helper and friend." Meetings were originally held once or twice a year in conjunction with national dairy events and the "Chief" as he was fondly referred to, as well as his wife Alice, were invited to attend.

From then on the club continued to meet on a yearly basis in conjunction with the regular summer session of the American Dairy Science Association. Clarence Eckles died on February 13, 1933. Upon his death, the Eckles Club consisted of 140 members and at that time considerable thought was given to the future of the club. On June 25, 1935 a statement of future policy recommendations was presented at the annual meeting. As a result, it was recommended to close membership in the club as of July 1, 1937.

Alice Eckles also maintained an interest in the club after her husband's death and attended the meetings as often as she could. A tradition of sending flowers to her at the time of the annual meetings, which started early in the club's history, was also continued. Over the years the purpose of the club remained a social one with men involved all aspects of dairying, meeting in honor of Dr. Eckles. At each meeting, a pledge was read which said, "I believe dairying is a branch of agriculture which promotes the best interests of this, my country and I pledge myself to its proper development through research and practice. All this I promise that I may prove worthy of the example of my teacher, councilor and friend - Clarence Henry Eckles."

After Alice Eckles death on August 12, 1965, the 74 members of the club decided to discontinue it in 1966. Since its members were aging, it was felt that the club should not continue until the last member had died. The final meeting was supposedly held in June 1968 in Columbus, Ohio. No record of the final meeting was found with the papers.

Biographical Sketch of Clarence H. Eckles (1875-1933)

Clarence Henry Eckles was born on a farm near Marshalltown, Iowa on April 14, 1875. He entered Iowa State College at the age of 16 and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1895. At that time he was appointed as an assistant in dairy husbandry and dairy bacteriology at Iowa State. In 1896 he entered the University of Wisconsin, but received a degree of Master of Science in dairy bacteriology at Iowa State in 1897. He continued to work as a dairy bacteriologist there with the exception of a term spent as an instructor at the Massachusetts Agricultural College.

In 1901 he was hired at the University of Missouri as assistant professor in charge of the newly formed Department of Dairy Husbandry. In 1904-1905 he took a leave of absence to study in Europe. Upon his return to Missouri, he worked to significantly expand his research program and produced numerous scientific articles and bulletins. The graduate program was also expanded considerably while he was at Missouri.

In 1916, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Science from Iowa State College. With his reputation as a scientist and teacher well established, he was appointed Chief of the Division of Dairy Husbandry at the University of Minnesota in 1919, a position he held until his death.

By 1915 Dr. Eckles was listed in Who's Who in Americaand American Men of Science. In 1928 he was selected as one of the "Ten Master Minds of Dairying" by a committee, which represented all areas of the dairy industry. He was one of the founders of the American Dairy Science Association and served as its president. He was instrumental in establishing the Journal of Dairy Scienceand was an associate editor from 1922 until 1933. He was also a member of various other societies and organizations involved with dairying. Clarence Eckles died on February 13, 1933 at the age of 57.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.))


The collection consists of correspondence, membership lists, agendas and minutes documenting the Eckles Club at the University of Minnesota from its founding in 1916 until it ceased operation in 1967.


The collection is organized by topic, beginning with papers regarding the administration of the club (folders 1-7), correspondence (folders 9-18) and tributes of Dr. Eckles from former students (folder 19).

From 1916 to 1919, Dr. Eckles was a professor at the University of Missouri. Parts of the collection refer to Professor Eckles time at the University of Missouri. Any papers relating to the University of Missouri found in the collection were also sent to the archives on the Columbia campus. These materials include correspondence dated 1939 regarding a portrait of Clarence Eckles that was purchased by the club to hang in Eckles Hall at the University of Missouri as a memorial, a 1939 dedication program of the picture hanging, the dedication speech by L.S. Palmer and two identified photos of participants and family members at the dedication, and one copy of the unbound tributes.

Duplicate copies of the unbound tributes of Professor Eckles were discarded.

Source of acquisition

A portion of the collection of Eckles Club Papers was received in University Archives on July 3, 1997 from the Minnesota Dairy Research Production Center in the Department of Animal Science Extension, located on the St. Paul Campus. Another segment of the Papers was found in the Papers of the Department of Dairy Husbandry (Collection # 340) and merged with the collection.

Related Materials

The Minnesota Historical Societyhas a collection of Clarence Eckles' papers.

Inventory of the Eckles Club papers, 1916-1967
Karen Klinkenberg; updated by Karen Spilman
July 30, 1997; revised May 15, 2003; updated May 19, 2004
Language of description
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Collecting Area Details

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