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John Smith Journals and Papers, 1758-1794

Identifier: jfb-MB20156

Scope and Contents

The 32 pocket memorandum books and acillary documents in this collection capture daily life and agricultural concerns, including trade, of John Smith (1722-1795), a farmer in Gloucester County, England, whose efforts did much to advance agriculture in the county during his lifetime.

The collection itself contains no historical information about Smith or his family outside of what can be gleaned from the near-daily entries in the leather-bound diary entries that make up the bulk of the collection.


  • 1758-1794

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the James Ford Bell Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Much of what is known about Smith is known through a paper written by J. Chalmers Morton and delivered to the Kingscote Farmers' Club in March, 1864. Titled "A Lifetime in the Cotswolds," the paper was based largely on this collection of journals, which Smith kept between 1758 and 1794, the year before his death. According to Morton, the journals - he had access to Smith's journals from 1766-1793--offer a comprehensive look at the developments of agriculture in the Cotswolds in this era of England's history. The paper was printed in the April 9, 1864 edition of The Gardners' Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette.

Smith is believed to have been born in 1722 in Chipping Norton. At 22, Smith joined his father at Bowldown Farm outside of Tetbury. About this time, Smith devised a system of farm management based on a six-course rotation of crops rather than the standard four-course system. This meant keeping seeds down a second year and planging oats after wheat. In an obituary published in an edition of Gentleman's Magazine from 1794, Smith is credited for fostering this style of agriculture in the Cotswolds.


32 Volumes (Yearly journals with daily entries recording merchant and domestic activities of an English yeoman centered in Gloucester County. ) : The annual journals are housed in phase boxes, 2 journals per box, and labeled vol. 1-2, vol. 3-4, etc.

1 box (Single documents housed in folders vary widely in content scope and include receipts, letters, memoranda, stock certificates, among others.) : Single documents found folded into the journals are now housed in folders in an archive box and shelved with the journals under the same call number. Document numbers relate to the journal in which they were found and are in folders in the order in which they were found in each journal. Thus dates do not necessarily correspond to the date of the journal, nor are they necessarily consecutive.

Language of Materials



[One to two sentence description of the collection.]

Bell Library Call Number

1758 Sm
John Smith Journals and Papers, 1758-1794
Brett Sigurdson and Marguerite Ragnow
August 2019; completed January 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The James Ford Bell Library Collecting Area

Elmer L. Andersen Library
Suite 15
Minneapolis MN 55455