This cover was chosen because of the unusual address, the letter being sent with a roller cancel of HOBART/ 24 JUL 22 9-PM/ TASMANIA to The American Poultry School, Dep. 185, Kansas City, M.O. (Missouri), America and it was franked with the 4d orange KGV head, this being the commercial paper rate to foreign countries from 1 October 1920 (Figure 1).
The first thing I learnt about the American Poultry School was in an annual report of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of 1931. There was an order that required the “respondents, engaged in conducting a correspondence school giving instruction in the raising of poultry, to cease and desist from quoting fictitious prices which are in excess of those usually charged, as the regular price of the course of instruction”. I also learnt that Walter Hogan and T.E. Quisenberry had written a 135 page booklet ‘The Call of the Hen, or the Science of Selecting and Breeding Poultry for Egg Production’, published by the American Poultry School, 1924, Kansas City.
I was able to buy a copy of page 17 of the March 1925 issue of Poultry Tribune entitled ‘Coin Chicks into Gold’ with the subtitle ‘Avoid Bowel Trouble, Leg Weakness, and Chick Troubles, Raise Hardy, Early Chicks without Loss and Make Big Profits’ written by none other than Prof. Thomas E. Quisenberry. There was a black & white illustration of a free book “handsomely printed in colors with illustrations” and the free book coupon was to be sent to Dept. 4059, American Poultry School, either Kansas City, Mo. or to Buffalo N.Y. (Figure 2).
I learnt that “Prof. Quisenberry is officially recognized as one of the very foremost figures in the poultry world. Ten years ago he advised methods and developed ideas for increasing profits that poultrymen today are just beginning to realize are unfailing and vital to poultry success and real profits. It was he who gave to the world the first reliable method of culling flocks to actually tell the loafers and boarders from the producers. It was he who first announced to the world that 300 eggers (per year) were possible and who produced the first pen to exceed 200 eggs (average) in an American Egg Laying Contest.”
“He handles more mail, answers more poultry questions than any other living man….the new pointers, secrets and profit-making methods now revealed for the first time in his latest book, are certain to be very valuable to every raiser of poultry throughout the world…..Coin your chicks into gold this spring” (Figure 3).
Thomas Quisenberry’s obituary appeared in the Kansas City Star on March 29, 1934: He had been “born on a farm near Slater in 1883 the son of a banker, attended the agricultural school of the University of Missouri and became President of the American Poultry School which he founded. He was the founder of the poultry experimental station at Mountain Grove, known as the most complete state-owned farms of its kind in the country He was survived by his wife, 3 sons and a daughter”.
The particular point of interest is that in the relatively non-electronic world communications in 1922, this poultry man from Hobart, Tasmania learnt of Quisenberry and the American Poultry School in the U.S. midwest, prior to publication of the two books mentioned in the text. I have to wonder if he joined a poultry correspondence course?