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William Hamilton papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MS-0614

Scope and Content

The collection (1940-2000, undated) documents Hamilton's career with the American Farm Bureau Federation and includes remarks, speeches, policies, correspondence, position papers, statements made before Congress, articles, pamphlets, booklets, memorandums, press releases, news clippings, and a manuscript relating Hamilton's personal memories of working for the American Farm Bureau Federation. Not all of the material in the collection was authored by Hamilton, but the collection also includes material written by others and AFBF pamphlets, brochures and booklets. Although not representing the entirety of his work, the majority of the collection contains materials he collected which he wrote or helped create.

The articles and reports often relate to the effect of issues and events on agriculture such as World War II, the proposed change to the Metric System, and a national health care plan. The "newsletters" prior to 1952 are generally one or two page narratives on a specific topic, probably intended for inclusion in the AFBF's newsletter. Topics of the newsletters generally relate to actions the federal government has made related to agriculture including bills, appropriations, and the effects of World War II. The statements by Hamilton found in the collection include topics such as the workings of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the economics of agriculture, farm relief programs, problems in American agriculture, and the effects of World War II on agriculture. The collection includes a number of articles and issues from the journal The Nation's Agriculture, the official publication of the American Farm Bureau Federation, which contain articles written by Hamilton. A more complete run of the journal can be found by searching the library's catalog. The collection also contains issues of Looking Ahead, a monthly report by the National Planning Association. These reports often contain an Agriculture Committee Statement which Hamilton signed and/or provided commentary about.


  • 1940-2000, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


William Eugene "Gene" Hamilton was born on April 10, 1915 in Allerton, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State College (University) with a B.S. (1938) in agricultural economics. After graduation, Hamilton became assistant agricultural economist in the office of economic information of Iowa State College's Extension Service. He also continued taking graduate level courses in economics.

Throughout most of his forty year career (March 18, 1940 - March 31, 1980), he worked for the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), except for a period of leave for military service as a Naval communications officer during World War II. He began his career in AFBF's Washington Office where his duties were mainly related to economic aspects of legislation and included preparing articles for the newsletter (Farm Bureau News) and national magazine (The Nation's Agriculture) and gathering statistics and analytical material for Farm Bureau policies. He then moved to AFBF's general office (1950) in Chicago to work as an economist where he became director of research (1954) and chief economist (February 1973-March 1989). He wrote the Farm Bureau News' regular monthly feature "Farm Business Roundup." His writings included topics such as government farm programs and updates on commodity trends and prices. During his tenure with the AFBF, Hamilton analyzed economic problems, wrote legislative and administrative proposals, prepared discussion materials on policy issues, and represented the Farm Bureau on numerous occasions at Congressional hearings. Hamilton provided the economic view on AFBF statements, testimonies and letters. According to his retirement announcement in the Farm Bureau News, Hamilton believed that "economic progress lies in the direction of dispersal of economic decision-making, the enhancement of private property rights, sound money and greater reliance on the marketplace." In addition to his work at the AFBF, Hamilton was also a member of the National Planning Association's Agriculture Committee (March 1955-1970s).

After his retirement, Hamilton's activities included serving on Wheaton, Illinois' planning commission and volunteering with the Internal Revenue Service tax preparation program for senior citizens. Hamilton died on July 29, 2004 at his home in Wheaton, Illinois.


3.02 Linear Feet (2 records center cartons, 1 document box)


The collection is organized in reverse Chronological order.

Items in related collections

MS-0479. American Farm Bureau Federation records, 1913-2000, undated MS-0163. Charles K. Hamilton papers, 1830-1932, undated

Related collection materials

Copies of Hamilton's Farm Bureau News retirement announcement and obituary can be found in RS 21/7/1.

The Special Collections Department also holds the papers of William Hamilton's grandfather, Charles K. Hamilton.

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

MS-0614. William Hamilton papers, 1940-2000, undated
December 12, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672