Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. Collection:

The Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association

 

Windsor Historical Society

96 Palisado Avenue, Windsor, CT 06095

 

© 2005 Windsor Historical Society

 

 

Creator:  Lasbury, Ralph C., Jr.

Dates:  1943-1984

Extent:  5.5 linear feet

 

Accession #:  1983.36, 1984.62

Location: Document Storage shelf 3D and 3E

 

 

Biographical

            Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. was born September 4, 1906, in the Broad Brook section of East Windsor, Connecticut.  He was the second child of Ralph C. Lasbury and Eloise Thrall.  Lasbury Senior was one of Connecticut’s important broadleaf tobacco growers. At one point, he had 500 acres of broadleaf growing.

            As a young boy, Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. worked tobacco every summer.  After high school, he went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida.  He then worked for his father at the South Windsor Tobacco Company.

            In the early 1930’s, Mr. Lasbury worked for Henry Trumbull in Plainville, Connecticut.  He developed a type of humus for tobacco beds and received much praise from the shade tobacco growers.

            In 1939, he was appointed as the first Chairman of the Connecticut Marketing Authority in Hartford.  He held that position until 1978.  The Connecticut Regional Market in Hartford was one of his major accomplishments.

            Mr. Lasbury was appointed to the Farm Labor Committee of the State Defense Council in 1941.  He and a number of tobacco men, including William S. Fuller, Albert Newfield, Lamarr Monroe, and Charles Huntington, developed a code of standards for tobacco workers.  Hours, housing, and sanitary conditions were included in the unprecedented code.

            On November 30, 1942, Mr. Lasbury was hired as Executive Director of the Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association.  The first offices were established at 148 State Street in Hartford, Connecticut.

            One of his first duties was to develop a workable labor program.  His program included the establishment of attractive youth camps, adult guidance proposals, and a “day-haul” system so that local teachers and students could earn extra money.  Also, many corrective regulations were drawn up.  These became the basis for the Farm Labor Law of 1947.

            Mr. Lasbury’s job as spokesman for the tobacco growers brought him to the State Legislature.  He also went to Washington to participate in Congressional hearings on tobacco labor and production problems.

            One of Mr. Lasbury’s proficiencies was his public relations work.  He and the Association produced a documentary film on shade tobacco.  The film served as a teaching tool for the public and the sales people of the cigar industry.

            The 1960’s saw more contributions by Mr. Lasbury to the industry.  He established the first state licensed hospital in the United States for migrant agricultural workers.  In 1968, Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey inspected the Windsor Labor Camp and said that the association’s operation was the “most enlightened” of any employer group he had seen in the country.

            In 1968, Mr. Lasbury retired.  Upon Lasbury’s retirement, Gerrit Krot, president of the Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association, said that “no man in contemporary American agriculture contributed more to the industry’s welfare.”

            Besides his work in the Association, he had many other interests.  Lasbury was the first president of the Connecticut Morgan Horse Club.  He served as a director of the Connecticut Antiquarian and Landmarks Society.  He was an avid trout fisherman and fox hunter and collected antique duck decoys.

            Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. died of a heart attack on March 18, 1979, in Winter Park, Florida.  He was 72.  When he died, he left his wife, Cecilia Chase Lasbury; two sons, Ralph C. Lasbury and Joshua C. Lasbury; and two daughters, Cecilia Johnson and Abigail Fitzgerald.

 

Scope and Contents

            The collection documents a significant portion of the professional activities of Ralph C. Lasbury, Jr. over a period of fifty years as the head of Connecticut regional agricultural marketing and employer groups.  Minutes, correspondence, reports, leases, fiscal reports, copies of state legislative activities, and newspaper articles document the establishment, opening, and operation of the Connecticut Regional Market, a venue for the sale of Connecticut agricultural commodities.   It also contains minutes, correspondence, membership lists, reports, and negotiations on behalf of the British West Indies Employers’ Association.  Lasbury represented the interests of tobacco growers, traveled extensively for the Association’s executive committee, and met regularly with Caribbean governmental officials.   

 

Arrangement

Each series and folder is arranged chronologically.  Folders in Series II are also marked with an earlier sequential numbering system that is independent of the current Box and Folder numbers.

 

Series I.   Regional Marketing Authority and Connecticut Marketing Authority, 1943-1966

 

Series II.  British West Indies Employers’ Association, 1951-1969

 

Series III.  Regional Labour Board and British West Indies Employers’ Association joint meetings, 1970-1983

 

Series IV.  Personal correspondence, 1946-1948, 1983-1984

 

Series V.  Photographs, 1944-1952

 

Box and Folder Lists

Series I.   Regional Marketing Authority and Connecticut Marketing Authority, 1943-1966  (File E)

 

1.1        1943-1945

1.2        1946

1.3        1947

1.4        1948

1.5        1948 cont’d

1.6        1948 cont’d

 

2.1        1949

2.2        1949 cont’d

2.3        1950

2.4        1950 cont’d

2.5        1950 cont’d

 

 

3.1               1951

3.2               Publicity on opening Nov. 16, 1952

3.3               1952

3.4               1953

4.1               1954

4.2               1955

4.3               1956

4.4               1957

4.5               1958

4.6               1959-1960

 

5.1               1961

5.2               1962

5.3               1963

5.4               1964

5.5               1965-1966

 

Series II.  British West Indies Employers’ Association, 1951-1969  (File D)

 

6.1               B.W.I. Employers’ Association, membership list, 1958 and 1963

6.2               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, miscellaneous correspondence to and from members, 1951-1952

6.3               B.W.I. Central Labour Organisation, correspondence to and from Harry Edwards

6.4               Jamaican trip, R.C.L. work papers and expense account, Feb.-Mar. 1951

6.5               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, miscellaneous correspondence, 1951-1960

6.6               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, William Meranda, Transporation Representative

6.7               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, minutes of the organizational meeting, Nov. 5, 1951

6.8               Meeting of Employers of B.W.I. workers, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Sept. 14-15, 1951

 

7.1        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, R.C.L. work folder and meeting, Jamaica, Dec. 1951

7.2        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, publicity for meeting in Jamaica [1951]

7.3        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, 2nd regular meeting material, Feb. 4-8, 1952

7.4        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, 3rd regular meeting material, list of members and Negotiating Committee, April 20-22, 1952

7.5        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, R.C.L. work folder, Feb. 1952

7.6        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, 4th regular meeting, Sept. 8-9, 1952

7.7        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, meeting expenses and bills, 1952

7.8        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, Jamaica, Nov. 29, 1952

7.9        Resort Airlines, Inc., miscellaneous letters to Civil Aeronautics Board, 1952

7.10      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, 5th meeting, Jan. 1953

7.11      B.W.I. material, 1953

7.12      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, 6th meeting, Washington, D.C., April 9-10, 1953

7.13      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Aug. 25-29, 1953

7.14      Reception for B.W.I. officials, Oct. 13, 1953

7.15      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, meeting, Washington, D.C., Nov. 23-24, 1953

7.16      Jamaican Gleaner (Royal Supplement): Queen Elizabeth’s visit, Dec. 1953

 

8.1        B.W.I. Regional Labour Board and Employers’ Committee meeting,    Barbados, Feb. 22, 1954

8.2        B.W.I. trip, miscellaneous materials, Feb. 1954

8.3        R.C.L. work folder, B.W.I. Work agreement, 1954

8.4        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., April 25-27, 1954

8.5        Predesignated workers – argument with Jamaica, April 1954

8.6        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee conference with Hon. Bustamante, New York, June 10, 1954

8.7        William A. Bustamante, Chief Minister, visit to Connecticut, June 15, 1954

8.8        B.W.I. Employers’ Committee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 26-27, 1954

8.9        B.W.I. Regional Labour Board meeting, Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 1954 and Kingston, Jamaica, Jan. 10-12, 1955

8.10      Proposed B.W.I. agreement: Florida Fruit and Vegetable Growers and Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association, Inc., 1955

8.11      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., April 13-14, 1955

8.12      Party to meet: Hon. Florizel A. Glasspole, Charles Greaves Hill, Harry F. Edwards, April 30, 1955

8.13      B.W.I. Employers’ meeting, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Sept. 1, 1955

8.14      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Nov. 29-30, 1955

8.15      Miscellaneous correspondence, 1955-1959

8.16      Miscellaneous material from Jamaican trip, Jan. 6-14, 1956

8.17      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., April 24-25, 1956

8.18      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Aug. 22-24, 1956

8.19      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Jamaica, Jan. 1956 [out of date sequence]

8.20      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 6-7, 1956

 

9.1               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Jamaica, Jan. 6, 1957

9.2               Thank you notes for Regional Labour Board meeting, 1957

9.3               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., April 24-25, 1957

9.4               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sept. 12-13, 1957

9.5               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 9, 1957

9.6               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Jamaica, Jan. 1958

9.7               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., May 1-2, 1958

9.8               Luncheon for guests from the Caribbean, Sept. 11, 1958

9.9               B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Wisconsin, Sept. 25-26, 1958

9.10            B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 3-4, 1958

9.11            B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Jamaica, Jan. 1-11, 1959

9.12            John S. Mordecai, C.M.G., visit with R.C.L., Mar. 17, 1959

9.13            B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., May 3, 1959

9.14            B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Sept. 1, 1959

9.15            B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 14-15, 1959

9.16            50% Transportation Payment for Jamaican workers

9.17            Jamaican trip, Jan. 9-17, 1960

9.18            B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., May 19, 1960

 

10.1      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Sept. 8-9, 1960

10.2      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 5-6, 1960

10.3      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Regional Labour Board trip, West Indies, Jan. 1961

10.4      Norman Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica, visit to Washington, April 1961

10.5      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Washington, D.C., June 5-6, 1961

10.6      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting (cancelled), Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Aug. 1961

10.7      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 6-7, 1961

10.8      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting with Asst. Sect. of Labor Holleman, Washington, D.C., Jan. 29-31, 1962

10.9      B.W.I. Employers’ Association Executive Committee meeting with Robert Goodwin, U.S. Dept. of Labor, Washington, D.C., June 8, 1962

10.10    B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Jan. 8, 1962

10.11    Dinner for Sir Alexander Bustamante, Premier of Jamaica, Washington, D.C., June 27, 1962

10.12    B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., Dec. 6-7, 1962

10.13    B.W.I. Employers’ Committee and Regional Labour Board meeting, Jamaica, Jan. 14-15, 1963

10.14    B.W.I. Employers’ Committee meeting, Washington, D.C., May 27-28, 1963

10.15    B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Windsor, Connecticut, Dec. 12-13, 1963

10.16    B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Jamaica, Feb. 2-7, 1964

10.17    B.W.I. Employers’ Association problems, 1964

 

11.1      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Washington, D.C., April 13-15, 1964

11.2      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Washington, D.C., Nov. 16-17, 1964

11.3      B.W.I. Employers’ Association and Regional Labour Board meeting, Jamaica, Feb. 15-16, 1965

11.4      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting at Jamaican Industrial Development Corp., New York, June 28, 1965

11.5      B.W.I. Employers’ Association and Regional Labour Board meeting, Jamaica, Jan. 24, 1966

11.6      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Barbados, Jan. 22, 1967

11.7      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Windsor, Connecticut, Mar. 26-27, 1968

11.8      B.W.I. Employers’ Committee bulletin regarding U.S. Employment Service vs. B.W.I. contract, 1959-1960

11.9      B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Jamaica, April 17-19, 1968 and 1969

11.10    B.W.I. Employers’ Association meeting, Windsor, Connecticut, Dec. 13, 1968

11.11    B.W.I. labor news commentaries by Edward P. Morgan, American Broadcasting Network, 1958-1959

11.12    Sir Alex Bustamante, correspondence, 1965-1967

11.13    Regional Labour Board, correspondence with members, 1951-1965

11.14    Regional Labour Board, copies of contracts and corrections, undated

11.15    Harold O. A. Dayes, correspondence, 1955

11.16    Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, correspondence regarding exchange of B.W.I. workers, 1958

11.17    Regional Labour Board, correspondence with Sir Hugh Foot, Governor of Jamaica, 1951-1957

11.18    Lady Sylvia Foot (Mrs. Hugh), correspondence, 1952-1959

11.19    Hurricane Janet, British West Indies, correspondence, 1956

11.20    Party in honor of Sir Hugh Foot, Hartford, Connecticut, Sept. 29, 1954

 

12.1            Sir Stephen Luke [folder empty as of 6/2/2005]

12.2            Herbert G. MacDonald, correspondence, 1952-1967

12.3            Miscellaneous correspondence, 1962-1967

12.4            Hon. Norman Manley, correspondence, 1955-1957

12.5            Meranda Company, miscellaneous materials, 1961-1963

12.6            Arthur Pickwood, correspondence, 1954-1955

12.7            Donald Sangster, correspondence, 1956

12.8            George Scott, correspondence, 1951

12.9            Beryl Scott (Mrs. George), correspondence, 1952

 

Series III.  Regional Labour Board and British West Indies Employers’ Association joint meetings, 1970-1983  (File F)

 

12.10        33rd meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 20-22, 1970

12.11        34th  meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 26-28, 1971

12.12        35th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  Jan 31-Feb. 2, 1972

12.13        36th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  May 2-4, 1973

12.14        37th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 22-25, 1974

12.15        38th meeting, Barbados,  April 14-18, 1975

12.16        39th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 5-9, 1976

12.17        40th meeting, Kingston, Jamaica,  August 24-25, 1976

12.18        41st meeting, St. Mary, Jamaica,  Mar 28-April 1, 1977

12.19        42nd meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 3-9, 1978

12.20        43rd meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  Jan. 15-19, 1979

12.21        44th (Special) meeting, Kingston, Jamaica,  May 24-25, 1979

12.22        45th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 14-18, 1980

12.23        47th meeting, St. Lucia,  Jan. 19-23, 1981

12.24        48th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  April 19-23, 1982

12.25        49th meeting, Ocho Rios, Jamaica,  Jan. 17-20, 1983

 

Series IV.  Personal correspondence, 1946-1948; 1983-1984

 

12.26        Correspondence, 1946, 1948; list of Shade Tobacco Growers Association members mid 1940’s

12.27        Correspondence (photocopies) regarding donation of the collection to Windsor Historical Society and processing of the collection; original 1984 version of the finding aid

 

Series V.  Photographs, 1944-1952

 

12.28    Photographs of Ralph C. Lasbury, 1944, 1945, 1952

 

Custodial history

            When the Lasbury Collection was donated to the Windsor Historical Society in 1983, it also included 23 scrapbooks and a photo album.  These        scrapbooks were compiled by Mr. Lasbury’s secretary Doris Rockwell from 1941-1968.  They contain newspaper clippings, photographs, and correspondence relating to the Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association’s labor programs and the tobacco-growing and cigar-making industries in Connecticut. The photo album contains images of the processing of tobacco in warehouses.  In 1997 the scrapbooks and photo album were transferred to the Luddy/Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum in Windsor, Connecticut.

           

Related Materials

Subject files: Businesses -- Tobacco

Scrapbooks and photo album at the Luddy/Taylor Connecticut Valley Tobacco Museum in Windsor, Connecticut.

 

Subject Terms

Tobacco industry – Connecticut

Migrant agricultural laborers -- Connecticut

Shade Tobacco Growers Agricultural Association, Inc.   

British West Indies Employer’s Association

Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

Regional Labour Board of the Caribbean

Lasbury, Ralph C., Jr., 1906-1979

Bustamante, Alexander, Sir, 1884-1977

Caradon, Hugh Foot, Baron, 1907-

Manley, Norman Washington, 1893-1969

Mordecai, John, Sir, 1903-

 

Administrative history

Collection processed and finding aid compiled by Stephen E. Simon, June-July 1984.

Revised by Barbara Goodwin, June 2005

 

 

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