Note: this is a physical collection held in the Windsor Historical Society archives. To view any part of it, please contact the archivist, Michelle Tom.
Creator: Lasbury, Ralph C., Jr.
Extent: 5.5 linear feet
Accession #: 1983.36, 1984.62
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.
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 1960s 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.
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. The BWI records contain information not just on Jamaican workers but also Puerto Rican and migrant workers from other areas. Lasbury represented the interests of tobacco growers, traveled extensively for the Association’s executive committee, and met regularly with Caribbean governmental officials.