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The Curators at Work...1913 Letter

This letter was transcribed from unsigned carbon copies written by Claire W. Bloomhall who is listed as sales Manager of Douglas & Company in the 1913 city directory.

July 31st, 1913
Mr. Geo. B. Douglas,
"Goring Hall"
Worthing, Sussex, England

Dear Mr. Douglas,

I am writing you this short line so that you will be informed of the Starch market conditions.

During the past few days we have been having very rapid advances in Corn and cash No.3 grade Chicago is now around 64 1/2 to 65 cents.

What does this letter tell us about the crops that were used by Douglas & Co in 1913?

The conditions in the corn belt are not at all satisfactory and if the hot weather continues as it has been for the past four of five days, a great deal of damage will be done. It was 102 in the office here yesterday and the Government thermometer registered 106 over town and the same the day before.

We had a slight shower this morning and thunderstorms are reported generally for the state of Iowa today and tomorrow so we are quite hopeful of a good soaking rain in the near future. It is greatly needed but even more so in some of the other states, such as Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Some of the corn crop statisticians are estimating the crop at 2,750,000,000 which you will note is considerably less than last year. As soon as the Government report comes out on the 9th of August I will advise you fully of conditions, though perhaps you will get them in your daily paper.

How did weather affect the production of cornstarch?

We have been pounding away on Pearl and Powdered for the last 30 days and just about keeping even with our output up until yesterday when orders came pouring in rapidly. We booked a total of over 4,000 bags and barrels and 7 or 8,000 boxes.

There was an advance rumored of 25 cents on Lump and Package and 5 and 10 cents on Pearl and Powdered - the facts of which we have not yet obtained. However we wired the entire trade last evening to advance Pearl and Powdered ten points, making Chicago Pearl bases $1.97 without any change in Lump and Package goods.

We are oversold on this grade for 40 to 60 days and are fully taken care of on Pearl and Powdered for the month of August and under existing crop conditions prefer keeping close to shore. We are just about covered with corn purchases and manufactured stocks to cover our sales and with an erratic corn market must not take any chances.

We are not paying over 63 cents for but little of our corn but are bidding 64 1/2 cents today. We are successful in securing a sufficient supply to keep the plant in full operation, this month's showing should be quite satisfactory. The small stock of Pearl and Powdered which we have in the factory will come in very handy in taking care of our needs if we should be compelled to shut down for a few days for lack of corn.

How did the price of corn in 1913 compare with the price of corn today?

It is not a question of price with the farmers as we are bidding right up to the top and sometimes over, but they will not let loose of the corn - most likely due to the unsatisfactory conditions of the growing crop.

We had a little shower yesterday but not sufficient to help very much and we are all hoping for a good soaking rain throughout the entire belt at an early date.

Everything is going along quite satisfactorily in the factory, having full force and no difficulty in securing plenty of labor. Matters in the office are almost most pleasant. Our only trouble is the extremely hot weather.

Andrew was in to see me a few days ago and reported everything going along very satisfactorily at your home.

I regret having delayed in forwarding you the enclosed statement but trust the same will arrive well in advance of your leaving for this country.

With nothing of further interest at the moment, I remain,

Respectfully yours,

* This letter has been edited slightly to make it more readable for 21st century readers. The challenges of transcribing a handwritten letter include changes in spelling, punctuation and usage.



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