World War I in Lawrence: ‘Tractor school’ helps farmers feed troops more efficiently

An event described in the Lawrence Journal-World as a “tractor school” took place this week in Lawrence with the intended purpose of making farm work more efficient. The event, described as “purely a patriotic and educational affair,” took place in the Douglas County Courthouse, where “experienced tractor men [were] on the bench […] telling the farmers of Douglas county how to run and care for their tractors that the largest amount of food in the history of this country might be produced this summer in order to feed the American army in France and to keep the Allied armies intact.” Although the largest tractor manufacturers of the U.S. had provided speakers for the two-day workshop, no sales took place and no specific tractor was described as being the best choice. The sole purpose of the tractor school, it was stated, was “to educate the tractor owners of the county to keep their tractors in running order” and to “prevent waste.”

Elsewhere in Lawrence this week, the Rotarians, “in their determination to follow up their campaign for the Americanization of the elementary schools,” adopted a resolution to exclude the German language from elementary schools. A two-person committee, composed of Lawrence school superintendent Raymond A. Kent and Supt. H. B. Peairs of Haskell Institute, presented the resolution to the local Rotarian branch, whose members intended to have it adopted as a state policy later in the year. It was resolved that “no language except English shall be taught or permitted to be used as a medium of instruction in the elementary public schools of America” and that the teaching of German in high school and college “be not arbitrarily excluded, but that the study of this language be left to the election of the students.”