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Harvard. Agricultural Economics Exam. Carver, 1915.


This course on agricultural economics taught at Harvard during the second term of the 1914-15 academic year by Thomas Nixon Carver was listed in the course catalogue under “Applied Economics”, primarily for graduate students. The course announcement, enrollment figures, and the final examination questions come from three different sources, all of which are available on-line. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting corresponding material from the twenty economics courses offered during the 1914-15 year for which the final examination questions had been printed and subsequently published.

Carver’s autobiography Reflections of an Unplanned Life (1949) can be read online at the website.


Course Announcement

Economics 32. Economics of Agriculture, with special reference to American conditions. Half-course (second half-year). Mon., Wed., Fri., at 10. Professor Carver.

An intensive study of a number of special problems relating to rural economy and agricultural policy, such as land tenure, tenancy, intensive and extensive farming, the possibilities of national self-support, the economical distribution of farm products, farming for subsistence as compared with farming for profit, specialized as compared with diversified farming, selling farm products, purchasing farm supplies, agricultural credit, rural sanitation, communication, and recreation. [p. 70]


Source: Division of History, Government, and Economics 1914-15. Official Register of Harvard University, Vol. XI, No. 1, Part 14 (May 19, 1914).


Course Enrollment

[Economics] 32 2hf. Professor Carver.—Economics of Agriculture.

Total 22: 5 Graduates, 6 Seniors, 9 Juniors, 2 Others.

Source: Report of the President of Harvard College, 1914-15, p. 60.


 Final Examination


  1. Name the five most important crops in the United States, stating in each case the reasons why you consider them important. Name the chief areas of their production, describe the methods of cultivating them, and of combating their chief enemies.
  2. What are the chief areas of beef production in this country at the present time? What tendencies are showing themselves at the present time as to a territorial redistribution of the beef industry, and what are the reasons for these tendencies?
  3. Write a brief analysis of some important book which you have read in connection with this course or with your thesis.
  4. Give the main points in the report made by some member of this class, other than yourself, before the Class during this term.
  5. What are the essentials of coöperation, and what are the important distinctions between a coöperative society and a joint stock corporation, and the reasons for these distinctions?
  6. What is the difference between cooperative farming and coöperation among farmers? Which would you advocate and why?
  7. What would you say as to the probable source or sources of power for farm work in the United States during the next few decades? Give your reasons.
  8. It is commonly predicted that the United States will soon cease to be a wheat exporting country and become a wheat importing country. Do you think that this prediction is justified by existing tendencies? Why? Would it be a good or a bad indication if true? Why?


Source: Harvard University Examinations. Papers Set for Final Examinations in History, History of Science, Government, Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Social Ethics, Education, Fine Arts, Music in Harvard College. June 1915, pp. 58-59.

Image Source: Thomas Nixon Carver in Harvard Album, 1915.



Irwin Collier

Posted by: Irwin Collier