Activists hope a new discovery will put hemp back on the map as a versatile crop with a long and positive history in America. Several journals and books of photographs were discovered at a garage sale outside of Buffalo, New York. They were the painstakingly kept chronicles of Lyster H. Dewey – yet some are referring to them as the hemp diaries.
Dewey was a botanist who grew hemp for the U.S. Department of Agriculture – in a sense, Uncle Sam’s own hemp farmer – and his newly discovered diaries (which span 48 years – 1896 to 1944) shed light on the U.S. government’s association with hemp.
Through the diaries, hemp advocates have already learned that the plot of land, called Arlington Farms, where Dewey grew his hemp was sold to the War Department in the ‘40s for construction of the Pentagon. Yes, that means the Pentagon was built on, or right next to, government authorized hemp fields.
Dewey’s journals are the diaries of a proud grower who seemed to delight in the exotic hemp he cultivated. "Thursday, October 19, 1922. Fair, cool. Go to Arlington Farm on the 9 a.m. bus and work all day … Harvesting Kymington, Yarrow, Tochigi, Tochimington, Keijo and Chinamington hemp."
The photo above captures Dewey measuring his 13-foot-tall government hemp plants at Arlington Farm.
Hemp Industries Association bought the Dewey diaries. The group intends to display them during Hemp History Week (May 17-23) with the hope of educating the public on hemp’s role American history.
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