Manuscripts and University Archives Assistant Erin Doyle is processing the papers of Elmer Towne, a UVM graduate who served as Vermont’s Commissioner of Agriculture from 1954 to 1963. A dairy farmer himself, Towne was a significant figure in establishing co-operatives within the industry. He also supported efforts to improve the taste and quality of milk produced in Vermont.
The role of commissioner brought Towne some unique opportunities for publicity. In 1956, he met Elsie, a “spokescow” from the Borden Company, and declared his appreciation for her contribution for the Vermont dairy industry, calling her a “Super Saleslady.” The Burlington Free Press may have put it mildly when describing the event as “an unusual ceremony…at the steps of the Capitol” (May 24, 1955).
Whereas, Elsie the Cow during her long public career has [won] a unique place in the hearts of all Americans and
Whereas, Elsie the Cow has in line of duty and in a greater measure than any other individual animal [extolled] the value and greater use of milk and dairy products and
Whereas, milk being a principal product of Vermont from our Vermont farms, and consequently the farmers benefitting materially from wider markets and
Whereas, Elsie the Cow has demonstrated her interest in the dairy industry of this great State by her visit to Vermont
Now therefore, I, Elmer E. Towne, Commissioner of Agriculture of the State of Vermont, hereby do express my appreciation to Elsie the Cow and proclaim her the dairy farmers' "Super Saleslady."
To learn more about agriculture in Vermont and see the Elmer Towne Papers, contact Silver Special Collections. Researchers can find information on topics like breeding, diseases and testing, foundations, state legislation, maple products, pricing, vocational education, and more.
Stay tuned to our social media feeds as we highlight Dairy Month this June with materials from our varied collections.