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Charles S. Noble fonds

1886-1986, predominant 1912-1969

Physical Description:
2.67 m of textual records. -- 149 photographs. -- 7 film reels. -- 2 audio cassettes

Charles Sherwood Noble, 1873-1957, was born in Iowa, USA and homesteaded in North Dakota. He came to Alberta in 1903 and married Margaret Fraser, 1872-1955, a school teacher. They had three children, Shirley F., 1906-1994, Alleen (Reich) and Gerald C. In 1908 Charles bought land northwest of Lethbridge, where the village of Nobleford was subsequently established. In 1913 the Noble Foundation was incorporated to operate his holdings, which quickly grew to 10,000 acres (4000 hectares). The Foundation took over the 20,000 acre (8000 hectare) Cameron Ranch in 1918 but due to dry weather and a disastrous drop in wheat prices the Noble estate, worth $2.5 million, was foreclosed in 1922. Charles again acquired land and in 1930 Noble Farms, operated jointly with his sons Shirley and Gerald, was incorporated. Charles was always concerned with the problems of dry land farming, and is best known for inventing the Nobel Blade, a cultivator which cuts off roots below ground, leaving the soil-holding "trash" intact on the surface. He built, tested and began producing the cultivators in the farm shop in 1936. Noble Farms Ltd. became Noble Cultivators Ltd. in 1940, and a manufacturing shop was set up in Nobleford. Noble Cultivators was bought out by Versatile in the early 1980s. Charles was inducted into the Alberta Agriculture Hall of Fame in 1951. In 2002 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada designated Noble as a National Historic Person.For further information see Charles Noble, Guardian of the Soil / Grant MacEwan. - Saskatoon : Western Producer Prairie Books, 1983; and Dr. Charles Sherwood Noble : Alberta's Most Famous Farmer-investor / Georgia Green Fooks. -- Lethbridge : Sir Alexander Galt Museum, 1995.

Scope and Content:
The fonds consists of biographical, personal and family papers (1886-1982); records about the establishment and promotion of the Noble Foundation (1912-1921); material compiled in 1957 by Glenbow staff member O.S. Longman about the Noble Foundation, Cameron Ranch, Sir Roderick W. Cameron, etc.(1913-1957); Noble Farms records including correspondence about farming operations, and the development, manufacture, patenting and marketing of the Noble Cultivator ((1933-1940); Noble Cultivators Ltd. patent records, promotional literature, patent infringement correspondence, financial ledgers, employee timesheets, and films (directed by Carly Stewart) featuring Noble agricultural implements (1937-1986). Includes extensive photographs of agricultural activities on the Cameron Ranch and Grandview Farm, the farm implements factory, family members, and Nobleford (aerial views).
RECORDS RELATED TO THE FOLLOWING SUBJECTS ARE ALSO IN THIS FONDS. SEE INVENTORY FOR DETAILS: agricultural machinery, Alberta Pacific Grain Company, Sir Roderick W. Cameron, Annie Delameter, George W. Gareau, Robert Gratz, R.J. Hutchings, John Deere Plow Company, Johnson Farm Machine Company (Barons), Ralph Kooy, Lethbridge Iron Works, Matthews Manufacturing Co. (Red Deer), Oscar A. Olson, Perfection Machine Works (Calgary), Riverside Iron Works (Calgary), Ralph and Daisy Vennum, and Victory Equipment Company (Lethbridge).

Source of Acquisition:
Gifts of Lillian Noble, Alleen Reich, Shirley Noble, Gerald Noble, Carly Stewart, Mervin J. Nelson, Versatile-Noble Cultivators Ltd., Ruth Woolsey estate and Western Stock Growers' Association, 1956-1993.

The material is in English.

No restrictions on access.

Finding Aids:
Inventory available. Please consult before requesting material.

View finding aid / scanned documents:

Another interview with Shirley Noble is held by the Provincial Archives of Alberta.

Call Numbers:
(M=manuscript; N&P=photos; R=sound recordings; S=slides; F=films)
M-2427, M-2428, M-2429, M-3741, M-6334, M-7033, M-7198, M-7242, M-7697, PA-104, PA-1273, PA-1628, PA-2664, NA-41, NA-57, NA-2321, NA-4444, NA-4884, RCT-432, RCT-449, F-124

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