Skip to content

Cows for Milk

 
 
“Eight Principal Types of Milch Cows” From American Agriculturist, October 1883
Courtesy of the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities
In the 1800s, people thought rich milk with high cream content provided better nutrition for good health. The brown Jersey and Guernsey cows gave creamier milk than the black-and-white Holsteins, which are more common today. The types of cows illustrated include: 1. Milking Short-horns; 2 and 4. Channel Island Cattle; 3. Ayrshires; 5. Friesian Cattle; 6. Red Polled Norfolks; 7. Swiss Cattle; and 8. Common Cows.
 
COWS FOR MILK
Rocky,worn-out New England farms in the second half of the nineteenth century had a difficult time competing with mid-western farms. New England cities burgeoning after the Civil War gave new life to nearby farmers who could provide perishables like milk, meat, fresh fruit, and vegetables. Still, making a profit came hard.
 

“Milk-farming is poor farming....The depreciation on the value of the cow herself, the time of men and horses, the wear and tear of wagons and harnesses, and the heavy losses on cans....The constant production and sale of milk is...nothing more or less than selling the farm itself, by the gallon or by the pound.

 
— HENRY C. ALVORD, “WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH MILK?”
ADDRESS BEFORE THE MASSACHUSETTS BOARD OF AGRICULTURE, 1882

 

Cows for Milk