Improving Your Dairy Herd – Hood Farms (circa 1905)

Charles Hood was born in Vermont in 1845, where he grew up to work in his father’s apothecary shop.

In early adulthood, Charles Hood moved to Lowell, Massachusetts -the thriving city of mills – to become an apprentice in a drug store there.

He later worked as a prescription clerk for a large drugstore in Boston where he learned the new business of mail-orders.

Returning to Lowell, Charles opened his own drugstore.  His landlord was a successful manufacturer of patent medicines and sarsaparilla.

Hood quickly formed a “laboratory” to manufacture his own brand of patent medicines.  The C.I. Hood Company opened in 1872.

Hood’s talent for advertising and mail-order delivery made him a wealthy man.

Hood began buying up farm properties along the Merrimack River to pursue his interest in dairy farming.

At the 1893 Columbia Exhibition in Chicago, Hood purchased prize-winning Jersey cows and set out to become the nation’s leading breeder of champion Jersey cows.

(His cows won awards at the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904.)

Hood adopted the same strategies of direct-mail advertising, newsletter subscriptions, sales catalogues, and mail order fulfillment that he used for his patent medicines.

What began as a hobby became a large enterprise that met the growing interest of farmers and dairymen to increase milk production through herd development.

Hood was considered to have single-handedly improved the Jersey breed in the US.

Hood died in 1922 and his businesses did not long survive him.

Some of his farmland was later acquired by a group of Franciscan friars from Boston.

If you were a dairy farmer in the early twentieth century, you are likely to have seen one of these promotional postcards.

This one was not addressed.


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