The Resource Oral history interview with Nelson T. Wetsel, interviewed by David James Rennyson, (sound recording)

Oral history interview with Nelson T. Wetsel, interviewed by David James Rennyson, (sound recording)

Oral history interview with Nelson T. Wetsel
Oral history interview with Nelson T. Wetsel
Statement of responsibility
interviewed by David James Rennyson
  • Records the reminisces and viewpoints of Nelson Wetsel, former president, now consultant for the Wetsel Seed Company, recently bought out by Southern States. Includes a brief history of the company, which began as a family-owned business in 1911 and now employs close to 200 workers. Discusses the development/diversification of the firm over the years from primarily a local (Shenandoah Valley) seed business to a multi-state, etc. wholesale distributor of lawn and garden supplies, and supplier for the professional grower (greenhouses, nurseries) and turf grass industry. Gives biographical information about various family members, their contributions, and the general sense of what it was like to be part of a family-owned business (the company's policies, philosophy, employees). Reflects on recent developments with the Southern States association; gives views on the future
  • (cont.) More specifically, discusses the following: diversity of products (including grass seeds such as varieties of bluegrass, orchard grass; lawn/indoor and outdoor garden/professional grower supplies such as fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, gardening tools, soils, containers; supplies specifically for greenhouses/nurseries, such as cuttings and rooted plugs; hydroseed turf industry). Describes various aspects/percentage of business trade and market: primarily wholesale/distributor; some middleman relations; retailer; associations with dealers and growers. Discusses Harrisonburg and Waynesboro stores; also warehouse branches
  • (cont.) Discusses various aspects of business management including: direct mail and other forms of advertisement (5 different types of catalogs, the Seed News, WESCO trade logo); development of a distribution system with delivery schedule calendars, truck delivery service and warehouses in various locations such as the Eastern shore; acquisition of numerous buildings; bookkeeping/accounting aspects, internal organization; employee/employer relations including hiring practices, women employees, salesmen; public relations with vendors/growers/agricultural colleges, trade fairs/shows; also community relations such as with James Madison University. Discusses changes in technology and its influence on the company, competitors, and outside influences of Southern States on organization structure, etc
  • (cont.) Talks about the family philosophy of hard work, integrity, service; mentions numerous family members and their contributions, including: Daniel M., Arnold W., Earl H., Robert E., Thomas, and Jeff Wetsel. Also mentions Wampler family associations
Accompanying matter
  • bibliography
  • biography of composer or author
  • historical information
  • other
Cataloging source
Date time place
Recorded at the Wetsel Seed Co., Inc. home office, Wesco Drive, Harrisonburg, Va. on Jan. 24, 1990
Form of composition
not applicable
Format of music
not applicable
Literary text for sound recordings
Series statement
James Madison University sound archives
Series volume
no. 1-2a - 1-2c.
Oral history interview with Nelson T. Wetsel, interviewed by David James Rennyson, (sound recording)
  • Complete transcription of tapes available
  • Letters to interviewee, interview guide (4 leaves), interview setting summary and index also available with tapes and full transcription
  • Forms part of the Wetsel Seed Co., Inc., an oral history project. For more information, see another interview conducted by David James Rennyson: Oral history interview [sound recording] / Maxine Thomas (OCLC record 25706293)
Accompanying material
1 transcription (28 leaves ; 28 cm.)
Configuration of playback channels
Control code
1/8 in.
3 7/8 x 2 1/2 in.
3 sound cassettes (150 min.)
Groove width / pitch
not applicable
Other physical details
1 7/8 ips
Specific material designation
sound cassette
1 7/8 ips (tapes)
Tape configuration
quarter 4 track
Tape width
1/8 in.




Library Locations

    • Special Collections Research CenterBorrow it
      Carrier Library Second Floor Room 203, MSC 1704, 880 Madison Drive, Harrisonburg, VA, 22807, US
      38.438299 -78.8741916
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