[San Francisco]: Printed and Bound by Schwacher-Frey Stationery Co.
Hardcover. Good. Undated, ca. 1920. 144 pp, bound in blue cloth with mounted paper illustration showing Weeks and his successful poultry farm. A good copy, with boards rubbed, lightly soiled, and slightly bowed. More than just a book about poultry farming (though it certainly is that), this is the interesting tale of Charles Weeks' childhood on a farm in Indiana, life in Chicago and New York as a young adult, and--after an extensive search for the perfect location--his creation of an agricultural utopian comunity in East Palo Alto, California. He arrived in California in 1904 and purchased 10 acres in Los Altos. His plan for raising poultry there failed due to an indequate water supply. "In 1909, he relocated to a five-acre farm on the outskirts of Palo Alto…. His small farm was extremely successful, attracting visitors who came to study the "Weeks Poultry Method". One visitor was socialist utopian William E. Smythe, who promoted a vision of independently owned small farm communities. Residents of these communities would work together while sharing facilities, new technologies and marketing efforts. Charles Weeks adopted Smythe's utopian ideals and set about establishing his version of such a community. In 1916, he began purchasing agricultural land across San Francisquito Creek from his Palo Alto farm…. Weeks divided his tract into one acre and half-acre parcels, advertising the parcels with the slogan ‘one acre and independence,’ which was also the title of his book detailing his poultry method. He believed that 2,500 hens on one acre could yield $5,000 per year net and still leave room for fruit trees, berries and grape vines, as well as a small house…" (Source: Steve Staiger, Palo Alto Historical Society). Weeks called his new community Runnymede. He developed about 600 acres of land with fine soil, an abundant water supply, and easy access to markets in San Francisco. Although some of the parcels were purchased by real estate speculators, within five years Runnymede was home to about 250 families totaling 1200 people and was one of the largest poultry producers in the United States. This book lays out not only Weeks’ personal journey and promotes Runnymede, but also recounts the evolution of his methods of raising healthy and productive hens, and offers practical advice on a range of related topics.