Letter from Oliver V. Borden of Auburn, Nebraska to REA of Syracuse, Nebraska, March 8, 1940
The Rural Electrification Administration (REA) office in Nebraska forwarded to Senator George W. Norris this copy of a letter from a grateful farmer. The farmer offers Senator Norris “a thousand thanks” for promoting electricity “where it was so much needed” and reports that he now has a washing machine, radio, power tools and electric barn lights.
Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
Power to the Plains
To bring electricity to America’s farmlands, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) by executive order in 1935. Nebraska Senator George W. Norris and Representative Sam Rayburn of Texas sponsored its congressional authorization in 1936. The REA provided low-interest loans to farmers’ cooperatives to electrify areas not served by utility companies, thereby extending modern conveniences to the nation’s rural population and increasing the efficiency of its farms. Active until 1994, the REA was one of the greatest achievements of the New Deal era.