campus history header
Special Collections Home > Collections > University Archives
 

Kellogg: A Man Who Loved his Country

by Randy Hammer
English 105
Dr. Sharp
March 3, 1982

When his name is mentioned, the first thought that usually crosses one's mind is cornflakes. When asked for a second opinion, most people usually respond by saying, "California Polytechnic University at Pomona," "a man owning a large corporation with much money" or "Arabian horses". In view of these accomplishments W.K. Kellogg is known for, Will Keith Kellogg (1961 - 1950)there was another side of him that was much different from the business tycoon he was. One of W.K. Kellogg's less well-known endeavors was his support of the U.S. Government during World War II.

W.K. Kellogg came out to California from Battle Creek, Michigan in November of 1924 in search of acreage on which he could build an Arabian horse ranch. He finally settled down in "the heart of the greatest food producing belt of Southern California" which was appropriately named "Pomona" for the Roman goddess of fruit trees. [1] During the lapse of time from 1924 to 1932, pure bred Arabians (many originating from the stables of Lady Wentworth in England and from Saudi, Egyptian and Polish stock) [2] were bought by Kellogg in order to preserve the breed in America. [3] In 1932, Kellogg decided to give his ranch to the University of California along with an endowment of $600,000 for educational purposes. [4] His hopes were that the ranch would be kept "in perpetuity," but, unfortunately, this proved not to be true--at least for the time being. [5] When the University took control of the ranch, business continued as usual. Celebrities continued to come to the ranch to have their pictures taken with the famous Arabians, more horses were bought and more foals were born, and the tradition of the Sunday shows on the ranch continued [6] until that fateful day when the U.S. Army took control of the ranch.

Mr. Kellogg soon began to dislike the way the University was handling the ranch. "...The University people," Kellogg once said, "have never shown any special interest in anything but this fund [the $600,000 endowment]." [7] W.K. Kellogg was correct in making this statement in 1941. Not until 1948 was it revealed that the University of California:

 

...did not operate the ranch according to the expectations they had led Mr. Kellogg to believe that they would, and the University further attempted to abrogate the trust by trying very viorously (sic) to induce Mr. Kellogg to agree to a plan that would allow the University to use funds from the six hundred thousand dollar sustaining grant to operate the ranch, for other purposes than the ranch. [8]

Mr Kellogg was a generous man who wanted to help the Country as much as possible. From the time of the Spanish-American War through World War I, W.K. Kellogg was very eager to help in the effort, but for one reason or another, was not able to do so. [9] When World War II began in Europe, Kellogg started to give some serious thought about transferring the deed of the ranch from the University of California to the U.S. Government in order to support The War. [10] In a letter to Mr. Harris (a close associate of Kellogg's), Kellogg wrote that he wished "the whole proposition at Pomona could be turned over to the Government as a nucleus for the Arab stud." [11] This proposition was concerned with the donation of Kellogg's Arabian horse ranch along with selected horses that were "the best and not the poorest for the purpose;" [12] which was to aid the cavalry unit during World War II.

Kellogg had several reasons for wanting to turn the ranch over to the Government: Many were subconscious and never will be known, and there were others that were brought out by his character. Norman Williamson, Kellogg's grandson, says that because relations with the University of California were unfavorable, it gave Kellogg a good reason to move the deed of the ranch to the Army in view of his extreme patriotism. [13] Another reason was Kellogg's "uneasiness over too many luxuries" during the time of war. He claimed it was "sinful" for him to have these extras that other people did not have.[14]

William Keith Kellogg was very determined to gain governmental interest in the proposal. Though he knew others might think it was too big of a project,[15] he himself would "leave no stone unturned to put over this Arabian Army proposition." [16] During the course of that year, 1941, Kellogg and Mr. Harris corresponded quite frequently. In these letters they spoke of Kellogg's health, [17] money matters, [18] and Kellogg's trip to Chicago; [19] but more importantly they discussed the future prospects of the donation of the Ranch and expressed their feelings about it: as Kellogg wrote in one letter, "I entertain hopes that the Government will sometime have the Pomona Arabian Horse Ranch in charge." [20]

Later, on January 31, 1943, Kellogg wrote to Mr. Harris again and said that he was "still hoping, perhaps against hope, that the Arabian horse project will sometime be turned over to the Government." [21] This hope "against hope" soon matured into long and exasperating negotiations with the University of California to relinquish their rights over the ranch and to come to some sort of an agreement. The main issue of the negotiations was concerned with the funds that Kellogg had originally set up with the University. Kellogg, being all for the war, naturally wanted the funds to be used to "help win the war." But the University had plans to make use of it in a more panoramic manner. [22]

As negotiations continued, Kellogg began thinking about the fifty acres he had reserved for himself upon the donation of the ranch to the University of California. After considerable thought, Kellogg decided to include these fifty acres, which included his mansion (he had more than one home), a guest house, a one-car garage plus a grove of citrus and avocado trees, [23] to the U.S. Army. The additional value of the property that Kellogg had added to the proposal was then valued at $618,906.83. [24]

As Mr. Kellogg grew tired of the long negotiations, he confided to Mr. Harris that it would be "'quite agreeable' with him if the Government would condemn the ranch as a means to acquire it." [25] Fortunately, it did not have to come to such drastic measures. In the final deliberation between Kellogg and the University, Kellogg had hoped to divide the remainder of the trust fund ($425,000) between them; [26] but he then realized that there was no hope in retaining any part of it. [27] The only way the University was going to give in to Mr. Kellogg's proposal was if they could make use of the "entire" trust fund. [28] Mr. Kellogg began to think again about the University's terms. He then came to reason that his hope of the ranch being kept "in perpetuity" could still be fathomed: The U.S. Army would have control of the ranch instead of the University. Upon being convinced of this fact, he agreed to the terms of the University of California and released the remainder of the funds. [29]

Kellogg's agreement to the University's terms was the first visible step toward the fulfillment of his hope. On March 15 1943, a favorable step towards that ultimate goal was put into action when the University Board of regents acted benevolently in reference to Kellogg's proposal. The Army was then given the option to purchase the ranch [30] for the sum of one dollar--the Army refused to accept the ranch as a donation and made it a requirement that they purchase it. [31] In a letter dated June 10, 1943 which W.K. Kellogg wrote to Mr W.H. Vanderploeg (president of the Kellogg Company) and Dr. Emory W. Morris (of the Kellogg Foundation), Kellogg stated:

 

I have word from Professor Howell of California, also from Mr. H.H. Reese and Mr. Peterkin, to the effect that the Arabian Horse Ranch is being taken over by the Remount Service July 1st. It begins to look as though our fond hopes of many years past are to be realized." [32]

At the time, the United States had been at war for two years. [33] The bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war on Japan and by Germany and Italy in 1941 "reordered priorities for all Americans." [34] Consequently, the "red tape" slowed down, but did not come to a halt by any means. The Army accepted Kellogg's proposal and turned the ranch into their headquarters for their western remount area. [35] The ranch, consisting of 750 acres [36], was to be named the W.K. Kellogg Quartermaster Depot in honor of W.K. Kellogg. [37] On October 28, 1943, the U.S. Army officially took control of the Arabian horse ranch. [38]

During the five years the Army had control of the ranch, public exhibitions of the Arabians came practically to a stand-still and barely existed at all. The only parades or shows that the Arabians appeared in were during the Los Angeles Armistice Day Parade. [39]

At the end of those five years, the U.S. Government "suddenly" declared the ranch as "surplus." Again it seemed that Kellogg's hope of keeping the ranch "in perpetuity" was doomed. Expressing his feelings, Kellogg had said he was "greatly hurt that the government would do this thing." He later added, :They didn't even bother to tell me about it." [40] After the release of this information, the Government was eager to start accepting bids for the ranch and the animals which it contained.

The president of California Polytechnic College at San Luis Obispo, Dr. Julian McPhee, heard about the available land and was quick to act upon it. Cal Poly already had a campus in Southern California: the "San Dimas branch" which was founded by Charles B. Voorhis as a school for "under-privileged boys." This school offered a minimal number of courses and was only a short distance from the Kellogg ranch. Because of the location of the ranch and Cal Poly's emphasis on "learning-by-doing" along with its "upside down" educational philosophies (referring to putting field experience early in the curriculum) acquiring the ranch was an excellent way to extend the Cal Poly campus. In 1938 the additional land that was acquisitioned by the State of California became known as the "Voorhis Unit of Cal Poly." [41] The transition period from the Army to California Polytechnic University was not as smooth as it may seem. Horse lovers all across America were outraged when they found out that the Army was selecting the best of the Arabians to sell at the highest bid. President Truman was in the middle of a long succession of pleas from breeders and educators of horses for a delay. [42] "Their appeal was bolstered by hundreds of wires and letters from other horsemen and horsemen's organizations throughout the nation." [43] General C.L. Scott, who organized the Army Remount Service, made this bold statement:

 

We must keep our Arabian breeding stock together...The Arabian horse deserves a place all its own, and the natural place is Pomona, where the breed first received its proper recognition in America. [44]

Unfortunately, to the dismay of the horse lovers, the Government in effect said "it couldn't be bothered with sentiment"--the ranch would be "discontinued." [45]

On July 1, 1949 Cal Poly was assured that it would receive the ranch, but it took a few more months before the College actually gained control of it. Much paper work had to be completed in which Mr. Kellogg learned that the deed to the ranch had to be passed around to five different executives. As November approached, so did the completion of the "red tape." On November 1, 1949, Cal Poly officially took over the ranch as part of the college. On December 14, the title of the ranch changed to "California State Polytechnic College/Kellogg Unit." [46]

Under the new control, old traditions were resumed and the public's eye was once more focused on the Arabian as a show horse. Because the new year was just a few weeks away, the first tradition to be rejuvenated was the participation of the Arabian horses in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. [47] As one author said: "To Southern Californians, the strongest outward sign of the return of stability to the Kellogg Ranch was the resumption of the Sunday shows during 1950...." [48]

It has been fifty-seven years since Kellogg originally came out to California from Battle Creek, Michigan. W.K. Kellogg died in 1951 at the age of 91. [49] His life has ceased to exist, but his dream lives on. His dream was to aid the war effort in any way possible and to preserve the Arabian breed in America. He succeeded at both. He preserved the breed by helping California attain twice as many Arabians as any other state. [50] William Keith Kellogg generously gave support to the Government during World War II . In fact, Kellogg was so generous that he gave the armed forces every piece of property he owned, except his home in Palm Springs, California (which would have left him homeless if he had), to be used for the war effort. [51] Kellogg "sincerely believed everyone owed a patriotic duty to the country." [52]

W.K. Kellogg was an exceptionally patriotic man: described as "truly dedicated to the war effort." [53] He was also a man who cared for others. His generosity, during the war and after, can be accounted for in the words spoken by Dr. Stocking a few weeks after Kellogg's death:

 

The passing of Mr. Kellogg came as a blow to the college and to everyone here at the Kellogg Unit. Certainly mankind has lost a wonderful friend and benefactor, but through his keen insight and love, the many wonderful missions which he instituted will continue to lend a hand wherever and whenever he is needed. [54]

Footnotes

[1] Mary Jane Parkinson, The Kellogg Arabian Ranch: The First Fifty Years (Arabian Horse Association of Southern California, 1975), p. 7. Back

[2] Conrad Casler, "History Gallops by at Cal Poly," Progress Bulletin, March 5, 1978, p.1. Back

[3] "Kellogg Ranch Given to Army," Battle Creek Enquirer, June 1, 1942. Back

[4] Casler. Back

[5] Aaron Dudley, "Fight for the Kellogg Arabians," Western Horseman Magazine, February, 1949, p. 7. Back

[6] Parkinson, p. 195. Back

[7] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, August 1, 1941. Back

[8] U.S. Government, "Proposal for Future Operations of Kellogg Ranch," 1948. Back

[9] Personal interview with Norman Williamson, February 24, 1982. Back

[10] Casler. Back

[11] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, July 26, 1941. Back

[12] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, July 26, 1941. Back

[13] Personal interview with Norman Williamson, February 24, 1982. Back

[14] Horace B. Powell, The Original has this Signature: W.K. Kellogg (Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1956), p. 246. Back

[15] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, August 1, 1941. Back

[16] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, November 14, 1941. Back

[17] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, July 26, 1941. Back

[18] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, August 1, 1941. Back

[19] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, October 8, 1941. Back

[20] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, August 1, 1941. Back

[21] Parkinson, p. 261. Back

[22] Parkinson, p. 258. Back

[23] U.S. Government, "Memo to Colonel Hamilton," June 29, 1943. Back

[24] Parkinson, p. 263. Back

[25] Parkinson, p. 258. Back

[26] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, July 26, 1941. Back

[27] Parkinson, pp. 261-62. Back

[28] W.K. Kellogg, letter to Mr. A.W. Harris, October 8, 1941. Back

[29] U.S. Government, "Proposal for Future Operations of Kellogg Ranch," 1948. Back

[30] Parkinson, p. 261. Back

[31] Parkinson, p. 263. Back

[32] W.K. Kellogg, Letter to Mr. W.H. Vanderpoeg and Dr. Emory W. Morris, June 10, 1943. Back

[33] Casler. Back

[34] Parkinson, p. 254. Back

[35] "Kellogg Ranch." Back

[36] "Kellogg Ranch." Back

[37] Casler. Back

[38] Parkinson, p. 263. Back

[39] Parkinson, p. 266. Back

[40] Dudley, p. 7. Back

[41] Parkinson, p. 327. Back

[42] Dudley, p. 7. Back

[43] Dudley, p. 7, 30. Back

[44] Dudley, p. 30. Back

[45] Dudley, p. 7. Back

[46] Parkinson, p. 333. Back

[47] Parkinson, p. 335. Back

[48] Parkinson, p. 334. Back

[49] Parkinson, p. 346. Back

[50] Personal interview with Norm Dunn, Director of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, Pomona, California, January 19, 1982. Back

[51] Personal interview, Norman Williamson. Back

[52] Personal interview, Norman Williamson. Back

[53] Personal interview, Norman Williamson. Back

[54] Parkinson, p. 349. Back

Bibliography

Casler, Conrad. "History Gallops by at Cal Poly." Progress Bulletin, March 5, 1978, p.1.

Dudley, Aaron. "Fight for the Kellogg Arabians." Western Horse Magazine, Febrary, 1949, pp. 7, 30, 31.

Dunn, Norm. Director of the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center, Pomona, California. Personal, interview, January 19, 1982.

"Kellogg Ranch Given to Army." Battle Creek Enquirer, June 1, 1942.

Kellogg, W.K. Letters to Mr. A.W. Harris, 26 July 1941, 1 August 1941, 8 October 1941, 14 November 1941.

Kellog, W.K. Letter to Mr. W.H. Vanderpoeg and Dr. Emory W. Morris, June 10, 1943.

Parkinson, Mary Jane. The Kellogg Arabian Ranch: The First Fifty Years. Arabian Horse Association of Southern California, 1975.

Powell, Horace B. The Original has this Signature: W.K. Kellogg. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1956.

U.S. Government, "Memo to Colonel Hamilton." June 29, 1943, Library, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

U.S. Government, "Proposal for Future Operation of Kellogg Ranch." 1948, Library, California State Polytechnic University at Pomona.

 
     
     
 

University Library Special Collections
Bldg 15 room 4434 •  909-869-2087 • kaerickson@csupomona.edu