… and we’re back!

'The Bridge' Masthead

If you thought the 4-H History Preservation newsletter was history, you were wrong! It’s ABOUT history, but it, as a newsletter, is alive and well! Dorothy Emerson told us that it is the pause that refreshes, so we paused, got refreshed, and even gave our newsletter a new name: The BRIDGE!

Our name is explained in our new edition, now available through our 4-H History Preservation website at https://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/Newsletter and read on. It’s HISTORIC! 

Daylight Savings Time, Did you know?

US inventor and politician Benjamin Franklin first proposed the concept of DST in 1784, but modern Daylight Saving Time was first suggested in 1895. At that time, George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, presented a proposal for a 2-hour daylight saving shift.

Find out more about Daylight Savings Time at https://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/

And don’t forget, if you use Daylight Savings Time where you live, set your clocks ahead 1 hour before you go to bed on Saturday, March 12, 2021. 

2019 Fall Back!

TimeAndDate.comYep.  It’s that time again.  When anyone living somewhere that uses daylight saving time to adjust how life is lived. At 2:00AM on Sunday, November 3, 2019, Daylight Saving Time, or DST, comes to an end here in the United States for another year.

The idea behind Daylight Saving Time (DST) is to save energy and make better use of daylight. 

In the spring,clocks are set ahead one hour when DST starts. This means that the sunrise and sunset will be one hour later, on the clock, than the day before. When fall come around, DST ends andwe set our clocks back 1 hour, returning to ‘Standard Time’.  

The value of daylight saving time is a topic of debate around the world. Many places have done away with the practice, and many more are moving in that direction. Here in the United States, Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo Nation) does not observe DST and stays on standard time year-rund.

For more information on the history of Daylight Saving Time, please visit http://www.timeanddate.com

One more thing…

The Early Years of 4-H and Space

Although it perhaps started somewhat earlier, the decade of the 1960s produced a love affair between Americans and space exploration. And particularly the astronauts that were involved in the space program. It undoubtedly started with the space race between the US and the Soviet Union, and the launch of Sputnik by the USSR in 1957. Then came the bold challenge of President John F. Kennedy before a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth.” And then, on July 21, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, flying on Apollo 11, set foot on the surface of the moon. And as they say, “the rest is history.”

Indeed, 4-H got caught up in this whole astronaut and space era in a number of ways. But historically, space and flight show up in 4-H history long before the 1960s.

Delegates to the 1931 National 4-H Congress in Chicago (above) were inspired to get to meet a great national hero – the man who flew over both the North and South Poles – Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd.

One of the major guests attending the 1932 National 4-H Congress,  handing out awards and honoring the winners, was the famous aviatrix Amelia Earhart.

In 1933, Thomas E. Wilson brought a pair of aviators to National 4-H Congress who had become famous only the week before. Marine Major Chester Fordney and Navy LCDR T. G. “Tex” Settle made America’s first stratospheric balloon ascension on November 20, 1933, in a balloon that had a gondola brightly inscribed “A Century of Progress,” the theme of the 1933 World’s Fair. The balloon reached a height of 61,237 feet, a record that stood for many years. It was the first successful trip by man into the upper atmosphere. The pair proved to be popular guests at the 1933 National 4-H Club Congress which took place just a few days after their well-publicized trip into “space.”

Thomas E. Wilson introduces 4-H’ers (left) to the two first men in space (in uniform at right).

You can read more about how 4-H’ers in later years became involved in model rocketry in the 1960s and the 1985 4-H Television Series “Blue Sky Below My Feet” by visiting: https://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History/Space

HTTPS Comes to the 4-HHistoryPreservation Web Site

The 4-H History Preservation site at 4-HHistoryPreservation.com was switched over to use the HTTPS protocol effective April 12, 2018.

What does this mean? There are two primary ways to view information on a web site: HTTP and HTTPS. HTTP transfers information between your computer and the web host using clear text. By contrast, using HTTPS encrypts all communications. (The S in HTTPS stands for ‘Secure’.)

Oversimplified, using HTTP is like sitting at a table in a diner where you can hear the conversations of everyone around you… and they may well hear yours. In the online world, this means that someone, usually the bad guys, is able to listen in on your conversation and possibly hack in to it to steal information such as passwords and credit card information, track your movements on-line, etc.

With HTTPS, all communication between you and the web server are encrypted. If someone tries to listen in, all they see is garbage. This includes your service provider.

Aside from the above, some of the reasons for using HTTPS are:

Search engine rankings improve with HTTPS.
Google and other search engines are giving a higher rank to sites that use HTTPS.

Enhanced privacy.
When a web site uses HTTPS, no one, including your service provider, can see URLs and content in an unencrypted form. All they will see is garbage. Keep in mind, however, that the actual domain name is always transmitted in clear text. While this allows someone to see what sites you are visiting, they are unable to see any content.

Public trust is increased.
Using HTTPS shows that the site owner cares about you, your privacy and your information. Modern browsers are starting to highlight secure web sites in the address bar. For example, the Google Chrome browser places ‘Secure’ in green at the front of the site in the address bar.

Other sites within the 4-H History Preservation Program will be transitioned to HTTPS in the coming months. The only thing that you should notice as sites transition is possibly the manner in which your browser shows the site address.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

Country Living Features 100 Years of 4-H Memorabilia

The March 2018 issue of Country Living carries a great 4-color photo feature on 100 years of 4-H memorabilia. Written by Natalie Schumann and photographed by Brian Woodcock, the National 4-H History Preservation Program assisted with obtaining items to be included. The 4-page feature begins on page 20. Country Living is published by Hearst Communications and the magazine can usually be found in any magazine section of supermarkets, drug stores or similar outlets.

The 4-H feature includes excellent photos of ribbons, pins and medals, 4-H Club song books, pennants, old trophies, signs and banners, uniforms, books, manuals and much more.A brief narrative accompanies the photo feature.

Available on news stands now.

You may also read the article on their site at


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
January 2018

It’s a New Year . . .

… and because history is made every day, it’s the start of another historical era for 4-H. How many of your New Year’s resolutions have to do with 4-H? Setting new individual and group goals? Starting or continuing efforts to preserve your 4-H History?

A few of the highlights from this issue:

4-H Ham and Eggs

Two Georgia counties started a swine and poultry exhibition in 1916 to encourage black farmers to grow other crops besides cotton, primarily food products to improve income and nutrition. The show grew from 21 hams and less than 100 visitors in 1916 to 1,813 hams and 2,000 visitors in 1945.

How to Start?

Most often asked questions at the 4-H History booth at 2017’s NAE4-HA meeting centered on how to get started saving local and state 4-H history. Minnesota’s Vintage 4-H Club of retired Extension staff presented several guidelines, now available by contacting that group’s History Committee.

A good way to start the new year is to go over the history of 4-H in the two main history books that exist. Both books can be read or researched in part at http//:www.4-HHistoryPreservtion.com. The first is The 4-H Story, A History of 4-H Club Work, by Franklin M. Reck, 1971 326p, the second is 4-H: An American Idea 1900-1980, A History of 4-H, by Thomas Wessel and Marilyn Wessel, 1982 353p.

What is 4-H?

Different sources have different definitions. But most of the broad definitions are based on individual experiences and stories. One Pennsylvania 4-H Club decided to spread their individual experiences through a club newsletter, and you can do the same. What is your definition of 4-H?

4-H History Map is Growing

Over 200 historical sites were added to the National 4-H History Map during last year’s NAE4-HA conference. Ohio Extension Educators are adding even more in their state, so you can visit some of the sites on your way to or from the 2018 NAE4-HA meeting in Columbus.

4-H Congress History, Continued

Pageantry and fun were always part of 4-H Congress held in Chicago, but there was also a heavy emphasis on educational opportunities for the gathered state winners. Especially when donor representatives met together with 4-H members, topics of mutual interest were sorted out in sometimes heated discussion.

Monitor Your 4-H Resolutions

Let us know throughout the year how you are doing at info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com. We predict you’ll make more progress with those than with your usual diet and exercise resolutions! But while you’re on the treadmill at the gym, enjoy this issue.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

70 Years Ago in 4-H History: National 4-H Calendar Program Begins Calendars and Helps Build National 4-H Center

Calendars Helped Build National 4-H Center

The 4-H program enjoys a “national home” and focus of its citizenship education right outside of Washington, DC, the center of our country’s democracy. 4-H’ers themselves contributed money to this proposed center but, also, revenue from the National 4-H Calendar Program helped significantly to bring that dream to fruition.

1949 National 4-H Calendar produced by Brown & Bigelow Co.

Long ago, when calendars were first sold to local businesses for advertisement, 4-H was approached by national calendar companies to appear on calendars, and the six-decade National 4-H Calendar Program began. For use of the 4-H name and emblem, companies paid a 10% royalty on sales of 4-H calendars to be used for the development of the National 4-H Center. During the first decade, between 1949 and 1959, $377,000. was made available for the rebuilding and maintenance of the 4-H Center in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

The program was announced in 1947 with approval of the Committee on Organization and Policy of the Land-Grant Colleges and State directors of Extension (ECOP), to be conducted with the cooperation of the National Committee on Boys’ and Girls’ Club Work of Chicago. In addition to helping purchase and develop the National 4-H Club Center, the production of a calendar would:

  • Gain prestige for the 4-H movement;
  • Bring 4-H activities to the attention of the general public;
  • Increase membership through a widened knowledge of what 4-H Clubs do; and
  • Establish a royalty fund to assist in further development of the 4-H program.
1949 National 4-H Calendar by Thos.D. Murphy Co.

The earliest 4-H calendars were actually produced in the late 1930s and early 1940s by the Thos. D. Murphy company of Red Oak, Iowa. However, when calendars became more popular after the war, Brown & Bigelow company of St. Paul, Minnesota, was also approved to produce and sell 4-H calendars. However, the first national 4-H calendars didn’t appear in the public until 1949 because of the production, sales and shipping time required, including:

  • Year one – subject chosen and artist paints illustration for calendar;
  • Year two – calendar is advertised to local businesses across country, orders taken and requisite numbers of calendars printed and shipped to each buyer with their name on it; and
  • Year three – calendars are presented to local businesses who purchased the calendars as gifts to their customers.

The Brown & Bigelow 4-H calendars had a circulation of nearly a half million the first year and combined calendar sales exceeding a million and a half by the second year. The first year’s royalties were over $25,000.

In addition to Brown & Bigelow and the Murphy Company, other calendar companies joined the National 4-H Calendar Program producing different annual calendars in their respective print shops. Shaw-Barton, Inc., Coshocton, Ohio, was authorized to manufacture 4-H calendars on April 15, 1948; Gerlach-Barklow Co., Joliet, Illinois, authorized on July 23, 1946; Gettier-Montanye, Inc., Glyndon, Maryland, authorized on February 3, 1947; and Custom-Cal Co., Atlanta, Georgia, authorized on December 17, 1954.

You can learn more about the program and view all of the images that we have found in the updated website section at:


We are always looking for more images of these historic calendars, so if you have one or know someone who has one, please let us know at: Info@4hHistoryPreservation.com .

Next time you visit the National 4-H Conference Center, check the Heritage Hallway to see the original pieces of art; truly pieces of Americana. As you walk that Hallway, recall that those national 4-H calendars helped build the “national home” of 4-H.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

“Yes, Virginia, National 4-H Congress was Once Held in Chicago”

At a recent NAE4-HA conference two 4-H Extension agents were having a discussion. One was overheard posing a question to her colleague, “Did you know a 4-H Congress was once held in Chicago?”

For those of us old enough to have actually experienced one or more of the National 4-H Congresses in Chicago (which were actually held in that city for over 70 years), that comment would probably be a shock. But, then again, the last 4-H Congress in Chicago was 24 years ago. There may well be no need for a young Extension agent to know about these Chicago events.

Conrad Hilton Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, site of the National 4-H Congress for 75 years

But, yet, there is. National 4-H Congress in Chicago is a large part of national 4-H history. It was the premiere event on the annual 4-H calendar. It was the showcase for 4-H to the entire American population. It was the culmination of individual 4-H project achievement which extended from the club level to the awarding of scholarships in Chicago. Tens of thousands of 4-H’ers accomplished project work for six, seven, eight or more years with a goal of becoming a state winner and going to Chicago.

The history and the memories of National 4-H Congress in Chicago must be preserved. For over five years the National 4-H History Preservation team has been researching, documenting and writing this history… over 200 pages of history and still not complete! We will never be able to tell the whole story. It really cannot be done. Plus, much of the history, the records, the programs and the photos have been lost.

Guy Noble, director of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work (a predecessor to National 4-H Council), who conducted the first Armour tour of boys and girls in Chicago in 1919, and continued on with National 4-H Club Congresses for over 30 years, explained that National 4-H Club Congress cannot be described on paper. One has to be a part of it and “feel” it to fully comprehend it. Perhaps Noble was correct. Clayton Yeutter, U.S. Trade Representative and architect for NAFTA, and later U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, often remarked to audiences that every time he walked through those doors of the Chicago Hilton, chills of excitement ran down his spine remembering back to that first time he entered the Hilton’s lobby as a young Nebraska 4-H’er coming to 4-H Congress.

The Federal Extension Service Weekly Newsletter for December 10, 1970 began with a feature by Walter John, director of Information Services, FES, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Titled “4-H Congress Greatest Youth Happening in Today’s World,” John commented on the event upon his return to Washington, D.C. from Chicago. Referring to 4-H Congress, he explained, “It had just about everything that appeals to youth – serious discussion, entertainment, awards, good food, music, dancing and lots of public attention.” He went on to express his admiration for the tremendous interest and participation shown by the individual national and regional donors. “The National 4-H Congress is the epitome of success in joint action of government, education and industry in helping youth find its role in this world.”

The delegates to Club Congress were the top achievers in the National 4-H Awards programs, year after year. Many of them had worked untiringly for years to win their trip to Chicago. They had diligently assembled project record books which were judged by a national 4-H record judging committee. For many, if not most, their trip to Chicago to attend 4-H Congress was the crowning achievement of a 4-H career as a member. It was their goal. For those who received 4-H award scholarships while in Chicago, Club Congress had even more meaning. It often helped them to go to college and to choose a career. So what made 4-H Congress so very special? For many delegates it was a week of firsts. Some had never traveled on a train or airplane. Staying in the largest hotel in the world. Some had never ridden in an elevator… and the Conrad Hilton Hotel had an elevator lobby with at least 10 or 12 elevators… in the early days all manned by courteous elevator operators. For many, to sit down at an elegant banquet and be served by dozens of waiters in white coats and gloves, live music playing and face a place setting with china and crystal and six or eight pieces of silverware… definitely a new experience.

The history segment on National 4-H Congress-Chicago is near completion and will be in the National 4-H History section (at the bottom under 4-H Program Events) on the History Preservation website: http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/History_National.asp

Over the next several issues of the 4-H History Newsletter we will be featuring various aspects of this very important event in 4-H’s history… the one that was held in Chicago!

We welcome your comments at: Info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com

History Preservation Newsletter
October 2017

Thanksgiving is coming and there’s much to be thankful for:

The many strengths of 4-H, volunteer leaders sensitively guiding youth, the public/private partnership supporting the program, dedication of Extension Educators, enthusiastic members, and a rich, rich history.

Mulligan Stew is 45 Years Old

From the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s, 4-H programming used television, and the Mulligan Stew nutrition series was one of the most successful. Aimed at 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, it was embraced by TV stations, schools and Extension and reached some seven million kids

4-H Congress Started in Chicago

Thomas E. Wilson, President of Wilson & Co., invited some 4-H club boys to lunch in 1916. That event, though small, was the forerunner of what became the hugely successful celebration of youth achievement. Chicago welcomed the 4-H extravaganza for over 70 years.

Teachers, leaders and aids guided millions of youth, at school and in clubs, through a unique, nutrition learning-adventure with the help of six 4-H produced, fast-paced television programs and a comic book in the 1970s.

Centennial Clubs Over 100 Years Old

Several of the first 4-H clubs in some states are still flourishing, over 100 years later. It would be fun to research the history of your own club and perhaps nominate it for a place on the National 4-H History Map.

How Does Minnesota Do It?

Many people have asked how to start a 4-H History initiative in their state and here’s a suggestion from Minnesota. It starts with their “Vintage 4-H” group, and they’ve prepared an outline of what to look for as you put a program in place.

Santa Catarina Clubes 4-S Stage a Reunion

This is the third and final chapter in the story of Joe Thigpen, a 4-H Alum and Peace Corps volunteer who returned to Brazil after 50 years to find his host family and meet the “kids” he worked with in 4-S.

As You Prepare for Thanksgiving …

… whether or not you indulge in the traditional feasting, take a minute and remember the many things in 4-H for which we are thankful – especially its rich history – and enjoy this issue!

Enjoy this Issue!