Historic 4-H Calendar Art on Display at National 4-H Conference

The 85th annual National 4-H Conference was recently held at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center in Washington, DC; Conference is the current rendition of National 4-H Camp, started in 1927 when it was held in tents on the Mall. Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack opened the Conference this year. Also featured this year was the first-ever assembled display of historic 4-H Calendar art: “Fifty Years of 4-H Calendar Art.”

The National 4-H Calendar Program was created on November 2, 1936, when Extension USDA, authorized the Thomas D. Murphy Company (Red Oak, Iowa) to use the 4-H name and emblem on calendars for sale to local sponsors. Th first commercial 4-H calendar was sold by the Murphy Company in 1938 for hanging in 1939. This may have been only a state-wide program which ceased with the beginning of World War II. After the war, four more companies joined the program.

Authorized sponsoring companies agreed to pay a 10% royalty on lthe sales of 4-H calendars for the development of the National 4-H Center. Between 1949 and 1959, $377,000 was made available for rebuilding and maintaining the 4-H Center in Washington, D.C. Those royalties continued to be paid annually until the calendar program was discontinued in the 1990s.

The Calendar Art Display, which was located just off the lobby of J.C. Penney Hall at the 4-H Center, included representative pieces of original calendar art, examples of actual calendars, and a history of the 4-H Calendar Art program.

A number of pieces of original calendar art are current unaccounted for; anyone knowing the location of any actual National 4-H wall calendars or original calendar art is asked to contact the History Team at: info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com

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