4-H History Preservation Newsletter
March 2016

March is Women’s History Month

In 1978, Sonoma County (CA) Council on Women established a US Women’s History Week, tied to March 8, International Women’s Day. In 1987 Congress established Women’s History Month. Fortunately for 4-H, women and girls make up great percentages of members, leaders and Extension educators. What special activities do you have planned to honor the women in your local 4-H program?

Two Notable 4-H Women

We feature two 4-H women who represent different dimensions of 4-H: Gertrude Warren was an early federal level pioneer of girls’ club work; 4-H member Martha Ann Miller was a champion baker who won a full scholarship to Purdue University at age 14.



Do you know what Hopalong Cassidy, Ann Landers, J. C. Penney, and Amelia Earhart have in common? Check it out in the expanding National 4-H Promotion Compendium.

Birds of Spring

From a 1919 article comes a variety of plans for bird houses, and ideas for care of birds in the Spring. Will those ideas work for your club or your community to bring history alive?

For Sale

Historical 4-H calendar art postcards are now on sale through the 4-H Mall; proceeds help restore and preserve the growing collection of original paintings used for the national 4-H calendar program from the late 40s to mid-90s.

To purchase your cards, please visit the 4-H Mall at http://bit.ly/4HPostcards

4-H in Popular TV

4-H became a central theme of “The Waltons,” a popular TV series, in a March, 1978, episode.


St. Patrick’s Day

Besides Women’s History Month, March is also the time we honor St. Patrick who was all about green and shamrocks. Pour a cup of green tea in his honor and to pay tribute to all the women of 4-H – and enjoy this issue.

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4-H Electrification Projects: Then and Now

Many of us take electricity for granted at home, at work, and at local stores and businesses. But that wasn’t the case seventy-five years ago, especially in rural areas. An article in the 1939 National 4-H News invited 4-H members to participate in the 4-H Rural Electrification Project. Members and clubs were “encouraged to study wiring plans, safety practices, and operation of electrical equipment.” Members were encouraged to complete activities to help them learn to make basic electrical repairs and additions at home and on the farm. Project records were submitted to compete for county medals, trips to National 4-H Congress, and $200 scholarships.

Early electrical club work even inspired a novel to be written. “Dynamo Farm” by Adam Allen, and published by J. B. Lippincott Company, NY in 1942 tells the story of a boy from the city who moves to a farm and learns to love being there because he gets involved in an electrification project in 4-H and saves the family poultry business.

Electricity is still an important 4-H project. Members learn the principles of electricity, circuits, magnetism and safety. These days, energy conservation is also emphasized.

You and your club members can learn about electricity like the 4-H members did in the 4-H Rural Electrification Project many years ago. A club member or guest speaker can do a demonstration or lead a club activity to learn about electricity. Club members can do a home energy audit and share their results at a future club meeting. Or you could try to find a copy of the novel mentioned above and share a report about it or act out some of the scenes for the club.

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