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// 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 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 . . .

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!

History Preservation Newsletter
October 2017

70 Years of Congress in Chicago

The premier 4-H program almost every fall since 1922 started in Chicago and stayed there for 70 years before moving south. Some will recall the glamour, mystique and exhilaration of those early years.

4-S Peace Corps 50-Year Reunion

Part two of this reunion story brings 4-H alum Joe Thigpen back to his Peace Corps family and 4-S clubs in Santa Catarina, Brazil. Connections are strong and memories are fondly rekindled.

So Goes Maine

Another in our series of how various states are using or celebrating 4-H History in their programs. Maine has initiated a blog highlighting various historic 4-H topics.

4-H in 2027

We celebrated the 4-H Centennial in 2002 and in 2027 4-H will be 125 years old. It’s not too early to start thinking about how we want to tell the 4-H story. Start making plans and share your ideas.

The Sound of 4-H Music

Songs have long been a tradition in 4-H and two of the most traditional songs were introduced at the 1927 National 4-H Camp (now Conference) on the Washington, DC Mall. Can you name them?

4-H Congress, Then and Now

State winners to National 4-H Congress pose in front of the 4-H Headquarters in Chicago in 1929. Youth and adult planning group for the 2016 4-H Congress in Atlanta.

Autumn Colors Paint the Countryside…

… And maybe you’re near a source of freshly-pressed apple cider. If so, grab a glass of the refreshing nectar and enjoy this issue.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
August/September 2017

National 4-H Week

What started in 1926 was later modified in 1942 and again in 1945; in all iterations, it showcased the work and achievements of 4-H members nationwide. This year, it’s October 1-7. Do you know what other years 4-H Week was modified?

4-H Poppy Seeds for WWI Memorial

Your club can sell poppy seeds to help raise money for the planned World War I Memorial in DC and support their own local activities.

GIS War on Adult Obesity

Tennessee 4-H’ers reached 16,000 people from 150 countries with a demonstration of how to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map community health care issues leading to obesity.

Does your Club have a 4-H Charter?

Starting in 1919, USDA issued Club Charters to “official” 4-H Clubs. Some are real treasures and the practice continues today.

50 Year 4-H PC Reunion

A 4-H alum returns after 50 years to Santa Catarina, Brazil, to check the status of his family and the 4-S clubs he started as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Calendars Helped Finance National 4-H Center

Do you have an old 4-H calendar in your attic? We’d like to see it. National 4-H calendars, a program which began in 1949, and ran for six decades, helped build and maintain the National 4-H Center.

We hope you enjoy this issue.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
July 2017

“Riding it Forward”

Joe Ostaszewski, Biggest Loser Finalist and Florida State footballer bicycled 2,972 miles to take the 4-H Health Pledge; a big boost for 4-H members!

A History Mystery Solved

Faced with only a photo, a History Team member uncovered a 4-H Stock Show romance and more from the 1929 International Livestock Exposition. Do you have a “History Mystery” photo you can research?

J. C Penney was a long-time enthusiast of the 4-H Program. As early as 1929 he purchased the Grand Campion Steer, owned by a 4-H’er at the International Livestock Exposition in Chicago.

95 Years Ago . . .

4-H awarded the nation’s Healthiest Boy and Healthiest Girl. Though those awards are no longer given, the diet and lifestyle of former winners are definitely worth replicating.

65 Years Ago . . .

The US Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp to recognize the 50th anniversary of the beginning of 4-H. The collector’s item honors a significant milestone in 4-H History.

Letters to the Editor

A new feature. A 1957 IFYE Alumna shares the inspiration she received from Kathleen Flom, long-time 4-H international staff member. We’d also love to hear from you!

We hope you enjoy this issue.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
May-June 2017

400,000 Website Visits!

After 10 years of the 4-H History Team existence, and six years of counting website visitors, your 4-H History website has received over 400,000 visits worldwide. Thanks for your support.

4-H WWI Support

As patriotism swept the country, 4-H members joined the war effort enthusiastically. With slogans like “Back up the Cannon with the Canner,” the government promoted conservation and food preservation.

Camp Vail Trained Youth for War Effort

In 1917, the Theodore N. Vail School of Agriculture started training non-farm youth to meet the critical farm labor shortage due to the war. Camp Vail, later a part of the Eastern States Exposition, was seen as “a means to show the public the value of club work.”

National 4-H Camp, Hits a Milestone

Ninety years ago this month the first 4-H Members pitched their tents on the Washington Mall to learn, share and make their presence known in the Nation’s Capital.

Delegates and chaperones meet National 4-H Staff as they arrive at one of the early National camps in Washington DC.

“Son of a Southern Chef” wins TV Cook-off to Gift 4-H

Lazarus Lynch, a multimedia personality and chef beat out 15 other celebrity chefs to win a substantial financial gift for 4-H. The TV cooking show “Chopped” sponsored the competition. Google his name!

First Lady Lou Hoover Addressed 4-H

In a 1929 radio broadcast during National 4-H Camp on the DC Mall, Mrs. Hoover asked 4-H clubs to “be of service to their communities.” Continuing her interest in gender equality, Mrs. Hoover stressed that boys had an equal responsibility in homemaking.

We Ask Your Help – Again

You are the most important resource in preserving 4-H History and we rely on your kind assistance to help accomplish our goals. This time, we’re looking for a copy of the 1953 national 4-H poster; the original was painted by W. C. Griffith who painted 18 4-H posters and 16 national 4-H calendars.


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
April 2017

In 1969 National 4-H Week launched a year of Learning to Serve. Learning to Serve through 4-H is older than the pledge itself. This month our newsletter explores 4-H Service at several junctures in 4-H History. If you’re interested in seeing other vintage 4-H Posters you can view them at:

4-H Service in World War I

Members and Leaders joined the national movement to support of the war effort: raising and preserving food, recycling clothing, raising money for special support projects.

National 4-H Day of Service

April 2017 has been dedicated as a month to celebrate community service and service-learning throughout 4-H. The month of celebration will culminate with a National 4-H Day of Service on Saturday, April 29. 4-H’ers will undertake club, community and state service projects as part of the “True Leaders in Service” initiative in honor of National Volunteer Appreciation Month.

Contemporary 4-H History: A Health Summit

250 4-H’ers recently met at the to analyze data about the health of their communities. The 4-H Geospatial Leadership Team helped others access the data and interpret the findings, comparing the health of their communities with that of others in the state, and pinpointing gaps in health care.

“4-H History 101” Aims to Launch this Fall

A new online course is being developed by the 4-H History Preservation Leadership Team to help orient new staff about the philosophical base of 4-H. It includes a working definition of the public/private partnership which undergird the program at local, state and national levels. If you’d like to help write or serve as a reviewer, write to


How Old is the 4-H Flag?

We know the National 4-H Supply Service (4-H Mall) marketed 4-H flags in 1925, the year it started. Do you know of any 4-H flag older than that? Let us know.

4-H in Space: Then and Now

An Indiana 4-H’er designed a scientific experiment with chicken embryos to be carried into space on the 1986 Challenger mission, but it was lost in the explosion. Redesigned, “Chix in Space” went up in 1989 and was the forerunner of continuing worldwide embryonic research in space by NASA. And this week, 4-H alumna Peggy Whitson sets new records as commander of the current NASA mission.

Here on Earth, enjoy the spring-time and this issue!


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
March 2017

4-H Alumna & NASA Astronaut Speaks to 4‑H’ers from Space

Peggy Whitson, Commander of NASA’s Expedition 50/51, a 4-H alumna, answered 4‑H’ers’ questions via down-link from the International Space Station (ISS) to Johnson Space Center in Texas. While on the ISS, she will surpass the current record of 534 days in space.

Tompkins County, NY, Starts a 4-H Memory Wall

As a way to promote awareness of 4-H history, Tompkins County mobilized the theme “4‑H Memories Last a Lifetime” by collecting memorabilia (1932-2015) for a Memory Wall at the 4-H Fair. Members, leaders and parents contributed items and county staff cleaned out old files to populate the exhibit.


These are examples of National 4-H Charters that were cherished by many 4-H members and families for the things that were learned and projects completed by countless youth through loving guidance of dedicated adult volunteer leaders. Both charters were signed by the then-current Secretary of Agriculture and represent charters issued by USDA to clubs across the country at that time.

The Mavis 4-H Club (left) of Pennington County, Minnesota, received their charter in what appears to be 1944 and met charter requirements through 1978 (34 years), while the Ellis Hollow Homemakers (right) of Tompkins County, New York, received their charter in 1958 and continued to complete the year’s work through 1981 (23 years).


Who was Jessie Fields Shambaugh?

A film by an Iowa 4-H’er entered in the 2016 “FilmFest 4‑H” answers that question for you. Adam Clayton’s film took second place in the “Voices of 4‑H” category. This year’s “FilmFest 4-H” is July 23-27 in Kansas City.

Horse Racing’s Youngest Jockey Won the Triple Crown in 1978

Steve Cauthen, a 4-H’er from Kentucky, started racing in 1976; in this first race, he came in last; in his second race he came in first. In 1977 he led the nation in horserace wins with 487. The Triple Crown was not won again until 2015.

Tell us the Year this 4-H Calendar was Printed

In the 10 years the 4-H History Preservation Team has been working, we’ve collected 88 different 4-H calendars, printed calendar images and pieces of original artwork. Here’s one recently uncovered on which we have no information; we’re hoping your vivid 4-H memories can help us date it.

4-H History Preservation Team Celebrates 10th Anniversary!

The National 4-H History Preservation Program started in 2007 with a group of seven volunteers, mostly retired national level 4-H staff; we now number 12, including some current staff and some retired state staff, all still volunteers. The number of visitors to our website is rapidly nearing 200,000 globally and our Newsletter reaches some 5,900. We’re grateful for that generous response. We rely on your continued support; please email us.

Enjoy this Issue!

History Preservation Newsletter
January/February 2017

Maine offers “The 4-H Fix”

Incorporating 4-H history into state programs presents a creative opportunity. Maine 4-H offers regular written updates to local and county volunteers and staff to keep history front and center in programs.

Int’l Airport Renamed for 4-H Alum

Lt. Col. Ellison Onizuka, a Hawai’i alum and former NASA astronaut, is memorialized iin the renamed Kona, Hawai’i airport.

WW-I Centennial Recognizes 4-H

4-H membership and Extension Agent numbers surged as the nation supported overseas troops; food production and preservation, clothing conservation, good health and nutrition were emphases.

Historic 4-H Calendar Art Collection

The collection of originial art produced for the historic 4-H calendar program has grown to 40 pieces, with the addition of four pieces acquired in 2016. You may have an image of the 41st piece in your grandmother’s attic.

Enjoy the winter and this Issue!