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
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 2016

Summer is officially here and 4-H history is being made every day.

This is the season traditionally ultra-busy for 4-H’ers, and so it has been whether members were from 1916 or 2016. Your 4-H History Preservation Program is here to share some of the experiences of those 1916 (and earlier or later) 4-H’ers.

Another of the “Greats”

Thomas E. Wilson started promoting 4-H in 1918, used the International Livestock Show to reward young 4-H members, and basically started National 4-H Congress. His 1962 profile is here.

4-H Academy Awards

A two-time Academy Award winning star has been a big fan of 4-H for years. First, guess the actor, then guess the 4-H content area that drew his attention.

4-H History Map

It just keeps growing and growing with your continued local 4-H input! Hopefully, your local sites are already on there. But can you pass the 4-H History Map Quiz?


The 4-H – Peace Corps Link

Lots of folks say 4-H started Peace Corps, but that is probably still an open question. Can you identify the countries in South America where 4-H Peace Corps began?

Girls’ 4-H Uniforms = Pants?

It started the same year that the 4-H pledge and the 4-H motto were officially authorized. Do you know where? And when?

Please enjoy our summer issue.

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
February 2016

February is Black History Month and the 15th is Presidents’ Day
Before 4-H was racially integrated, Extension Youth Development programs for African American youth emanated from the 1890 universities, which celebrated their 125  anniversary last year. North Carolina started 4-H for African American youth in 1914; West Virginia started camps for black youth in the 1920s and had the country’s first state camp for African American 4-H’ers.

In recognition of Presidents’ Day we acknowledge the US Presidents who served as honorary chairmen of 4-H, and quote many who “liked” the program over the years.

Calendar Art Hands-on History

The collection of these historic art pieces continues to grow! Antique mall hunters and internet shoppers have added three pieces to the collection already this year. There are many more to find and you can help.

Hands-on History

From a 1920 article about farm mechanics and a 1945 article on Live Power to today’s robotics programs, mechanical engineering has been an important part of 4-H. Some ideas to bring that history into your current club work.

Virginia African American Corn Club members (early 4-H clubs) learn how to judge corn, 1923.

Virginia African American Corn Club members (early 4-H clubs) learn how to judge corn, 1923.

President Franklin D Roosevelt with 1940 National 4-H Delegates on the mall. (Photo courtesy of USDA.)

President Franklin D Roosevelt with 1940 National 4-H Delegates on the mall. (Photo courtesy of USDA.)

February in 4-H History

A 4-H TV series produced with NASA was premiered, Franklin Roosevelt expressed thanks to 4-H’ers for helping achieve wartime goals, the first club meeting of farm boys, later 4-H’ers, was held in Illinois, and a 4-H movie on health was premiered. Different years, of course, but an important month.

C. B. Smith

Seventh in the series of “Folks who Helped Make 4-H Great.” Smith helped create the 4-H Subcommittee of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, helped implement the Smith-Lever act nationwide, and established the first National 4-H Camp on the Washington, DC, Mall.

Besides Black History Month and Presidents’ Day, February also has Valentine’s Day.
And who doesn’t love 4-H? Sit down with your box of Valentine chocolates and ponder the New Year’s Resolution you made last month: to read this Newsletter each month and forward it to at least one other person. And while you’re munching on the chocolates, enjoy this issue!


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
December 2015

Head, Heart, Hands, Health and Holidays! Between November 1 and January 15, there are about 29 holidays observed by seven of the world’s major religions. 4-H’ers don’t take a holiday, as many of them are busy bringing holiday happiness to their communities in myriad ways. What an eventful season!

President Truman and 4-H

It became an annual event, the presentation of a report on 4-H’s annual accomplishments to the President. In 1950, 4-H Reporters traveled to the White House courtesy of Chicago’ Stevens Hotel, later re-named the Conrad Hilton and scene of the annual National 4-H Congress for years.

Fifth in the series

A. G. Kettunen is featured as one of the pioneers selected in 1962 who “helped make 4-H great.” He was state 4-H leader in Michigan, a strong supporter of IFYE, a 4-H camping enthusiast and First Chairman of the National 4-H Club Foundation.

December dates in 4-H history

December 5, 1924, was the first National 4-H “Style Show” at 4-H Congress. On December 26, 1936, 4-H reached a significant milestone. Any guesses?

1935 Parade of National 4-H Congress Delegates at the National Livestock Exposition. This was its eleventh year.

1935 Parade of National 4-H Congress Delegates at the National Livestock Exposition. This was its eleventh year.

Maryland 4-H maps its history

The National 4-H History Map expands with significant historical sites across the country. Though still missing sites from a few states, the Map will soon include many sites from Maryland, as nominated by leaders and junior leaders as a result their annual meeting.

4-H’er wins international show

A 12 year old Iowa 4-H’er exhibited the grand champion steer at the 1928 International Livestock Exposition, the largest livestock show in the world. The champion steer, named Dick, sold for a record price and was purchased by someone who would become one of 4-H’s most generous donors.

Record memories in the holidays

“Voices of 4-H History” and the annual 4-H FilmFest offer splendid opportunities to record and exhibit treasured memories of 4-H in your family and community. There’s no better time to capture those memories

Whichever of the 29 holidays you observe during this joyous time of the year, enjoy it; and

enjoy this issue.

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
October 2015

‘Tis the season for pumpkins, goblins, corn mazes and (apparently) pumpkin-spiced lattes. Whether your 4-H Club is in a rural area or in town or city, these long-honored traditions can be a part of your October. Even corn mazes are near many towns.

Speaking of corn well before mazes became popular, the Otwell corn-growing competition garnered great publicity in Illinois in 1905. But the parade! What a spectacle!

The Health H was the last to be added to the four-leaf clover symbol. But you can build many educational activities around that important part of 4-H education. Do you have more ideas of how to celebrate the Health H in your programs?

Surely you’ve heard of “Mulligan Stew,” and maybe you participated in it. Can you recall what year it premiered as a 4-H educational series?

Who is Chris Clover? Rumor has it that he or she is a long-honored spokesperson for 4-H around the country. Tell us whether he or she has shown up in your county yet.

We again feature one of the several people who “made 4-H great;” this one is credited with starting a hot lunch program in schools, pretty significant in 1907!

We’re pushing the “Map Your 4-H History” this year at NAE4-HA. Think of historic sites in your area that you want to be documented on the internet-based, publicly-accessible atlas of 4-H History. Easy to do, and your site will be recorded forever.

Haven’t got your Halloween costume ready yet? How about going as Chris Clover! If not, stay home and take pictures of the Trick-R-Treaters while you sip your pumpkin-spiced latte and enjoy this issue.



A local store window display for National 4-H week in 1942 resembled one we saw on Twitter this year in that both referred to the growing of 4-H. The 1942 version was “4-H, Strong and Growing” whereas 2015 is more individually oriented with “4-H Grows Teamwork, Curiosity, Resilience, Courage and so much more!


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
August 2015

Most Washingtonians (DC types) leave town in August because of the heat, but your 4-H History Team is still here!

Record Amount of 4-H Enrollment

What activity expanded 4-H enrollment to over seven million in the 1970s? Want an easier question? OK, what put 4-H in the Comic Book business? Same answer.

People Who Made 4-H Great

We start a new 10-month series featuring “People Who Helped Make 4-H Great!” Reprints from 1962 National 4-H News highlight the significant contributions of individuals whose leadership formed and strengthened the program.

Entrepreneurship in 4-H Clubs

“Hands-on History” this month is about entrepreneurship activities your club can take on. Make money for an important goal just like 4-H clubs have done for decades.

Corn Clubs at 1904 World’s Fair

The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exhibition (sometimes known as the 1904 World’s Fair) was the site of a significant 4-H exhibit. What would Illinois 4-H want to show the world?

National 4-H History Map Unveiled

4-H’ers from seven states recently unveiled their National 4-H History Map to 16,000 cartographers from 120 countries. Have you decided which people, places or events you want to memorialize on the 4-H History Map?

Mulligan Stew Made 4-H Television History

Member project book for television viewers. The

Member project book for television viewers.

The sweltering heat is not a deterrent; 4-H continues to build and honor its history! Enjoy this issue.

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
May 2015

It feels like the summer season of 4-H has already started and it’s only May!

FilmFest 4-H 2015

The fifth annual national 4-H film festival – FilmFest 4-H – will be held next month in St. Louis. Read some of the topics to be covered by film media professionals as they work with teen film-makers from across the country.

4-H on the Radio

May 1922 saw the beginning of 4-H radio promotion initiated by the National Committee on Boys’ and Girls’ Club Work. From then on, the role of radio in 4-H evolved and expanded in step with changes in the program’s focus and in audience needs and interests.


4-H’ers telling the 4-H Story through media 1940s National 4-H Camp Radio Broadcast


Todays 4-H Videographers

1984 Honorary Chairman

Who was the Honorary Chairman of the Board of National 4-H Council in 1984, and where did that group meet in May of that year? It marks a decades-long tradition about which there’s discussion to renew.

4-H Storefront

The 90-year-old 4-H Supply Service – 4-HMall.com – unveils a new venture into e-commerce. Do you know a member, alum or leader who deserves a 4-H Gift Card? Here’s the place to get it.

Map Your 4-H History

What if your 4-H Camp was once used as a POW camp in a world war; shouldn’t that important bit of 4-H history be recorded? Having gone live on April 28, the internet-based atlas of 4-H seeks nominations of historically-significant people, places and events to be documented on this interactive site. Get your county or state 4-H history on the map!

History of the 1890 Land Grant Universities

1890 Land Grant Universities have a rich history in 4H youth development. With 2015 being the 125th year of the Morell Act which created the 1890 schools, those institutions are collecting their unique chapters of the National 4-H History story. Here’s how you can help.

If it’s as hot where you are as it is here, pour an icy glass of lemonade, find a hammock and enjoy this issue.

History Preservation Newsletter
April 2015

Washington DC’s Cherry Blossoms are in bloom for National 4-H Conference!

It’s going on this week at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center. This is the 85th gathering of 4-H’ers in DC since National 4-H Camp started in 1927. 4-H members from across the country are meeting with their congressional delegations, testifying on Capitol Hill, and visiting the White House – all long-held National 4-H Conference traditions. (The National 4-H Calendar painting, at the right, documents a time in the early 1970s when 4-H Conference also coincided with the Cherry blossoms in full bloom.)

Map Your 4-H History

April 28 signals the debut of the “Map Your 4-H History” project wherein individuals, clubs, counties and states can nominate a historically important person, place or event on the National 4-H History Map. This geospatial project of the 4-H History Map Team is explained at


The explanation and the map go live starting April 28.

Wood County

Wood County, Ohio, has an active 4-H display program at the county Historical Museum. It’s a great example of what you can do to showcase your county’s 4-H history. The brief interview explains how it came to be – and possibilities of how you can make it happen in your area.

4-H in the Great Depression

New to the 4-H History website: “4-H in the Great Depression.” An important and meaningful story of how 4-H helped maintain threatened family farms in that troubled era. Read a capsule here and the entire story on the website.

FilmFest 2015

FilmFest 4-H is June 14-17 in St. Louis. The 4-H History Team supports this youth film-making project for the third consecutive year; the 4–H History category highlights films documenting 4-H memories of former members, staff and volunteers.

We don’t have a “Letters to the Editor” column (yet), but we welcome your comments, ideas and suggestions – even mild complaints – at Info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com

Enjoy spring, and enjoy this issue … http://4-HHistoryPreservation.com/Newsletter/

History Preservation Newsletter
March 2015

March is supposed to come in like a lion, right? Well in DC, it’s been doing that!

Thanks to you and others, your 4-H History website hit the 100,000th US visitor! We’re delighted and you should be too! If you’ve not visited, you’d better get in there before the next 200,000th visitor is announced.

Coming Soon

We’ll be adding an interactive National 4-H History Map! Participate by sharing your most important local historical 4-H sites. Join in next month!

New Feature

The all-new History website feature highlights decades of 4-H promotions and the compendium brings them all to life for you.

Partner with Us

We’d welcome a state to partner with the 4-H History Preservation Team to devise and deliver a 4-H history component for a newly-proposed staff development training module. Interested?

Donor Tracking

4-H has benefited from years of private (and public) sector support. We’re tracking the enormous impact of donor support to 4-H youth development; it’s much more than you think.

Get to Know the Center

What is that place we call the “4-H Center?” For those who visit and work there, it’s way more than most of us could ever imagine.

4-H FilmFest 2015

4-H FilmFest 2015 kicks off in St. Louis in June. Will your 4-H’ers submit a video or film in the “Voices of 4-H History” category? Hope so.

Support the 4-H History Preservation Team

Please take a moment to click on the “DONATE” button at the top of the page or below. It will take you to a list of items where funds are needed to keep this totally volunteer History Team working to preserve the valuable indeed irreplaceable history of 4-H. Every gift is tax deductible.

If you’re reading this in front of a fireplace, enjoy and don’t tell us; if you’re basking in sunshine, don’t tell us that either. We’re hoping that promised March lamb is coming to DC shortly!

We hope you enjoy this issue.

Delegate discussion group at National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Center, 2006

Delegate discussion group at National 4-H Conference, National 4-H Center, 2006

District of Columbia 4H’ers at National 4-H Youth Science Day, National 4-H Center, 2013

District of Columbia 4H’ers at National 4-H Youth Science Day, National 4-H Center, 2013