What did the 4-H Supply Service Sell 90 Years Ago?

The following story is from the July 2015 issue of the 4-H History Preservation Newsletter

What was your first image of the 20 dozen paper hats that were the first item ordered from the National 4-H Supply service? The editor of this Newsletter was thinking of something like this:


But when we looked in the 1926 4-H Handy Book, which was the National 4-H Catalog at the time, we found that not only was this paper hat available. But there were also these then-fashionable wonders:

The paper hat on the left is described as “being suitable for either boys or girls. Makes fine appearance in a parade or at a 4-H club banquet.”

As we looked through the 1926 4-H Handy Book we found that it was a lot like today’s smart phone. It was designed to be the size and shape to fit into a pocket or a lady’s purse and included the following information:

  • Club Work — What It Is
  • The National Club Emblem
  • The National Club Motto
  • The National 4-H Club Colors
  • 4-H Club Pledge
  • Ritual (review of what the emblem means)
  • Flag Salute (Pledge of Allegiance)
  • Facts About Club Work
  • 4-H Club Initiation Ceremony (2 page description)
  • 4-H Club Songs (36 of these)
  • 4-H Equipment (7 pages of 27 items)
  • Achievement Day Suggestions (2 pages)


The Handy Book continued to be produced by the National 4-H Supply Service until sometime in the 1940’s when it became only a catalog. PDF files of the contents of several of the handy books as well as more history of the National 4-H Supply Service are available at