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//:www.4-HHistoryPreservtion.com. 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 info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com. 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
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
November/December 2016

4-H Alum in NASA Launch

In her third mission to the International Space Station she will surpass the current record of 534 days in space.

1924 4-H Congress Starts New Tradition>

Can you guess what it was? Did you know that National 4-H Congress was held in Chicago for more than 50 years?

Montana 4-H’er assists official lighting of US Capitol Christmas Tree in 2008

Each year, hundreds of students from the Capitol Christmas Tree’s home state enter the Capitol Christmas Tree drawing to receive a free trip to Washington, D.C. and help the Speaker of the House in lighting the tree. Chris Gabrielson from Havre, MT, was the lucky winner of the 2008 drawing.
(from the December, 2013 National 4-H History Newsletter)

4-H Enrollment Tops One Million in 1931

It’s now around seven million with a 2025 goal of ten million members.

National 4-H Council Predecessor Born in 1921

Created as the National Committee for Boys’ and Girls’ Club Work, the private sector body began decades of 4-H program support.

How Are States Using 4-H History?

A new column starting this month will share ideas from clubs, counties and states on how staff incorporates 4-H history in daily work.

Enjoy the Holidays and this Issue!


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

History Preservation Newsletter
September/October 2016

4-H History Map Grows

At NAEA4-HA in New Orleans earlier this month, 4-H educators from 30 states explored “points of interest” (POIs) flagged on the National 4-H History Map.

Your Hall of Fame Laureates Were in the National 4-H News

Earlier this month during National 4-H Week, 16 new Laureates were inducted into the National 4-H Hall of Fame. Several fall issues of National 4-H News contain stories about future Laureates and their contributions to 4-H.

Harlan Sanders

What Led to 4-H Congress?

A 1919 tour of Armour Meat Packing Company is considered the spark that led to creation of National 4-H Congress, held annually in Chicago for over seven decades. Whose idea was it?

A Missing 4-H Calendar?

You may have the answer to identity of an undocumented piece of art at the National 4-H Center.

4-H is not new to Space

This year’s National 4-H Science Day picks up a favorite theme of 4-H: space and flight. The thematic partnership goes way back.

And then there’s NAE4-HA

If you missed our booth in New Orleans, we still want to hear from you about 4-H History activities in your area.

Enjoy the beautiful fall and this issue!

History Preservation Newsletter
August 2016

Centenarian 4-H Alumna Honored

National 4-H Council is highlighting 4-H alumni and sharing the impact 4-H has had on their lives; this month, they spotlight a very special 4-H alumna, Martha Ann Miller, who celebrated her 105th birthday on August 6.

Read More …

4-H’ers Praised in 1945 World Wide Broadcast

On August 30, 1945, 4-H Club work got the spotlight during the broadcast of the college All-Stars vs. Green Bay Packers’ annual football classic known as the College All-Star game.

Read More …

Labor Day Floats?

It seems that 4-H is always up for a parade. With Labor Day coming, how many 4-H History floats will we see in the country’s community parades?
Read More …

This 1968 National 4-H Calendar produced by Shaw Barton Calendar Company is an example of a 4-H float of yesteryear. What will we see on a 2016 4-H float?

This 1968 National 4-H Calendar produced by Shaw Barton Calendar Company is an example of a 4-H float of yesteryear. What will we see on a 2016 4-H float?

4-H History Map

How did Drum’s Valley Pennsylvania, which documented its 4-H club history in 1959, get on the National 4-H History Map? Has your club, county or state nominated historical sites?

Read More …

FilmFest 4-H’ers Learn and Earn

4-H’ers got state-of-the-art coaching as well as the chance to compete for awards in five categories. With the 2016 film festival over, it’s not too early to plan entries for July 2017.

Read More …

It’s Fair Season!

Let us know about the 4-H History exhibits you are presenting at County and State Fairs at info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com and send pictures.

Read More …

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
April 2016

It’s April Already!

For some that means sunny spring is well underway; for others it’s time for one last snow storm; for still others, it’s the proverbial month of showers which bring May flowers. Whichever it is for you climatologically, it’s another busy 4-H month; another month when 4-H history is being made and celebrated.

First Woman’s World’s Fair

In 1925, 4-H girls exhibited ideal (for the time) standards of home decoration at this first of four-only women’s world-wide expositions, intended to showcase skills and empower women. 4-H girls did both.

April 22 is Earth Day

What better way to celebrate Earth Day 2016 than to start a garden, either productive, beautiful, or both. That’s this month’s “Hands-on-History” activity.

Jmaes Cagney loved 4-H

That’s just one of the new stories highlighted from the 4-H Promotion and Visibility Compendium on the 4-H History Website.

April 20, 1970…

…was an important and long-awaited day for 4-H. Mr. J. C. Penney, Tricia Nixon, Art Linkletter and National Conference delegates helped mark the meaningful occasion. Any guesses?>


Tricia Nixon and Art Linkletter share podium.


Secretary of Agriculture, Clifford Harding, J.C. Penney and Janice Glover, 4-H’er from NY share groundbreaking duty.

Who Made 4-H Great?

This month we learn about a man who had a big impact on many basics of the local 4-H Club program. And his records have helped many historians along the way.

4-H Novels

The impact, challenges, successes, and fun of 4-H are recorded throughout literature, whether academic or recreational. Here’s a list of novels written about 4-H – just the titles we’ve been able to uncover.

Whether the weather…

…is warming you in sunshine, dousing you in rain, or freezing you in snow, stay focused on the coming May flowers – and the next issue of the National 4-H History Newsletter. Whether with sunglasses, umbrellas or ear muffs, enjoy this issue.

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.

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
November 2015

November is Thanksgiving, Veterans’ Day, voting, and Christmas/Holiday Prep.

We’re all thankful for 4-H and we remember with honor the veterans who helped guarantee our many freedoms, including the freedom to vote (did you?). Christmas/Holiday Prep, well, let’s push that into next month!

Each year, this month, Veteran’s Day has special meaning. We feature individuals and groups with a 4-H identity. Of course, many more 4-H alumni deserve to be honored and remembered for their service to the US; these are but a few.

A school superintendent from Ohio instilled scientific curiosity in his students and formed “experiment clubs” to keep them involved. 4-H Clubs evolved, using educational materials this pioneer encouraged from his USDA colleagues. One of our continuing series featuring people who helped make 4-H great.

By all accounts and on all levels, 2015 NAE4-HA in Portland was a great success. 4-H History Preservation team encouraged nominations to the National 4-H History Map, and collected countless sites which will be vetted for inclusion.

There’s a lively controversy about when “urban 4-H” actually started. But what year did the National 4-H Foundation announce a study, funded by the Ford Foundation, to document that expansion of 4-H?

Take a break in your Thanksgiving preparations, give fleeting thought to your Christmas or Holiday preparations, and enjoy this issue.

National 4-H Calendars

Novemver 2, 1936 one calendar company was issued permission by USDA to produce 4-H Calendars. The first and the latest calendar art that National 4-H Council owns for which we have found documentation are pictured here. One appeared on a 1951 National 4-H calendar and the other appeared on a 1975 National 4-H calendar.

1951 4-H Calendar Art

1951 4-H Calendar Art

1975 4-H Calendar Art

1975 4-H Calendar Art


Please help us preserve 4-H History . . .

4-H History Preservation Newsletter
June 2015

Summer officially starts in just a few days, typically the busiest season for 4-H.
The run-up to summer is just as busy, as you’ll see in this issue.

4-H Travel

Travel has long been a key part of the 4-H learning portfolio at county, state, national and international levels.  The 1959 Iowa to Kentucky 4-H exchange is what led to creation of the national Citizenship Short Course.  This month’s “Hand-on 4-H History” activity brings travel to the club level.

4-H Pledge and Motto

You certainly know the 4-H Pledge and Motto.  But do you know what year they were both officially adopted?  Hint: it was at a National 4-H Camp.

Kidnapped by 4-H’ers

Indiana Travelers Kidnapped by 4-H’ers!” is an unlikely headline.  But read (and chuckle) about how Georgia 4–H members learned hospitality and treated tourists to a fun-filled weekend in 1953.

31CampBlackWhite_600The entire National 4-H Camp delegation visited President and Mrs. Hoover at the White House on June 23, 1931.

Map Your 4-H History

Do you know where your county’s first 4-H club started?  Is that site on the online National 4-H History Map?  Find out how to make sure that part of your history is recorded electronically for posterity.

FilmFest 4-H

Teen film-makers gather again this year for 2015 FilmFest 4-H in St. Louis.  Professionals from the film industry help young people hone their cinematic skills in this fifth annual celebration of youth-made films – without the popcorn.  4-H History is a category for the competition.

We know you’re also busy with summer work (garden?) and plans (vacation?) but take a few minutes off and enjoy this issue!

1890 Universities Celebrate 125 Years

1890sThere is a proud history of human development that 1890 institutions will be celebrating during this year’s 125th anniversary of the founding of those colleges and universities created to serve America’s black population. During 2015, many impressive moments and accomplishments of the 1890 schools’ history will be rediscovered and applauded. The 4-H History Preservation Team is interested in being involved in the documentation of the History of 4-H as it was delivered through these institutions because they have not located a national collection of this information to date.

As a part of this honored heritage and celebration, each institution will be making every effort to document, acclaim and preserve this legacy, making it easier for upcoming generations to retrieve these findings as a basis for future youth program development. Part of this effort is currently getting started in the leadership of the National 4-H History Preservation Team, made up of Cooperative Extension retirees and current staff of the National 4-H Council and NIFA, USDA.

During 2015, the National 4-H History Preservation Team, with the help of staff from the 1890 institutions (now called Historically Black Colleges and Universities – HBCUs), plan to construct that significant segment of the history of 4-H youth development, from the founding of the 1890 institutions to the current decade. One possibility is to organize the history of the African American youth development programs delivered by those schools, decade by decade, highlighting issues, set-backs, efforts and accomplishments of each decade from 1890 to 2015.

If you or someone you know is interested in working with the 4-H History Team on this project please contact us at Info@4-HHistoryPreservation.com . And since February is National Black History Month, as you research things to celebrate, don’t overlook the treasure trove of important information at the HBCUs