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



4-H History Preservation Newsletter
July 2015


Norman Rockwell painted the “The County Agent” for the cover of Saturday Evening Post. The people pictured were an actual county agent, 4-H family and their hired man.

Unusual summer rains didn’t dampen the 4th of July crowd’s spirit on DC’s National Mall!

Declaration of Independence… July 4 or August 2?

As we all know, the US Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. However, even though independence had been declared, delegates to the Continental Congress had not yet signed the document. It wasn’t until August 2, 1776, that the Declaration of Independence became official.

National 4-H Supply Service

 How old is the National 4-H Supply Service? Who was its very first customer and which 4-H products were the first items to be sold? You can find out inside.

The County Agent

 The iconic Normal Rockwell painting, “The County Agent”, illustrating 4-H projects of an Indiana farm family, was first published as a Saturday Evening Post cover. Can you guess the publication date?

Hands-on . . .

 “Hands-on History” this month features photography, a great way to visualize the important and fun parts of your 4-H history.

IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange)

Though 4–H entered the international arena as early as 1935, it wasn’t until years later that the first exchange of farm youth took place. IFYE (International Farm Youth Exchange) was born in 1948.

Map Your 4-H History

“2015 FilmFest 4-H” and “Map your 4-H History” highlight two examples of “Contemporary 4-H History,” current nation-wide programs that are now making 4-H History.

The July 4th fireworks are over in this marvelously independent country and the 4-H summer season is underway. Amid the hard work and deserved fun, enjoy this issue!