Iowa 4-H Scrapbook Collection
Scope and Content
This collection (1924-1973) contains scrapbooks from 4-H members and clubs. There are also materials from Violet H. Goering's 4-H collection.
Language of Materials
Open for research.
Consult Special Collections and University Archives
The origins of 4-H clubs in Iowa can be traced back decades before the formation of the Extension Service and the formal organization of what we now know as 4-H Clubs. Interest in agricultural training for youth started as early as 1857 when the Iowa State Agricultural Society conducted a statewide corn growing contest for boys. This contest established some of the principles that were later used in the formation of 4-H: a contest was organized, a record of the project work was kept, the work was supervised, and a report was made. Subsequent contests were commonly held by institutes and fairs to provide educational and competitive opportunities for rural youth. Contests were also conducted by newspapers and agricultural magazines such as Wallace’s Farmer and Successful Farming.
In 1902, A. B. Graham in Ohio began formalizing clubs for boys and girls to promote vocational agriculture as an extracurricular activity. His clubs, considered to be the founding clubs of 4-H, incorporated meetings, officers, and projects. In Iowa, Cap E. Miller, superintendent of schools in Keokuk County, was an early adopter of boys and girls club work. He began organizing Boys Agricultural Clubs and Girls Home Culture Clubs as early as 1903. O. H. Benson of Wright County and Jessie Field Shambaugh of Page County quickly adopted the club idea as well. Both would make major contributions to 4-H; Shambaugh wrote the “Country Girls Creed” and Benson is credited with creating the 3-H and later 4-H clover emblem which became the official emblem of 4-H.
Throughout the first decade of the 20th Century, Iowa State Extension staff played a valuable role assisting rural youth clubs. During this decade, public school leaders and local farm organizations were the primary coordinators for youth clubs. However, County Extension Agents often provided expertise and educational resources for the clubs. In January 1910 Iowa State College (University) offered its first junior short course and corn show for club members. During this event a state club organization was formed. The following year Iowa’s first State Club Leader, E. C. Bishop, was hired with the task of organizing boys and girls clubs in Iowa.
With the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, Congress established the Cooperative Extension Service which provided support from the federal government for boys and girls club work in agriculture and home economics. By this time nearly every state had started boys and girls clubs, yet there was no one name by which the clubs were known. It wasn’t until 1924 that the clubs became known as 4-H. In Iowa, the clubs were originally organized as separate boys and girls clubs and it wasn’t until 1962 that the clubs were combined.
The early 4-H programs emphasized farm life and homemaking, but the focus quickly broadened in scope and content. Leadership, music, art appreciation, and recreation also became essential aspects of 4-H, especially in Iowa. Eventually, 4-H expanded beyond rural communities and now also offers programs for youth living in towns and cities across the country.
4.53 Linear Feet (1 half-document box, 3 oversize boxes)
In January 1910, Iowa State College (University) offered its first junior short course and corn show for club members. During this event a state club organization was formed. The following year Iowa’s first State Club Leader, E. C. Bishop, was hired with the task of organizing boys and girls clubs in Iowa. It wasn’t until 1924 that these clubs became known as 4-H. This collection contains scrapbooks and 4-H materials from members and clubs in Iowa.
The collection is arranged Chronologically.
Released on 2019-05-14.
- RS 16/3/4/4. Iowa 4-H Scrapbook Collection, 1924-1973
- May 14, 2019
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note