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Paul C. Taff papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 16/3/56

Scope and Content

The Paul C. Taff Papers consists of clippings, Extension photographs, booklets, pamphlets, correspondence, and papers documenting Taff's life and work. Many of the records date from 1905-1982 and relate to the development of the 4-H movement, the Iowa State Extension Service, and the National Catholic Rural Life Conference.

A scrapbook compiled by Taff contains family history and autobiographical information. Additional biographical material is in the collection as well as individual artifacts, including a ribbon from the Panora, Iowa Corn Exhibition, 1905, and Iowa State Fair Judge Pin and Ribbons from 1925, 1963-70.

Materials related to the 4-H movement are national and local in coverage. Extensive material related to the history and growth of early boys' and girls' club meetings in Iowa are contained in these files. Secondary research conducted by Taff and others related to the beginnings of 4-H is documented. The research includes information on Iowans Oscar Herman Benson, Jessie Field Shambaugh, Cap Miller and other club pioneers, including W. B. Otwell of Illinois and A. B. Graham of Ohio. The collection includes correspondence with Bill Otwell, W. B. Otwell's grandson, and material related to Illinois' Boy's Club beginnings. Records for the Jasper County 4-H group, "Sunbonnet Sue's" (1963-1978), are present as well. There are also manuals and organizational materials related to 4-H clubs. Photographs contain 4-H subject matter covering the period, 1905-1965.

Extension information consists of bulletins and pamphlets related to field days around the state of Iowa. Of special note are the materials documenting Taff's work on Harvest Home Picnics, the Youth Committee (1940-1950), and the "Pig Crop Special Education Train." This train traveled the state of Iowa in the fall of 1929 on the North Western and the Burlington lines promoting better hog farming. The Harvest Home Picnic materials include posters promoting the events. The Youth Committee material contains material on the International Farm Youth Exchange. Photographs related to Extension work covers the period 1905-1965.


  • Creation: 1901-2007, undated

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Paul C. Taff received a B.S. in agriculture from Iowa State University in 1913 and an LLD from Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, 1949. Taff trained under Perry G. Holden, and became Assistant Director of the Iowa State Extension Service, 1917-1952. He was an Associate and Extension Professor of Farm Crops and Soils, 1912-14, Acting Director, May-Sept., 1914. Concurrent with serving as the Extension Service assistant director for 35 years, Taff was the Iowa State 4-H Club Leader (1919-52). He became Emeritus Professor of Agriculture upon his death in 1982.


12.6 Linear Feet (15 document boxes, 3 half-document boxes, and 1 map case folder)

Items in related collections

RS 16/3. Iowa State University. Cooperative Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics records

Processing Information

Released on 2018-11-01.

RS 16/3/56. Paul C. Taff papers, 1901-2007, undated
January 23, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672