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Gerald Edward Parsons papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 16/3/63

Scope and Content

This collection (1957-1996) contains material related to Jerry Parsons' professional career. The records include biographical materials and also papers written by Parsons concerning adult education and 4-H and youth programs. The collection also contains national and Iowa 4-H publications, several of which were authored by Parsons. Some materials of interest are a set of publications created by Parsons for the National 4-H Recognition Program and sent to state 4-H youth staff members. These particular materials are intended to help train 4-H volunteers and staff on how to use recognition to enhance the development of young people.


  • 1957-1996

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


Gerald "Jerry" Edward Parsons was born July 7, 1931, in Iowa City, Iowa. He completed his high school education at the Tipton Consolidated School District in Iowa. Parsons received his B.S. (1952) in agricultural education, his M.S. (1959) in rural sociology, and his Ph.D. (1970) in adult education from Iowa State University. He also studied at the Merrill-Palmer Institute in Detroit, Michigan, in 1968.

Parsons served in the United States Navy (1952-1954) after completing his bachelor's degree at Iowa State. He then took a position with the Cooperative Extension Service at Iowa State University as a County and Area 4-H Staff Member (1954-1961). Parsons was then promoted to Assistant State Leader (1961-1968) for 4-H and Youth Programs. In 1968, he became the Campus Coordinator (1968-1970) for Foreign Contracts and an Instructor (1968-1970) in the Department of Family Environment at Iowa State University.

Parsons left Iowa State University and joined the staff at North Carolina State University as Associate Professor (1970-1977) of Adult and Community College Education and State Training Leader (1970-1977) for the Agricultural Extension Service. During his time at North Carolina State University, Parsons directed a national research and development project, "Incentives in 4-H," served as Editor of the Journal of Extension, and for three years was Graduate Administrator for the Department of Adult and Community College Education.

Kansas State University offered Parsons the position of Professor (1977-1980) of Adult and Continuing Education, which he accepted. At Kansas State, Parsons taught graduate and undergraduate courses, advised doctoral and master's students, served as Director of the National Adult Education Institute, and participated in numerous extension and adult education activities and associations.

Parsons returned to Iowa State University in 1980 as State Leader (1980-1988) for 4-H and Youth Programs. In this position, Parsons was the chief administrative officer for the Iowa 4-H and Youth Program which reached 132,000 young people and 10,000 volunteers in 1988. His duties included supervising staff, managing annual budgets, supervising fund raising activities, coordinating curriculum development, and overseeing a 1000-acre camp facility. Parsons also served on state 4-H program review committees in Wisconsin and Kansas, directed a national 4-H research and development project on incentives and recognition, chaired a national 4-H task force and two national 4-H staff development workshops, presented staff training workshops in three states, and served as a trustee on the Iowa 4-H Foundation board. He retired on May 15, 1988.

Parsons married Diane Hollingsworth of Oelwein, Iowa in 1955. They had three children.


1.05 Linear Feet (2 document boxes and 1 half-document box)


The collection is organized Alphabetically.

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 16/3/63. Gerald Edward Parsons papers, 1957-1996
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