4-H members learn how to properly care for a new colt.

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Celebrating 100 Years of 4-H in Michigan: 1908–2008

Michigan State University and 4-H have been intrinsically linked since 4-H clubs were developed in Michigan in 1908. As the years have gone by and the world has changed significantly, 4-H and MSU have developed and changed along with the shifting culture and expectations. 4-H programs began in the United States as a response to young people and their need for better agricultural education.

The first 4-H clubs began in Iowa and Ohio, where in 1902 local school educators connected with their respective agricultural colleges to start a program to teach rural children the basics of home and farm management.

In the 1930s, expansion of 4-H projects for girls included clothing, home management and improvement, food and nutrition, and other home economics projects. Additional topics for boys included soil conservation, tractor maintenance, engineering, electricity, and agricultural production projects.

Today, 4-H's presence continues to be felt on MSU's campus each summer when more than 3,000 youths and adult volunteers participate in 4-H Exploration Days. MSU Extension continues to operate in Agriculture Hall, and with the move to the stadium expansion in 2006, the Michigan 4-H Foundation continues to link 4-H with the university.


The following collections can be found in the MSU Archives:

Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff records, 1992-2005

Collection number: UA 18.17
Size: 5.2 cubic feet

The Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff is an organization for 4-H staff in Michigan. They promote youth development and provide a resource for 4-H staff to network as well as support 4-H on a state and national level. This collection includes two photograph albums from the national conference of 1996 and one album of 4-H staff from the period 1952-76. This includes hundreds of photographic prints, negatives, and positives of 4-H staff, members, visitors, and their activities; general office working papers; and peripheral materials of the association. The photographic material predominantly covers the period from 1920-70 and includes many individuals and groups involved with farm animals, exhibits, demonstrations, activities, games, and period equipment.

Michigan 4-H Foundation records, 1955-98

Collection number: UA 10.7
Size: 0.4 cubic feet

The Michigan 4-H Foundation was founded in 1952 by Arne G. Kettunen on the 50th Anniversary of 4-H. It promotes youth leadership at the county and state levels. The Foundation also maintains the Kettunen Center in Tustin, Michigan. The Michigan 4-H Foundation collection contains administrative records as well as material about the Kettunen Center. Included are Board of Trustee meeting minutes from 1957-82, annual reports from 1995-97, as well as bylaws of the organization. There is also a history of the Victor 4-H Club. Photographs include Arne Kettunen, his wife Ruth, as well as W. H. Krohn, 4-H music group, and a USDA service award.

Cooperative Extension Service Records, 1913-85

Collection number: UA 16.34
Size: 131 cubic feet

Cooperative Extension Service, established in 1914, is also known as Farmers' Institutes, Special Extension Workers, and Farm Management Extension. The records include annual reports from 1915-70; project and county reports from 1913-69; Administrative files from 1924-55; Agriculture, Family Living, 4-H Youth, and Music Extension Program files from 1930-76; and publications from 1914-85. These files are arranged alphabetically by county, project title, and program title.

Ludell Cheney Papers

Collection number: c.595
Size: 5 folders

The Ludell Cheney collection contains materials about 4-H. The papers include newspaper clippings about Cheney and a 4-H booklet called "Fun at the Meeting Place." There is also sheet music for two pieces called "A Plowing Song—4-H Song for Boys" and "Dreaming—4-H Song for Girls." Other materials include a scrapbook Cheney created to submit for a 4-H Alumni Award in 1954. It includes descriptions of his time in the club, outline of demonstration, radio talk, a speech, as well as newspaper clippings and photographs. There is also a panoramic photograph of 4-H members, including Cheney, on the White House lawn.

Jean Stewart Papers

Collection number: c.557
Size: 1 folder

In 1962 Jean Stewart, of Burt Lake, Michigan, traveled to Turkey along with 4-H club members from five other states, as part of the national 4-H club Foundation's International Farm Youth Exchange Program. Her papers consist of the group's reports of their experiences, and include descriptions of the life and culture in Turkey, particularly in rural areas.

Florine Folks Plumb Papers

Collection number: UA 10.3.198
Size: 1 folder

This collection consists of the poem "The 25th Anniversary of 4-H Clubs" written in 1940 by Florine Folks Plumb. Other materials include newspaper and magazine articles from 1940, 1942, 1961, and 1983 about her being judged best in a contest and winning an REO touring car.

Clapp Family Papers

Collection number: 86
Size: 2 cubic feet

The collection consists of various materials concerning stock breeding and related interests of the Clapp family in Southeast Michigan. Materials in the collection relating to the stock breeding activities of Nathan A. Clapp on his farm near Wixom in Oakland County reflect the early development in Michigan of an interest in purebred stock during the last two decades of the 19th century. Also included are the papers of James W. Clapp, including correspondence with stock breeders around the world.

Keats K. Vining Scrapbooks

Collection number: UA 17.48
Size: 9 volumes

The papers of Keats Vining consist of nine scrapbooks containing magazine articles concerning agriculture, many of which were written by Vining.

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