4-H From a History Major

In college, I majored in history.

That might seem like an interesting choice for someone who has spent their professional career in 4-H work, but I do also have a strong interest in the past.

4-H has a rich history, stemming back over 100 years.  While many dates, places, and people lay claim to the first groups which would eventually become 4-H clubs, most attribute the origination to A. B. Graham who started the first boys’ corn club in Clark County, Ohio, in 1902.

Being over a century old, 4-H has seen much growth and adaptation to match the pace of a consistently changing society.  In 1902, we lived in an agrarian society– of course it made sense that growing corn would be a priority project.  Mr. Graham could teach youth how to grow and harvest effectively, and they in turn would take that knowledge back to their family unit as they shared the information with their parents.  In today’s world we still use the same techniques with a variety of programs-  technology, nutrition, bullying preventing, financial literacy, and more.

Some of my favorite moments from 4-H history have been:

  •  1924-  O.B. Martin replaced the original 4th H-  “Hustle” with “Health.
  • 1972-  The first 4-H television show, “Mulligan Stew” was broadcast.
  • 1973-  The words “…and my world” were added to the pledge, reflecting a globalizing society.

Interested in 4-H History?  Check out (and potentially contribute to):  4-H History Preservation Program

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