4-H is the youth program administered in Oregon by the Extension Service with the goal of developing citizenship, leadership, and life skills through experential learning programs in agriculture, home economics, natural science, engineering, and art. Oregon 4-H developed from industrial clubs established by individual schools in the early 1900s. F.L. Griffin was hired by the Oregon Agricultural College Extension Service as the first state leader in 1914. He was followed by H.C. Seymour who served as State Leader from 1916 until his retirement in 1947. Helen Cowgill and L.J. "Doc" Allen were instrumental, with Seymour, in the develpment of 4-H in Oregon.
Oregon was the first state to offer 4-H work in a metropolitan area when it established victory gardens on Portland school grounds during World War I. 4-H Summer Week on the Oregon State campus began in 1916 and brought youth from throughout Oregon to the campus in Corvallis. Oregon 4-H began participating in the International Farm Youth Exchange Program in 1951 and the 4-H Japanese Exchange Program was initiated in 1972.
The 4-H Photograph Collection provides extensive visual documentation of Oregon 4-H programs, projects, and participants from the founding in the 1910s through the 1980s. The collection consists of images of the 4-H Summer School on the Oregon State campus in Corvallis, including many group portaits of the participants by county; 4-H activities at the Oregon State Fair and the Pacific International Livestock Exposition; Oregon delegates to national 4-H congresses; a variety of 4-H projects including gardens, livestock and poultry, forestry, cooking and canning, sewing and needlework, and recreational activities; and participants in the International Farm Youth Exchange Program (IFYE) and the 4-H Japanese Exchange Program. The collection includes images of Extension Service staff for 4-H including Helen Cowgill, L.J. Allen, and H.C. Seymour. The collection includes several slide programs developed in the 1960s through 1980s highlighting 4-H programs and as instruction for 4-H projects. Two photograph albums include images of 4-H activities at the 1951 and 1957 Oregon State Fairs. Many of the photographs in the collection have detailed descriptions.
The collection includes a variety of formats; the bulk of the collection is black and and white prints. It also includes film negatives, nitrate negatives, slides, color prints, and photograph albums.
4-H Photograph Collection (P 146), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.