4-H Photograph Collection, 1913-1988

Overview of the Collection

Oregon 4-H (Program)
4-H Photograph Collection
1913-1988 (inclusive)
1925-1975 (bulk)
6 cubic feet, including 9,600 photographs, (19 boxes, including 2 oversize boxes, and 1 map folder)
Collection Number
P 146
The 4-H Photograph Collection documents Oregon 4-H programs, projects, and participants in agriculture, home economics, natural science, and recreational activities. The 4-H youth program is administered through the Oregon State University Extension Service and was established in the early 1910s.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 5417372075
Fax: 5417378674
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Additional Reference Guides

Preliminary item-level container list available online.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

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.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

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.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

4-H Photograph Collection (P 146), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


About a third of the images have been individually numbered; the remainder have not been assigned individual numbers and are grouped by topic. The preliminary container list presents the numbered images followed by those arranged by topic.

Processing Note

This collection is not fully processed; this guide is preliminary.

We acknowledge that materials in SCARC collections and the language that describes them may be harmful. We are actively working to address our descriptive practices; for more information please see our SCARC Anti-Racist Actions Statement online.

SCARC describes the contents of its collections using the language and terminology of the collections themselves. Since culturally acceptable terminology shifts over time, some of the terms that appear in these materials are currently outdated or offensive. For instance, "disabled" has now largely replaced the once widely-accepted term "handicapped." Nevertheless, these materials are part of disability histories in that they can provide valuable insight into the social construction of disability, the perception and treatment of disabled people, and the presence of disabled communities and cultures. Please be aware that some of the contents in this collection may be disturbing or activating; for example, the collection contains materials using sanist/ableist language such as the use of the r-word.

Acquisition Information

Aquired in numerous accessions and transfers through 1998.

Future Additions

Additions to the collection are expected.

Related Materials

The Extension Service Records (RG 111) include the administrative records for the Oregon 4-H programs. Other photographs of 4-H activities and participants are available in the Extension Bulletin Illustrations Photograph Collection (P 020), the Extension and Experiment Station Communications Photographs (P 120), and Harriet's Collection. 4-H moving images are in the 4-H Motion Picture Films (FV P 146) and the Extension and Experiment Station Communications Moving Images (FV P 120).

The Archives holdings include many collections of organizations and individuals individuals affiliated with 4-H including the Oregon State University Extension Association/4-H (OSUEA/4-H), OSU Collegiate 4-H Club, Malheur County 4-H Leaders' Council, and Clackamas County Jersey Cattle Club as well as James F. Bishop, Helen Cowgill, Wallace L. Kadderly, and Buena Maris Mockmore.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • 4-H clubs--Oregon.
  • Agricultural extension work--Oregon.
  • Agricultural extension workers--Oregon.
  • Agriculture--Oregon.
  • Farm life--Oregon.
  • Home economics extension work--Oregon.
  • Livestock--Oregon.
  • Summer schools--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Youth--Societies and clubs--Oregon.

Personal Names

  • Cowgill, Helen Julia

Corporate Names

  • International Farm Youth Exchange.
  • National 4-H Conference.
  • Oregon State Fair.
  • Pacific International Livestock Exposition (Portland, Or.)

Geographical Names

  • Salem (Or.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Film negatives.
  • Nitrate negatives.
  • Photograph albums.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Slides.

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Oregon Agricultural College. Extension Service. (creator)
    • Oregon State Agricultural College. Extension Service. (creator)
    • Oregon State College. Federal Cooperative Extension Service. (creator)
    • Oregon State University. Extension Service. (creator)