Montana State University Extension Service Records, 1912-1970  PDF  XML

Overview of the Collection

Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.). Extension Service.
Montana State University Extension Service Records
108.8 linear feet
Collection Number
Accession 00021, MtBC, us (accession)
The Montana State University Extension Service Records consist of annual reports, administrative files, and microfilm records from 1912-1070.
Montana State University Library, Merrill G. Burlingame Special Collections
Montana State University-Bozeman Library
Merrill G Burlingame Special Collections
P.O. Box 173320
Bozeman, MT
Telephone: 406-994-4242
Fax: 406-994-2851
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Additional Reference Guides

An alternative form of this finding aid can be found at

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Extension service originated with the agricultural societies founded in the early days of the American republic which provided educational opportunities for farmers and industrial workers. These agricultural societies were influential in the passage of legislation in 1862, permitting the establishment of Colleges of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in all states. In 1887, Agricultural Experiment Stations were authorized and the Cooperative Extension Service was established in 1914 by the Smith-Lever Act. In Montana, the first county agents predated this federal legislation, with Milburn L. Wilson assigned to Custer and Dawson Counties, and Carl H. Peterson assigned to Fergus County. Gallatin and Missoula counties were the next to receive agents, and the entire program expanded rapidly in 1917 when the State Defense Council demanded more coverage in response to the United States declaration of war on Germany. Eventually almost every county in Montana had at least one agent assigned, as well as a Home Demonstration Agent. Although primarily agriculturally related in its early years, the major function of the Extension Service evolved to provide informal adult and youth education directed to helping people solve the various problems which they encounter from day to day.

All agents filed annual reports of their activities, detailing any special programs or presentations they may have performed during the year for their constituents. Information occasionally includes crop statistics, livestock statistics, weather summaries, and organizational efforts. These reports were typed in multiple carbon copies, with one sent to the state administration offices, one to Washington, D.C., and one retained by the agent.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The reports in this University Archives accession have been arranged in five series: County Agents, Indian Reservation Agents, Special Projects, Specialists, and Administration. A sixth series of duplicate reports microfilmed from the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration, forms the last series.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Series 1 County and Home Demonstration Agents Annual Reports, 1916-1970

Series 2 Indian Reservation Agents Annual Reports, 1955-1970

Series 3 Special Projects Annual Reports, 1926-1953

Series 4 Specialist Annual Reports, 1917-1968

Series 5 Administration Files, 1945-1968

Series 6 Microfilmed Records from National Archives, 1914-1944

Processing Note

This collection was processed 2009 May 12

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1-70 Series 1: County and Home Demonstration Agents Annual Reports
Over the years as the agency evolved, county extension agents and home demonstration agents have assumed the responsibility to maintain offices where citizens can get information on agriculture, home economics, urban horticulture and related fields. These agents have worked with local people in developing educational programs such as the 4-H clubs, and encouraging local leadership by providing training and encouragement. Inherent in these duties has been a charge to keep accurate records and use them for evaluating the effectiveness of their work by submitting to the state and federal offices annual reports. In early years, the reports were typed with multiple carbon paper duplicates, with the original retained by the county office. The carbon copies sent to Washington, D.C. were eventually transferred to the National Archives where they were retained until 1954 when they were microfilmed and subsequently destroyed. (The microfilmed copies have been placed in Series 6 of this accession.) The folders in this series have been arranged alphabetically by county, and then chronologically within that county sort. Not all counties had an individual agent assigned to them, and in those cases where the agent's responsibilities included more than one county, the first county named has been used for the alphabetical sorting. Although the original folder titles have been retained, the following abbreviations have been used: C.A.=County Agent; H.D.A.=Home Demonstration Agent; A.A.=Associate Agent.
70-71 Series 2: Indian Reservation Agents Annual Reports
In the early years of the Extension Service, agents posted in counties adjacent to Montana's Indian reservations assumed some of the duties associated with working for the various tribes on an ad hoc basis, but beginning in 1955 agents were specifically assigned to the task. Six of Montana's reservations had an assigned agent, all initially supervised by Verne Dusenberry. As in the case of the county agents, Indian reservation extension agents filed annual reports on their activities. The folders in this series have been arranged alphabetically by reservation name, and then chronologically within that reservation name sort.
71-73 Series 3: Special Projects Annual Reports
Several individual agricultural communities were assigned their own agents in addition to the county agents. The Huntley, Milk River, Sun River and Western Montana irrigation projects had their own agents who also filed annual reports. The folders in this series have been arranged alphabetically by project name, and then chronologically within that project name sort.
73-91 Series 4: Specialist Annual Reports
Specialist agents, not assigned to any particular county, were created to meet existing or projected needs of the Extension Service's clientele. Specialists in such areas as poultry, clothing, dairy, agricultural engineering, and many other areas performed their work and also filed annual reports. The folders in this series have been arranged alphabetically by the specialist agent title, and then chronologically within that name sort. Frequently the name of the agent is also included in the folder titles.
91-98 Series 5: Administration Files
Annual and monthly reports issued by the Montana Extension Service director and subordinate officers such as the county agent leader, home demonstration agent leader, and 4-H club leader. Some correspondence files are also present in this series. The folders in this series have been arranged alphabetically by the administrative officer's title, and then chronologically within that name sort. Occasionally the officer's name is included.
99 Series 6: Microfilmed Records from the National Archives
In 1952 the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) decided to reduce the size of Record Group 33, Extension Service Records, by microfilming the annual reports submitted by agents in the various states, including Montana. These reports were, in most cases, carbon duplicates of the reports already on file at individual state offices and the offices of individual agents, but important exceptions remained. For example, sometimes photographs submitted with the report forwarded to Washington were not duplicated in the report retained at the state level. Also, additions to the annual reports held by the state and individual agents offices occasionally were not sent to Washington and therefore not filmed. Since the potential for significant differences exists, the film has been retained as a separate series in this archives record group. NARA filmed the records in rough chronological order, with county agents, specialists, Indian agents, and administrative reports all mixed together by year. A comprehensive inventory of the microfilm reels, with a cross index, is included in Box 99.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Agricultural extension workers-Montana
  • Agricultural extension work-Montana
  • Federal aid to Indians-Montana
  • Indian reservations-Montana
  • Indians of North America-Agriculture-Montana
  • Irrigation projects-Montana

Corporate Names

  • Huntley Project (U.S.)
  • Milk River Project (U.S.)
  • Sun River Irrigation Project (U.S.)

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Montana State College-Cooperative Extension Service (creator)
    • Montana State University (Bozeman, Mont.)-Cooperative Extension (creator)