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Records of the Colorado 4-H

Identifier: ACFH

Scope and Contents

The Records of the Colorado 4-H consists of documents, photographs and artifacts that date from the 1921 to 2007, bulk 1970s to 1990s. The collection includes three-dimensional artifacts, photographs, slides, negatives, computer data, video and audio recordings, publications and manuals, meeting minutes, program and event planning documents and programs, brochures, booklets, and leaflets, newsletters, news clippings, alumni, leader, enrollment, and member lists and reports, annual reports, and scrapbooks and yearbooks. Topics include Colorado 4-H camps; 4-H activities and programs; member services and projects; national, regional, state, and county 4-H events and groups; and agricultural and social reference documents. Items that have been digitized are available in CSU's digital repository, Mountain Scholar.


  • Creation: 1921-2007
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-1999


Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, it is stored off-site, so advance notice is recommended.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.


The Colorado 4-H is the youth division of the Colorado State University Extension program. 4-H had its beginnings in youth instruction offered by college agricultural agents as early as 1910, as part of the outreach mission of the Colorado land grant institution. The 1914 Smith-Lever Act officially established Extension throughout the nation, and some of the earliest projects recorded in the Colorado county agent annual reports pertain to "boys' and girls' clubs," as the 4-H programs were first known (no relation to the Boys and Girls Club of America).

Following their pledge to develop "Head, Heart, Hands, and Health," these boys' and girls' clubs were some of the most successful areas of the Extension program in Colorado from the start. By 1915, participants in clubs were required to keep careful records on matters pertaining to their projects. In 1917, nine projects were offered in club work: cooking, sewing, gardening and canning, poultry, pig, corn, potato, beans, and cow-testing. Colorado club members were present at the Sioux City Interstate Fair in 1919, and at the National Western Stock Show in Denver that same year. The 4-H Round-Up, a week-long event for 4-Hers at the National Western Stock Show, began in 1930. In 1937, Colorado sent its first delegation to the National 4-H Club Camp in Washington, D.C.

Today, the National 4-H program functions as one of the largest out-of-school education programs for boys and girls on a state, national and world level. 4-H operates under the fundamental ideal of "learning by doing", which encourages youth to experiment, innovate and think independently. Currently there are three primary program areas: science, engineering and technology; healthy living; and citizenship. The title of Youth Development encompasses these program areas.


77.5 linear feet (53 record cartons, 2 document cases, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



The Colorado 4-H, an educational program of the Colorado Extension, is Colorado State University's youth outreach in agriculture, mechanic arts, and home economics. The Colorado 4-H manages events, members, leaders, and agents of the National 4-H program in Colorado. This collection contains documents and artifacts from the 4-H office of Colorado Extension, including meeting minutes, newsletters, reports, site and program planning documents, reference documents, pamphlets and booklets, publications, photographs, clippings, scrapbooks, annual reports, and artifacts. Items that have been digitized are available in CSU's digital repository, Mountain Scholar.


This collection is divided into eight format-based series. These series are further divided into subseries that have been arranged alphabetically and chronologically.

The collection consists of eight series in 53 records cartons, 2 document cases, and 1 oversize box:

Series 1: Office files, 1921-2005 and undated

Subseries 1.1: Certificates, 1952-1981

Subseries 1.2: Meeting minutes, 1937-1995

Subseries 1.3: Memos, 1995-1998

Subseries 1.4: Newsletters, 1978-1983 and 1987-1996

Subseries 1.5: Planning/events documents, 1960-2005 and undated

Subseries 1.6: Programs and groups, 1948-2001 and undated

Subseries 1.7: Awards and scholarships, 1922-1993 and undated

Subseries 1.8: Reference documents, 1921-1987 and undated

Subseries 1.9: Reports, 1948-1996

Subseries 1.10: Site planning, 1952-1986

Subseries 1.11: Classes for leaders, 1978, 1981, 1986 and undated

Subseries 1.12: Reference documents supplemental, 1978, 1981, 1986 and undated

Series 2: Photographs/slides/negatives, 1927-2007 and undated

Subseries 2.1: Photographs, 1927, 1930s-1940s, 1941, 1945-1964, 1970, 1975, 1980-1994, 2001, 2004-2007 and undated

Subseries 2.2: Negatives, 1968, c. 1979-1980, 1990-1991

Subseries 2.3: Slides, 1967, 1979, 1981, 1988-1992 and undated

Series 3: Publications, 1927-1988

Subseries 3.1: Member and leader project manuals, 1958-1988 and undated

Subseries 3.2: Music and songbooks, 1927-1970, 1975-1986 and undated

Subseries 3.3: Published reference, 1952, 1958, 1961, 1967, 1970-1974, 1980-1987 and undated

Subseries 3.4: Annuals and yearbooks, 1954-1962, 1977-1978

Series 4: Audio/visual media, 1968, 1981, 1989-1995 and undated

Subseries 4.1: Audio, 1968 and undated

Subseries 4.2: Video, 1981, 1989-1995 and undated

Series 5: Digital media, 1989-1995 and 2003-2004

Series 6: Clippings, 1947, 1953-1958, 1969, 2004 and undated

Series 7: Scrapbooks and display panels, 1950s-1960s, 1972-1982 and undated

Series 8: Artifacts, 1950-1951, 1983-1992, 1998-2002 and undated


The Records of the Colorado 4-H were acquired by the Colorado Agricultural Archive as two different accessions in 2008. This was done as the Colorado 4-H moved its offices from Aylesworth Hall to the General Services Building on the Colorado State University campus.

Online Materials

Some materials have been scanned and are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.

Related Collections

The Records of the Colorado 4-H are related in content to the Records of the Colorado Cooperative Extension, the Records of the Extension Homemakers Council, the Papers of Glenn E. Wilson, Jr., and the Records of the National Western Stock Show.


Processing was completed in March 2010. Document materials were processed using some aspects of minimal processing. Metal paperclips have been removed where possible. Staples have not been removed. Documents were placed in acid-free folders and stored in acid-free boxes. Large format documents and bound materials have been placed in larger format acid-free boxes and padded with acid-free tissue paper. Some large format materials have been stored flat in acid-free folders and separated with acid-free tissue. Photographs contained in scrapbooks and albums have been interleaved with acid-free tissue, and acidic materials within scrapbooks and albums have been buffered with acid-free tissue. Individual photographs re-housed in acid-free folders have been separated with acid-free paper. Negatives have been housed separately from the photographs within acid-free folders. Three-dimensional artifacts have been wrapped in acid-free tissue and stored in acid-free boxes. Some of the smaller artifacts have been stored in acid-free compartmentalized trays and placed in acid-free boxes. Several nitrate negatives have been removed from the bulk of the collection and stored in protective storage. In addition, materials beyond two copies of individual items have been discarded.

Inventory Note

Note: Title information supplied by the archivist is bracketed. Two identical copiesof the same item are indicated by the phrase "2 copies" at the end of the entry,following the number of pages of each copy. Authored articles, books, and studiesare listed in bibliographic form.

Guide to the Records of the Colorado 4-H
Edited Full Draft
Prepared by Caroline Blackburn
Copyright 2010
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA