Clark County now recognized by Library of Congress as birthplace of 4-H

The library previously attributed the founding to Clarke County, Iowa.

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

An exhibit in the Library of Congress was changed to reflect Clark County, Ohio’s role in the founding of 4-H.

U.S. Rep. Mike Turner worked with the library after one of his staff who was on a tour noticed that the founding of the network of youth agricultural programs was incorrectly attributed to Clarke County, Iowa. The Library of Congress now attributes the beginnings of the program to the Ohio county.

“Clark County, Ohio played a pivotal role in the development of this critical network of youth programs, and I am encouraged by the Library’s responsiveness in correcting the exhibit.” Turner said in the release. “The 4-H youth program is an unmatched resource and has given millions of kids and teens around the country the opportunity to further their knowledge of American agriculture. The people of Southwest Ohio deserve to be recognized for our community’s contributions to this historic program.”

In the release, Roswell Encina, Library of Congress chief communications officer, thanked Turner for correcting the mistake.

“The Library of Congress strives to represent the American people in its archives by providing Members of Congress and their staffs with accurate information,” Encina said. “The 4-H legacy in Clark County, Ohio is now properly displayed in the halls of the Library of Congress.”

4-H started in 1902 when A.B. Graham, helped by the Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station and Ohio State University, started a rural youth program in the area to “promote vocational agriculture and familiarize students with new agricultural technology,” according to the release.

Corresponding programs were set up in Indiana and Nebraska in the years following throughout the Midwest. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Extension Service created a national network of these clubs in 1914.

According to the exhibit, the clubs joined “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.”

There are 1,521 club members across 72 4-H clubs in Clark County, with 420 volunteers.

Graham was inducted into the Dayton Region Walk of Fame last October for his work. At the ceremony, his granddaughter, Barbara Sydnor said that her grandfather started the program, so students could learn from each other and build friendships.

Graham began holding Boys and Girls Agriculture Club meetings in the basement of a building in Springfield. These meetings were the precursor to 4-H. which now serves youth in every state in America.

Turner is a member of the Congressional 4-H Caucus, according to the release.

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