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Home / Guide Collections / The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Collection

The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Collection

The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Collection Introduction

The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Collection spans the years 1933-2015. The collection is 7 linear feet and occupies 12 document boxes and 1 carton. Materials are in good condition. There are no restrictions for viewing the collection at Special Collections, National Agricultural Library, in Beltsville, Maryland.

In an effort to write a complete history of the Payne/National 4-H Fellowship program, co-authors Harlan G. Copeland and V. Joseph McAuliffe queried former Fellows for documents, photographs, publications, and other memorabilia regarding their year in Washington, D.C. After gathering and using these donations to write Windows to a Wider World: The Payne/National 4-H Fellowships 1931-1969, Copeland made arrangements in 2008 to store the Fellows' materials as a manuscript collection in Special Collections, National Agricultural Library. On October 13, 2008, Susan H. Fugate, Head of Special Collections made a presentation to former Fellows at the The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Reunion in Washington, D.C. She emphasized the value of keeping historical records and explained how the materials would be organized by Special Collections staff. After hearing this presentation, former Fellows or their relatives sent additional materials to Special Collections.

Those who contributed materials include Dorothy (Arvidson) Buss, Rhonwyn Lowry, Russell W. Smith, Marvin Boss, Bronna Mae (Elkins) Godwin, Vincent Joseph McAuliffe, A. Lois Redman, Charlene Lind, James C. Kemp, John Henry Stanley, Henrietta Van Maanen, Rubinette R. (Miller) Niemann, John C. Sterling, Gloria D. (Cleland) Horner, Roy Hougen, James R. Sais, Helen N. (Horimoto) Zeug, and David E. Pace, Virginia E. (White) Alford, Elizabeth (Snoddy) Cuellar, Allene (Willson) Pierce, George D. Rendell, Donald Moore, Glenice (Rugland) Johnson, Lynn L. Pesson, Georgia Beth (Smith) Thompson, Bob D. Davis, Margie (Sellers) Rice, Donald Mitchell, John H. Stanley, Merle Lee Howes, and Ralph E. Kirch.

Also included in the collection are monthly reports written by the Fellows and required by the Federal Extension Service as part of the program. These were housed in the general stacks of the National Agricultural Library at call number S544.N37. When processing of the collection began, these reports were transferred to Special Collections and incorporated into The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Collection.

The collection was arranged and described by Sara B. Lee, Special Collections Librarian, in 2009.


Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library (NAL) acquires, arranges, describes, preserves and makes available rare materials significant to the history of agriculture. Materials are obtained through donation or active collection in accordance with the established Special Collections collection development policy. Special Collections staff organize and describe materials according to archival principles and create descriptions and indexes to enhance access. Staff do not edit or otherwise modify the original materials. The views expressed in the collections do not necessarily reflect the policies of the National Agricultural Library or the United States Department of Agriculture.

Historical Sketch

The information that follows was taken directly from Harlan G. Copeland and V. Joseph McAuliffe's Windows to a Wider World: The Payne/National 4-H Fellowships 1931-1969. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Alumni and friends of the Payne/National 4-H Fellowship programs, 2008.

Payne Fellowships

The seeds that blossomed into the Fellowship idea were probably planted by Gertrude Warren, Organization Boys' and Girls' Club Work, in the office of Cooperative Extension Work, United States Department of Agriculture. In corresponding with Ella Phillips Crandall, National Committee for the Study of Juvenile Reading (later to become The Payne Fund), Warren thought that a book about life planning would be of interest to Crandall and the Committee. Crandall later requested information about "the custom of the Department of Agriculture to have two of the outstanding boys and girls of each state come to Washington in June as representative of their state 4-H organizations". Upon receiving the literature of the 4-H Clubs from Warren, Crandall responded and requested an appointment for a young staff member, S. Howard Evans, to meet with Warren. Warren extended an invitation to Evans to attend the National 4-H Club Camp. Warren learned from Evans that one of the problems of young people seemed to be that of learning how their own community life linked up with that of the nation and the relationships of their own county government to that of the state and national.

The Payne Fund, Inc. of New York City (founded 1927) had its origin in the National Committee for the Study of Juvenile Reading and was founded by Frances Payne Bolton. The original purpose of studying reading materials for promoting citizenship among youth was expanded to include studies of the effects of mass communication on social values. The Payne Fund established the Payne Fellowships for 4-H members as an experiment with the goal that the Fellowship would be the nucleus of a larger number of fellowships for young people.

The National 4-H Club Fellowship awarded by the Payne Fund consisted of the following:

  • Two fellowships of $1,000 each (1 for girls and 1 for boys) awarded for nine months' residence and study at the U.S. Department of Agriculture for 1931-1932.
  • Qualifications required of the candidates were a college degree in Agriculture or Home Economics, four years' participation in 4-H Club Work with interest continuing through college, a definite interest in Extension work in Agriculture or Home Economics, not over 25 years of age, and graduation at the final college or university commencement for the academic year 1930-1931.
  • No one section of the country was awarded the same Fellowship in two consecutive years.
  • Each state had the privilege of nominating one young man and one young woman who had shown outstanding ability in school and club work and who gave great promise of future leadership in agriculture and home economics.
  • The Office of Cooperative Extension accepted responsibility for introducing the successful candidates to this storehouse of knowledge at the United States Department of Agriculture as it related to the other departments of the Federal Government and various states.

After the first year, there were some changes. Compulsory courses on research in extension and the development of the Extension programs and other recommended postgraduate courses offered by the USDA Graduate School were added. Each Fellow had to decide on a research project which would be his or her major occupation of the year. Fellows would study relationships in the Department of Agriculture and how the financial side of government operates. The fellows would prepare a report of each month's activities.

The Payne Fellowships were originally undertaken as a two to five year experiment. Because the experiment was viewed as a success in the judgment of the Payne Fund officers and by officials in the Department, the Payne Fund officers authorized Evans to raise five million dollars to expand the program to all economic interests represented in the federal government. With no success in raising funds to expand the fellowships and because of economic conditions, the Executive Committee of the Payne Fund voted to discontinue its annual grant for the maintenance of the National 4-H Club Fellowships beyond 1938-1939.

National 4-H Fellowships

The National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work became interested in sponsoring two National 4-H Fellowships beginning in 1939 and continuing 22 years. This was probably due to the influence of Kenneth H. Anderson, a 1937-1938 Fellow who had joined the Committee's staff following the completion of his Fellowship. The Committee continued the grants with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, selecting the recipients, and supervising their studies. The name of the grants was changed to the National 4-H Fellowships.

The National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work was officially formed in 1921 to provide a way for business and industry to channel their financial support efficiently and without duplication in support of 4-H Club work. An annual National 4-H Club Congress brought 4-H members from the 50 states to Chicago for education, entertainment, and to receive national recognition. A magazine - The National 4-H News - was created for local 4-H leaders. As a non-governmental agency, the Committee testified before Congress in support of increased funding for 4-H Club work. Donors were obtained for the National 4-H Awards Programs to provide educational trips, county and state medals and college scholarships for national winners. The National 4-H Fellowships were listed among the many awards programs organized by the National Committee.

This 14-year period in the history of the National 4-H Fellowship was interrupted by World War II - when no Fellowships were awarded (1942-1947) - and by the Korean Conflict (for Donald E. Foltz).

The Massey-Harris Company - A New Partner and Benefactor

Through arrangements made by the National Committee, the National 4-H Fellowships increased from two to six when the Massey-Harris Company (later known as Massey Ferguson) became a benefactor of the program. Their sponsorship resulted in an additional 64 Fellowships during the remaining 16 years of the Fellowship program.

There is a lack of documentation about how Successful Farming magazine and the E.T. Meredith Foundation agreed to sponsor one fellowship in 1961-62.

The Fellowships End

It is unknown when the decision to terminate support of the Fellowships with the 1968-1969 program by Massey Ferguson and the National 4-H Service Committee occurred. In the book 4-H: An American Idea 1900-1980, A History of 4-H, Thomas and Marilyn Wessell suggest that National 4-H Fellowships were discontinued "when private donors withdrew their support because of economic conditions." Wikipedia reports that a series of financial difficulties and downsizing had led to Massey Ferguson being broken up before what was left of the original firm disappeared in the 1990s. A set of unsigned notes acknowledge the discontinuance of support from Massey Ferguson, but also added "Decision of Federal Extension Service (FES) to study and possibly restructure program" as reasons why the Fellowship program was discontinued (1970). There is no documentation to explain why the National 4-H Service Committee withdrew its support as well.


In summary the characteristics and advantages of the program are listed below.

Characteristics of the program should be noted:

  • The target audience was young men and young women many of whom were in their first position following college
  • The minimum length of the program was nine months and was extended to twelve months in some years
  • The program consisted of non-credit liberal arts component (i.e., the study of national government) and graduate study towards a master's degree
  • The program was conducted in Washington, D.C.-the nation's capital
  • The program was a successful example of a public-private partnership which continued for almost 40 years

This program was considered a success from the point of view of almost all of the participants. From the vantage of the Extension Service, the program:

  • uncovered Extension 4-H workers with exceptional ability, interest and motivation
  • brought "fresh thinking' to the national office form the local area
  • provided much needed public relations for Extension with other agencies and associations through the groups' asking and answering questions during their appointments and contacts
  • brought an important exchange of ideas and philosophy among states; and
  • provided an understanding of the mission and role of the federal office
Scope and Content Note

The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Collection contains monthly reports written by Fellows, papers and memorabilia saved by Fellows, photographs, publications, artifacts, and materials documenting the 2008 National 4-H Fellowship reunion. The collection is 7 linear feet and occupies 12 document boxes and 1 carton.

Each Fellow was required to submit to the Federal Extension Service a monthly report of activities he or she participated in during the previous month. These reports serve as a historical narrative of the Fellowship program and invite readers to learn about each Fellow and his or her observations and opinions about their individual and group experiences. Some of the Fellows sent these reports back to their hometown newspaper or local 4-H office. Reports are available from the second set of Fellows starting in 1933 (Series I).

Some of the earlier reports included a photograph of the Fellow. A photocopy was made of each and retained with the monthly reports. Originals were moved to the Photograph series (Series III).

Materials received by former Fellows consist of the following types of documents (Series II):

  • Fellowship application and notification telegram
  • Newspaper clippings or publications with articles regarding the Fellow's receipt of the fellowship or career work
  • Biographical information
  • Correspondence related to Fellowship
  • Schedule of appointments for Fellows
  • Notes/journal on Fellowship activities
  • Works published by any of the Fellows
  • Unique memorabilia related to Fellowship activities
  • Invitations or programs
  • Conference materials
  • Travel brochures

General 4-H materials and Fellowship publications not about or written by the specific Fellow who donated it were placed in the Publications series (Series IV). The Payne/National 4-H Fellows annual newsletter was begun in 2010 so that Fellows could keep in touch with each other. The newsletter is distributed electronically and includes information about 4-H at the National level as well as news about the former Fellows.

Photographs received by former Fellows were placed in the Photograph series (Series III). Photograph subjects include individuals (portrait style), Fellows posing during activities, Fellows pictured with sponsors, Fellows involved in National 4-H Club week and National 4-H Congress activities, and Fellows meeting the Secretary of Agriculture. Two former Secretaries of Agriculture are shown - Secretary Benson and Secretary Freeman. One photograph captures the Fellows meeting President Eisenhower.

Note that the Fellows attended the 4-H Club Congress in Chicago where they networked with state 4-H leaders on various committees such as the Delegates Program, the State Leaders program, and the Dress Review, and they helped host international guests. It was a week of seeing 4-H'ers and co-workers from their home states and enjoying banquets and entertainment away from their Washington schedule of government appointments and graduate studies. The Fellows also attended the 4-H Club Camp held in Washington, D.C. There are many programs and photographs related to these events. Fellows also had the opportunity to go sight-seeing in the Washington, D.C. area and surrounding states. Brochures of historical sites are numerous.

Series Description

Series I. National 4-H Fellowship Monthly Reports. 1932-1969. 7 boxes.

Reports are arranged chronologically by Fellowship year and then alphabetically by last name of Fellow (maiden name of married female Fellows used and shown in parentheses). Months reported varied from September through June to September through August. Reports included from all Fellows but those who participated in the first two years of the Fellowship, Andy W. Colebank and Mary L. Todd, and Don K. Wiles. The reports of Colebank and Todd are held by the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio. Folders have been designated for these Fellowship reports for the future if Special Collections receives copies.

Series II. National 4-H Fellows' Papers. 1947-2015. 3 boxes.

Papers consist of materials about or produced by the individual Fellow or group of Fellows from the Fellowship year. General 4-H materials donated or Fellowship publications not from the Fellow's grant year were placed in the Publications series. Materials are arranged chronologically by Fellowship year and then by last name of Fellow (maiden name of married female Fellows used and shown in parentheses) followed by type of material in each folder. Items from each Fellow are in chronological order as much as possible.

Series III. National 4-H Fellows' Photographs. 1931-2008. 1 box.

Photographs include portraits, group scenes, and conference photographs. Clippings with photographs of Fellows were added to this series. Photographs are arranged chronologically by Fellowship year and then by last name of Fellow (maiden name of married female Fellows used and shown in parentheses).

Series IV. Publications. 1933-2010. 1 box.

Publications include general ones on the history of 4-H, the National 4-H Fellowship, and/or Fellows. Materials are arranged in chronological order.

Series V. Artifacts. 1954-2005. .5 box.

Items include memory plate, 4-H clover symbol wood block, and wood gavel. Artifacts are arranged by year created.

Series VI. National 4-H Fellowship Reunion. 2008. .5 box.

Items include letters, emails, and completed registration forms, guest book, and autographed publication for The Payne/National 4-H Fellowship Reunion titled “Windows to a Wider World: The Payne/National 4-H Fellowships 1931-1969,” held October 11-13, 2008.

Additional Resources

Banning, John. "Memo to J. Neil Raudabaugh, 'The National 4-H Fellowship Program.'" Washington : Federal Extension Service, United States Department of Agriculture, November 3, 1966.

Copeland, Harlan G. and V. Joseph McAuliffe. Windows to a Wider World: The Payne/National 4-H Fellowships 1931-1969. Arden Hills, Minnesota: Allegra Print and Imaging, 2008.
NAL Call Number: S533.F66 C67 2008

The Extension Service Review (1931-1941, 1950, and 1954).
Publication of the Cooperative Extension Service; U.S. Department of Agriculture and state land-grant colleges and universities cooperating.
NAL Call Number: 1Ex892Ex

"Massey Ferguson ." Wikipedia. (accessed February 23, 2010).

National 4-H News. Chicago, National 4-H Service Committee.
(recipients: 1937-1942, 1947-1960, 1961, 1966, 1968; state 4-H staff changes in "State Briefs" 1933-1960; and 1939-1940 Fellows provided five articles about their Fellowship experience March-August 1940)
NAL Call Number: 275.28 N212

National Archives and Records Administration. 4-H Collection. One box labeled "National 4-H Fellowship and Other Fellowships."

National Committee on Boys and Girls Work/National 4-H Service Committee Files.
(Documentation pertaining to the continuation of the Fellowships in 1939-1940 by the National Committee and to the Committee's involvement in obtaining financial support of sixty-four Fellowships by Massey-Ferguson and one Fellowship by Successful Farming /Edwin T. Meredith Foundation - not located at the National 4-H Council, the National Agricultural Library, or National Archives II.)

Papers of Congresswoman Frances Payne Bolton and the Payne Fund pertaining to the Payne Fellowship. The Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.
(Collection includes correspondence between S. Howard Evans of the Payne Fund and Extension Service personnel [Gertrude Warren, C.B. Smith and M.C. Wilson] and a file of each of the 16 Payne Fellows including a photograph, monthly reports, copies of major and minor theses, reports of classes taken, reports of government agencies visited, and an academic record.)

Sternheim [Dilts], Laura S. "National 4-H Fellowship, National 4-H Doctoral Fellowship Report 1987." Elsie Carper Collection on Extension Service, Home Economics and 4-H, Subseries III.G. National Agricultural Library, Beltsville, Maryland.
(Conducted a telephone survey of 16 former National 4-H Fellows as part of her project to develop a proposed "National 4-H Doctoral Fellowship Program." Respondents cited learning about the United States Department of Agriculture and other government agencies, the national picture of Extension and 4-H and the opportunity to obtain an advanced degree as the primary benefits of the program.)

Taff, Paul C. "Forty Years of Service to 4-H Clubs - A History of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work." Unpublished typewritten manuscript, 1956.
(Cites the need for 4-H research as the need for establishing the Fellowships in 1931.)

Wessell, Thomas and Marilyn Wessell. 4-H: An American Idea 1900-1980, A History of 4-H. Chevy Chase, Maryland: National 4-H Council, 1982.
(Briefly acknowledge the existence of the Fellowship program in their histories of 4-H Club Work.)