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4-H Promotion Compendium: 4-H At A Century Of Progress World’s Fair

A National Compendium of 4-H Promotion and Visibility over the Past Century

4-H At A Century Of Progress World’s Fair

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A Century of Progress World's Fairs held in Chicago operated for two years – 1933 and 1934 – and were two of the most successful, largest world's fairs in history. 4-H, with the strong backing of the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work which was based in Chicago, had a strong presence at these fairs.

This 8-horse team of ton-weight Clydesdale geldings was widely known as the "4-H Hitch." The team, composed primarily of horses owned by The Union Stock Yard and Transit Company of Chicago, headed the 4-H Club parades at the leading fairs and livestock expositions and were frequently seen roaming the grounds of the Chicago World's Fair. The owner of the team operated the largest live stock market in the world where nearly $2 million worth of living property were sold and delivered every business day of the year in the 1930's.

In the Spring of 1933, due to the number of requests coming in from county agents across the country regarding the upcoming World's Fair, the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work created a 4-H World's Fair Tour Department. The department offered to arrange accommodations for lodging, parking, admission to the fair, meals, guides... the total package! A souvenir 4-H badge was also given to each participant. To stay one day and one night (including hotel room, 3 meals, admission, sight-seeing motor tour of the world's fair grounds) cost $5.55 per person. Longer stays were proportionately less. Most groups were housed at the Auditorium Hotel on Michigan Avenue, right across the street from the World's Fair.

The official badge was a ribbon that had a large 4-H clover at the top, "4-H Tours" in large lettering, then the official "A Century of Progress" logo, and finally "1933" at the bottom.

In addition to the National Committee's 4-H World's Fair Tour Department, the formal World's Fair Visitor's Tourist Service, Inc.

Robert McCurdy, 4-H'er of Oskaloosa, Iowa receives his new Plymouth DeLuxe sedan in the Chrysler grandstand at A Century of Progress. With him is Barney Oldfield, one of the greatest race car drivers of all time, who made the presentation. McCurdy was one of five winners in a 4-H story writing contest sponsored by Chrysler Motors Corporation through the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work. All won automobiles!

which handled tourist accommodations for out of town fair visitors, also had an actual 4-H Dept. and advertised heavily in National Boys and Girls Club News for 4-H members and leaders to become their local representatives promoting the fair in their local towns and communities and earning commissions.

An article in the June 1933 Boys and Girls Club News highlights the impressions of the fair by delegates going to the National 4-H Camp in Washington, D.C. who stopped by Chicago to see the fair on the way. The bus load represented South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and New Mexico. They were staying at the Auditorium Hotel and having a great time.

During the early winter months of 1934 the National Committee on Boys and Girls Club Work joined the Agricultural Council of the Chicago Association of Commerce, the National Livestock and Meat Board, and the Agricultural Department of the National Broadcasting Company in advising the Century of Progress planners in making the huge agricultural area of the fair more accessible for farm families to park, enter and be entertained. Most of the major exhibitors in this area were strong 4-H donors with their corporate executives sitting on the National Committee's board. The Armour exhibit dramatized the packing industry with huge dioramas. Thos. E. Wilson's six-horse team performed regularly at the Wilson exhibit and roof gardens. International Harvester's huge exhibit portrayed the advancement of agriculture by means of power and modern machinery. Swift and Company presented the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in the Swift "floating" theatre with stage terraces and restaurants of unique design. A streamlined dairy barn outfitted with DeLaval's equipment, allowed for two cows in the exhibit to be milked every 15 minutes, the milk passing through glass tubes to a weighting jar, then carried through vacuum pipes over a cooler and into the bottles without being exposed to air.

Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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