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National 4-H History Digitization - Films and A/V Archives

National 4-H History Digitization - Films and A/V Archives


Films documenting 4-H projects and events, and telling the personal stories of 4-H members, go back before the 1920's. Even at the earliest stages, these efforts provided a variety of purposes. Some simply were produced to promote the 4-H movement… to show the benefits of becoming a 4-H member. Others were educational or instructional, often centering in on a particular 4-H project area. And, still others were produced for sheer entertainment. Many of the films were produced on location. Some were even made by Hollywood! One of the major goals of this team is to locate and document as many of these films as we can; and, to get them digitized and placed in the archives on the 4-H history preservation website. Starting off, there are only a very, very few that we have access to so this will be a tremendous challenge for the team.

In addition to the films, other A/V products such as slide sets, videos, public service announcements (PSA's), recorded interviews and other audio visual documentations will be placed in the archives as they are located and digitized. Particularly the PSA's are important because many of these were voiced by celebrities such as Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Bart Starr, Ernie Banks, and many others.

Having these audio and visual records from history are an important part of the overall mission of the National 4-H History Preservation Program.

Chairman: Larry L Krug

Team Members

Larry Quinn
Jan A Scholl
Gary Smith

Status Reports


In May an electronic letter was sent out to 100 farm broadcasters and retired farm broadcasters asking them to review the films and A/V archives on the 4-H history website and let us know if they have any thing in their archives that could help us find the films and other items we are searching for. We have already gotten several responses back and hopefully will get some materials out of this project.

Larry Krug


Have made contact with Gary Smith, retired, formerly president and owner of Venard Films in Peoria, Illinois. He is joining our team and will try to help us locate some of the old films they had in the Venard Film loan archive as well as the Farm Film Foundation archive, which Gary purchased a number of years ago. Both of these distributors -- Venard and Farm Film Foundation -- were the sources for a number of the 4-H films produced by the 4-H corporate donors.

Larry Krug


Sarah Tarjeson, 4-H Youth Educator, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, has sent us a copy of the film, "Where the Road Turns Right" on loan so we can get it digitized. This is a great 38 minute film funded by Sears-Roebuck Foundation and produced by The Venard Organization, emphasizing the importance of local volunteer leaders and centering around a husband and wife who after 20 years as leaders of their local 4-H club are reminising and thinking about passing the torch on to someone else. After we get it digitized it will be placed in our film archive on the history website and the original sent back to Wisconsin, along with a digitized copy.

Larry Krug


We were able to locate the 1943 film, "Soldiers of the Soil," funded by DuPont and have added it to the film archive. The 36 minute black and white film has a good story line, helping the war effort by placing emphasis on food production and to aid the farmer by calling attention to the abundance of scientific methods and equipment at his command.

Larry Krug


Eight additional films have been identified and added to the Films and A/V Archives during yesterday and today. Like the other films in the archive, attempts will be made to locate and digitize those films where we can do so. In some cases, digitization is not allowed, but it is still good to have the films listed so we know that they exist as historical documentation.

Larry Krug


In reviewing the great number of short video programs appearing on YouTube when searching "4-H History" a decision needs to be made how we might best preserve the appropriate entries as a part of contemporary 4-H history on the 4-H history website before they get removed from YouTube. Obviously, not all of the videos shown need to… nor should be preserved in the "name" of history, but some most definitely need to be considered. As we have found with other areas of 4-H history in this digital world, many items are eventually deleted and lost forever with no regard for their historical relevance.

How we go about this process is now under review.

Larry Krug


We are contacting staff in the State 4-H Offices of the five states that originally housed the Regional Film Libraries back in the 1960s-70s as these five regional libraries were often used to distribute 4-H films nationwide. The five instates include the University of Illinois, the University of Georgia, Oregon State University, South Dakota State University and Cornell University. Hopefully we can determine what happened to these inventories once the regional film library system was disbanded. If we can locate the inventory of just one of the five, it may be enough to bring success.

Larry Krug


Some two dozen additional films have been added to the archives database, bringing the total up to over 120. A considerable amount of time is also going into attempts to find repositories that may have copies of some of these old films.

Larry Krug, chair


It was determined that expanding the search for locating 4-H films and other A/V items and attempting to get them digitized would be one of the major focuses in 2014 for the history website. Therefore this area was broken off into a separate program team to address this area. Larry Krug will give leadership to this team, at least in getting it moving.

News from the 4-H History Preservation Team













Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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