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National 4-H Calendar and National 4-H Poster Programs

National 4-H Calendar and National 4-H Poster Programs


Responsible for the research and writing of the segments on the Calendar and Poster Programs for the National 4-H History section of the 4-H History website. Coordinates the search and documentation of original artwork for these programs and determines the potential need for repairing or refurbishing the artwork. Works with National 4-H Youth Conference Center leadership in developing a plan for the proper public display and/or storage of artwork pieces, including protection, security and insurance.

Co-Chairman: F. Sue Benedetti
Co-Chairman: Larry L. Krug

Team Members

David E. Benedetti
Paul Koehlar
Eleanor L Wilson

Status Reports


The draft copy for the section on the National 4-H Poster Program is hoped to be completed within the next couple of days and ready to have posted on the website.

Larry Krug


Rick is exchanging the database for information on calendar art that Larry had originally produced over to the database that Sue has been maintaining. Sue's is more up-to-date, has additional information and a number of pictures of the actual artwork.

Larry Krug


Locating 4-H Art: Jim Kahler discovered that the Mayo Olmstead 1975 Brown and Bigelow art that was being offered on Ebay has been offered again recently. The bidding closed on May 24 with no bids but has immediately been offered again until May 31. Yesterday I downloaded all of the pertinent images of his painting fo our archival information on the website.

When askied if NIFA could simply get it back from the dealer; Jim reported that there's a process that Ebay requires to file for infringement. Difficult to send a cease and desist, since we don't know who the seller is. So we'd have difficulty trying to enforce anything. Jim suspects that he'd try other means to sell it to recoup his investment, and we'd never know. When this originally posted Jim tred to see if I could search to find who the seller might be since location listed is a small town, but no luck.

Under the circumstances, Jim's personal opinion (not representing 4-H HQ) would be either take the chance on bidding or hope that it doesn't sell and then thru Ebay contact the seller to see if interested in a direct sale (Ebay frowns on the latter when an item is up for bid.)

It will be discussed at the meeting today to get a feel for how the group wants to proceed. I had also asked Carolyn if we did bid and get the painting if she would be able to pay for it directly by credit card.

The good news on locating calendar art for this week is that Paul Koehler or someone at the Center found the piece that Sue had photographed several years ago before it disappeared. It was found in a machine room with the pieces of Service Committee art that used to hang in the heritage hallway before they re-did it about 6 years ago. I'm not sure how it happened to be there but it may have been that Maya (who used to be on the Center sales staff) took it down from the wall and replaced it with the poster that then continued to get ruined by the light. Anyway, here's that 36th painting. The frame looks just like many of the Brown and Bigelow ones but I don't know the year. Hopefully we can trace it.

Art restoration: Other good news on the art front is that the final two pieces of art that needed repair and preservation work done have been finished and returned this past weekend. They can be hung in the Heritage Hallway with some minor adjustment to the arrangement there. We are also working with the exhibit installation company to build a cover and display the only art study we have beside the painting in Kathleen's room This will add another element to the north wall and serve as a good wlay to document the calendar creation process.

Sue Benedetti


National 4-H Calendar and Poster Program Team Update Report

Two more restored calendar art paintings have been hung in the Heritage Hallway since our last meeting and one more is in the restoration workshop with an estimated completion date of early May. That will complete the work on the current purchase order. However, three additional pieces have been identified and the restoriation technician has been asked to re-evaluate the rest of the collection to see if there has been any additional damage since the initial inspection in early 2014. There are currently only three pieces of original poster or calendar art in the storage room. It is the desire of this team to have them all hanging at the end of this restoration project in order to subject them to less damage. Those possibilities are being explored as the process continues.

Work also continues on the documentation to accompany each of the paintings. We had a breakthrough this week when we found biographical information and prices of sold works by seven of our eight identified artists. The only one not found is unfortuately the artist who painted both posters and calendars - William C. Griffith. However, I believe that Larry has some information on him. This information will be extremely important when the artwork is appraised. We have enough material on the paintings in the Heritatge Hallway to produce an interesting QR Code "Gallery Tour" of 4-H History with a combination of Calendar and Poster art in time for CWF this summer. Unfortunately there are five paintings for which we do not have years of publication or calendar company that produced them but these can be identified as mysteries that visitors can help us solve. However, we have found that one of the artist's received an academy award. Through documents we have found in recent weeks we have also found interesting stories about where they were painted, correct calendar companies to attribute the art to as well as year's that they were produced.

Sue Benedetti


A purchase order was prepared, signed by Council and provided to our restoration vendor for the minor repairs of eight (8) pieces of calendar art to be done on-site and an additional five (5) major restoration and protection from future damage to be completed in the vendor's workshop for a total estimate of $2,500. This estimate also included the evaluation of four additional pieces of calendar and one original poster.

The vendor has already completed the minor restoration on 10 pieces of art, including two of the ones that he was to evaluate. Most of these pieces were already hanging in hallways or offices throughout the 4-H Center. However, we were able to install one painting above the cabinets outside of the board room and two others in the third floor corridor outside Center staff offices. The one remaining restored piece is the sketch of the one hanging in Kathleen's Room. It was returnd to the store room until we can work out a way to include it next to the painting and protect it from intense light.

The restorer is currently working on two large paintings with rather serious damage and hopes to complete them within the next week or so. The items on this purchase order should be completed by the time of our April meeting. That will leave one piece of poster art and one piece of calendar art to be completed.

Based on our discussions with Paul Kohler and Ellen Markowitz we need to move ahead with the design and purchase of lockable protective covers for the art in the most vulnerable places as soon as possible because there will be no work done on the new Center design in any less than two years. The latest estimate that we received for such covers is +/- $300 per painting; depending on size. Council owns 35 pieces of original calendar art and eight pieces of poster art.

Sue Benedetti



During April/May 2013 research was done on the five major calendar companies producing 4-H calendars to determine if any archival materials, calendar samples, original artwork or any other records pertaining specifically to their company's 4-H calendars still exist. Three of these companies no longer exist; the remaining two have been sold and are still in business but do not carry calendars as a major product line.


First called the reference department at the Coshocton Public Library. They confirmed that Shaw-Barton had gone out of business years ago; had not been bought out, but simply closed their doors. They did not know what happened to their archives or records, but said the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum in town may have additional information and provided their number.

Patti Malenke, director, said that some calendar company in Kansas purchased much of the calendar inventory when Shaw-Barton closed and she will try to locate their name. She also said there were people around town who had been employees of Shaw-Barton. Later I received an eMail from Patti saying she had given my name and phone number to John McPeek who had worked closely with the Calendar Program but I have not yet heard from him.

Patti Malenke's phone number is 740.622.8710 or


The Murphy Company closed a number of years ago but the reference librarian at the Red Oak Public Library said that for the remaining records and photos from the calendar program at Thomas D. Murphy, all of these records and photos are there at the library, however the copyright restrictions do not allow them to make copies for people. This may need some additional clarification. The library can be reached at or at 712.623.6516. Hours are 10am-5pm.


One of the leading calendar companies in America at one time, Gerlach-Barklow was bought out by Shaw-Barton years ago. It appears that the best key here may be a book, "Joliet's Gerlach Barklow Calendar Company" published in 2009 by local historians, Tim and Michelle Smith, and including many Gerlaclh-Barklow illustrations from the authors' personal collection. The book is available through book stores for $18; the Smiths live in nearby Plainfield, Illinois, but I have not been able to locate a contact phone number or eMail for them, as yet.


Gettier-Montanye is still in business as a custom printing and promotion company. Their website is In early May I wrote an eMail letter to the contact offered on the website, Lyle Montanye at but have not yet received a reply. The company's phone number is 410.833.0820.


Brown & Bigelow is still in business in St. Paul. Although they really do not have a formal archive, through a phone conversation with Barb Strom, in their art department, she was well aware of the 4-H calendar program from years ago and said they have a couple of boxes with some records and perhaps sample calendars. Although they do not have staff time to do research for queries such as ours, it may be possible to get assistance in one of two different ways. If we sent Barb a listing of what "holes" remain in calendar images from Brown & Bigelow, she might be able to help us; or, if one of our history preservation volunteers living in the St. Paul area might be able to pay the company a visit, perhaps they could see what is in the boxes first hand. The phon number is 651.293.7495; eMail

Larry Krug, co-chair


We have located, inventoried and documented 34 pieces of Original 4-H Calendar Art at the National 4-H Center. In addition there is one other piece of original art which is a pencil/charcoal study for one of these 33 pieces. The original poster art documentation hasn't been completed as yet. We have also located and photographed two reproductions, one calendar and one scan of a calendar from the Wessel book that represent pieces that we do not have in the collection on which we have some documentation. There are 20 additional calendars that we have some documentation through the National 4-H News and various newsletters. All of those pieces currently appear on the website calendar art database along with some of the ones we have just completed inventorying.

Of the 34 pieces of Original Art:

6 pieces have unknown dates and 1 is an estimated date
3 pieces have no visible signature
3 pieces have been restored and preserved in the past 10 years
2 pieces have current sponsors for total or partial restoration/preservation
13 are done by Brown & Bigelow
10 are done by Shaw-Barton
3 are done by Thomas G. Murphy Co.
1 by Gettier-Montayne
1 by Gerlich-Barklow with Shaw-Barton
The others are not known.

Eleanor and Sue showed three pieces of the original art, which had Home Economics elements, at the March meeting of the DC Phi U chapter which was held in Kathleen's room earlier this month. The group voted to give $150 to sponsor the restoration/preservation of the 1951 Brown & Biglow calendar of the Jersey cow and 4-H girl and boy. One of the members who is a 4-H and IFYE alum and former IFYE Fellow working with Kathleen Flom would like to sponsor the full Restoration/Preservation of the 1955 Shaw-Barton calendar featuring the 4-H family on the front porch with their 4-H projects of sewing, baking and livestock. Eleanor and Sue have selected other pieces of art to be shown (via electronic photos) to the 1968 National 4-H Fellows group and Minnesota Vintage 4-H group over the next several months. Eleanor has written an article about this venture for next month's newsletter.

One of the unknown pieces of art was featured in the March issue of the 4-H History Newsletter to try to get information with which we can identify the piece. So far we haven't heard fron anyone. Howver, a Utah 4-H alum contacted us through our e-mail address asking about the date of a piece of Calendar art for which he and other club members had served as models. His description matched one of the pieces that we had inventoried. He has helped us to locate information about the artist as well as identifying the Extension agent and some other 4-H'ers in the Shaw-Barton beautifiction painting which hangs in the Heritage Corridor. We plan to write this up for next month's newsletter.

Sue Benedetti, co-chair


The leadership group had a discussion on the need for guidelines on how to protect art (often getting ruined in storage rooms around the Center). It was suggested that selected pieces by hung in the Anderson Gallery (one of the original intended purposes for this room). Sue Benedetti announced that the data presently being recorded in the two separate calendar databases will soon be merged into one.

Other ways and events for exhibiting the calendar art will be addressed, including the possibility of perhaps making professional reproduced copies for traveling exhibits.

(Sue Benedetti, Chair)


Drafts of both the 4-H calendar and poster program website sections have been written by Larry Krug. Sue Benedetti developed a database to gather information on the calendar artwork displayed and stored throughout the 4-H Conference Center and the process of identifying the locations of various pieces is underway. An additional database was developed by Rick Moses to document information gleened from newsletters and National 4-H News relating to the annual announcements of calendars or presentation ceremonies.

An exhibit of historic calendar art is planned for display at the 2012 National 4-H Conference at the National 4-H Conference Center in late March with possible adaptations for uses at other events or locations. Sue and Dave Benedetti and Jim Kahler are giving leadership to this project with the assistance of the rest of the leadership team.

(Sue Benedetti, Co-Chair)

News from the 4-H History Preservation Team














Compiled by National 4-H History Preservation Team.

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