Scope and Contents
Collection of photographs and printed material from the West Virginia University Extension Service. The photographs include 4-H camps, Farm Women's Clubs and other various activities. Many are unidentified or undated. The printed material includes some annual reports, Extension Service publications regarding wildlife and tourism, and books on regional colleges and extension programs. Also included are photographs and reports from Oglebay Institute in Wheeling, WV.
Biographical / Historical
The University’s extension service grew out of its inception under the Morrill Act of 1862. Founded in 1867 as a land-grant school under the Morrill Act, West Virginia University’s mission thus included the charge to teach practical agriculture in addition to military science and classical studies. The scope of the agricultural mission was expanded in 1909, through the College of Agriculture, to include not only the University’s students, but also any citizen of West Virginia engaged in agricultural work. This instruction, or extension service, was to occur at appropriate centralized locations, and to be conducted through lectures, correspondence school, and reading courses.
Although the University’s extension service was initially supported by only the state, the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 established a national system of cooperative extension services connected to land-grant universities, thus leveraging the financial resources of the federal government to the purpose of informing citizens regarding current developments in agricultural practices.
Early in the 20th century, rural communities supported boys “corn clubs” and girls “canning clubs” in order to teach practical skills, a movement in which WVU Extension involved itself. With the passage of the Smith-Lever Act in 1914, the U.S. Department of Agriculture also became involved in supporting these rural clubs. By 1918, these West Virginia clubs for youth identified themselves using the 4-H logo and name. In 1921, Jackson’s Mill, the childhood home of Stonewall Jackson in Lewis County, became the first state 4-H camp in America.
In addition to its efforts in supporting boys and girls clubs, WVU Extension reached out to farmers in the state as well. To this end, Extension hired four county agricultural agents in 1912-1913, including B.B. Ezell who worked out of the Chamber of Commerce office in Kanawha County, and who often rode by horseback to access rural communities. Mabel Sutherland, a teacher, became his assistant in her work with girls canning clubs.
Home demonstration geared towards women was another important aspect of the growth of extension. Farm Women’s clubs, later called Home Demonstration clubs and Extension Homemaker clubs, now Community and Educational Outreach Service (CEOS) Clubs, became an important way to share new information on advances in home economics.
This collection of photographs and printed matter represent the variety of work undertaken by the Extension Office from its beginning through the early 2000s.
5.8 Linear Feet (5 ft. 10 in. (4 record cartons, 15 in. each); (1 document case, 5 in.); (2 document cases; 2 1/2 in. each))