1931-1936 – A huge handmade scrapbook documenting an Iowa teenager’s participation and leadership in her county’s 4-H program.
Rutland, Iowa: 1931-1936. Album.
This handmade, cord-bound scrapbook, made by Blythe P. Bair of Rutland, Iowa, measures 8½” x 11” and is three inches thick. It contains over 75 cardstock pages filled with over 500 photographs, essays, documents, ribbons, tickets, pamphlets, booklets, programs, newsletters, clippings, and other ephemera including an pin featuring the tower at Iowa State College that document Blythe’s 4-H career that culminated as a high school senior with her election as the Humboldt County 4-H President for 1936. All but one or two of the items are affixed to the pages. It is in nice shape with some edgewear; some of the pages have been reinserted and one of the front cover binding holes has been repaired.
Blythe entered the scrapbook into a state-wide 4-H competition jointly sponsored by the Iowa State College of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It is neatly done and very well organized; chronologically within ten tabbed section’s titled Photograph, Questionnaire, Letters, Record Books, Club Programs, Expense Record, Activities, Story of Clubwork, Kodak Pictures, and Clippings.
Blythe was an active participant in 4-H activities, not just participating club, county, and state activities, contests, and exhibitions, but taking on leadership and organizer roles for all six years. She won numerous awards for horticulture, flower arranging, baking, sewing, and canning. The state selected jars of her canned pork and beef for entry into the nationwide championship.. Very good. Item #010056
After graduating from high school, Blythe attended the American Institute of Business in Des Moines. Following her graduation, she married Bradford J. Colbert and together they opened and operated a successful chain of shoe stores in Wisconsin and Minnesota, apparently until her death in 1983.
Although the Humboldt County 4-H program officially was organized in 1916 by the Cooperative Farm Bureau and Iowa State University Extension Program, it didn’t truly begin until ten years later in 1926. Initially it was divided into to “committees” one for girls and one for boys. The boys program focused on raising cows, pigs, sheep, and, of course, corn. The girls’ program focused on rural homemaking including canning, baking, nutrition, family health, and clothing including the making of brassieres and girdles (for which Blythe once won an award). Both boys and girls participated in athletic activities and were able to attend a summer camp.
(For more information, see online genealogical information related to Blythe Bair Colbert and “Humboldt County, Iowa 4-H History” at the Iowa 4-H Foundation website.)
An exceptional six-year pre-World War Two time capsule of 4-H programs for girls in the midst of the Great Depression. At the time of listing, no other similar items are for sale in the trade or has been listed for auction per the Rare Book Hub. OCLC shows only six institutions hold similar pre-war 4-H scrapbooks..