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University of Connecticut, Cooperative Extension Service Records

Identifier: 1970-0003

Scope and Content

The majority of the collection contains publications, reports, studies, documents and ephemeral materials collected and used used as background and research for the development and preparation for the writing of a centennial narrative history of the program at the University of Connecticut. Additional materials documenting the history of Cooperative Extension in the state were collected and donated by Nancy and David Bull.

The remaining Series contain the records periodically transferred to the Archives by CES, the College of Agriculture, county extension offices and individual members of 4-H clubs.

County agent reports (Cooperative Extension work in Agriculture and Home Economics) can also be found in the University of Connecticut, Agricultural Economics Department Records.


  • undated, 1888 -

Restrictions on Access

The collection is open and available for research.

Restrictions on Use

Permission to publish from these Papers must be obtained in writing from the owner(s) of the copyright.


Three acts signed by President Lincoln in 1862 shaped the U.S. Agricultural history: the act authorizing a U.S. Department of Agriculture; the Homestead Act, encouraging settlement of public domain lands; and the Morrill Act establishing land grant colleges in every state and placing instruction in agriculture and home economics in higher education.

The history and formation of the Cooperative Extension Service dates back to The Hatch Act of 1887 which established a cooperative bond between United States Department of Agriculture and the nation's land-grant colleges, allocating annual federal funding for research. This was one of the ways to improve the productivity of the farms and by doing this, build up the economy and also help the communities. It was the driving force for the land-grant colleges to meet the agriculture's needs. The Smith-Lever Act in 1914 also helped to establish the Cooperative Extension Service by providing funds for cooperative administration of agricultural extension education by the United States Department of Agriculture and the state land grant colleges.

On April 21, 1881 the Connecticut General Assembly voted to establish the Storrs Agricultural School and in 1893, approved an act "establishing the Storrs Agricultural College [later the University of Connecticut] and providing for the distribution of money received from the United States for Educational purposes." With the passage of this act, the institution which would become the University of Connecticut was designated the state's land-grant college and the recipient of federal funds for agricultural education [see Connecticut Agricultural College: A History for the details regarding the controversy with Yale University over land-grant status]. One form of this agricultural education was the Cooperative Extension Service program.

The Cooperative Extension Service provides information to farmers and homemakers, and offers assistance in the production and marketing of farm products as well as home managment. The four main areas of Cooperative Extension Service involvement are agricultural production and farm management, homemaking and home economics, boys and girls clubs, and finally marketing and cooperation.

While the modern Cooperative Extension Service came into existence in 1914, the Connecticut Agricultural College, as the University of Connecticut was called at the time, offered educational outreach services as early as 1893. Professor A.B. Peebles provided the the initial push to start the program and in 1896 he initiated a two year plan of systematic reading for farmers. The Connecticut Agricultural College designated five-hundred dollars for the project and provided two traveling libraries for the students.

The Cooperative Extension Service took its modern form with the passage of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914, which charged land grant colleges, such as the Connecticut Agricultural College, to add the mission of outreach to their already existing functions. The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 sparked an active and energetic Cooperative Extension Service program at the University of Connecticut under which they formed 4-H Clubs and provided lectures in home economics.

World War I significantly increased the activities of the Cooperative Extension Service program. The program developed cooperative efforts with the State Food Division and the Federal Food Administration, and home demonstration activities were also increased as a result of the war.

After World War I, the Cooperative Extension Service again experienced a period of expansion. In 1919, the Connecticut General Assembly appropriation increased the program's budget from thirty thousand dollars to one-hundred thirty-four thousand dollars. In addition to increased funding, the Cooperative Extension Service also implimented agricultural specialists in areas such as rural health, clothing, and various disciplines of agricultural science.

In later years, the Cooperative Extension Service developed an active cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as with other state agricultural agencies. By the late 1940s the Cooperative Extension Service was directing an increased attention toward groups such as the Parent-Teacher Association, Visiting Nurse Association, and other service clubs.

In 1989, the Cooperative Extension Service became the Cooperative Extension System. Today, the Cooperative Extension System at the University strives to help Connecticut's diverse population manage their family resources and develop strong family units through increased employability, bettering their decision making abilities, and by promoting enhanced self esteem. Through programs focused on the topics of parenting, 4-H and youth development, agriculture and the environment, nutrition and food safety, child care, money management, lead poisoning and health the CES serves to guide children, youth and adults in coping with the challenges of everyday living.


60.8 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The Series I contains publications, reports, studies, documents and ephemeral materials collected and used as background and research for the development and preparation for the writing of a centennial narrative history of the program at the University of Connecticut. The remainder of the collection documents the activities and programs of CES over time as a unit within the College of Agriculture at the University of Connecticut.

Acquisition Information

Materials in the collection have been transferred to the University Archives periodically since 1970.

Location of Copies or Alternate Formats

Digital reproductions of materials in this collection may also be found in the Archives & Special Collections digital repository.

University of Connecticut, Cooperative Extension Service Records
Under Revision
Archives & Special Collections staff
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US