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Audio-Visual Materials, 1935 - 2003

 Series

Scope and Contents

From the Collection: The records of the National FFA Organization contain extensive documentation of the organization, its programs and activities, and its leadership. Although the administrative records contain scattered internal information related to National Advisors and Executive Secretaries, the minutes of the Board of Directors is complete. Other highlights in the collection include the records of the international programs documenting the growth of student exchange programs and future farmer organizations in other countries; public relations activities that include press releases, calendars, and FFA Week materials; and National Conventions that contain a complete set of proceedings from 1928-1998, press releases about award winners, and scripts of pageants performed at the conventions. A sense of rural America is fostered through radio program scripts from the 1930s and 1940s and a massive collection of photographs documenting the growth and changes in rural agriculture in the United States from the late 1920s to the present, national award winners in FFA contests, National Student Officers, and adult leaders in the organization.

Board of Directors Records, 1928-2005, consist of the newsletter, Board Issues, board minutes and index, and correspondence. Board Issues is sent to members involved with the Board of Directors, the Board of National Student Officers, and the Foundation Board of Trustees. It discusses issues from the meetings that directly affect the national organization. A complete set of the Board minutes, 1928-1996, document all major decisions within the National FFA Organization. For Board minutes prior to 1957 there is an index available arranged by topic. For more in depth information there are scattered committee reports located within this series. Further information about the board and the decisions made by the student membership can be found in the National FFA Convention proceedings located in the National Convention records. National Officer Records, 1928-2004, consist of correspondence, biographies, and press releases. These records document the activities of the six national officers elected annually. The early files, 1928-1964, contain correspondence to and from the officers and fully document their activities during their terms. Biographical information for these years can be found in press releases about the new officers and their outstanding accomplishments. Later files contain less correspondence and more direct biographical information. The Goodwill Tour Booklets are a mostly complete set, 1967-2000, of biographical information about each of the national officers. The Goodwill Tour is a nation-wide trip by the national officers to thank supporters of the organization.

Administrative Records, 1928-2008, contain correspondence, articles, publications, audits, and reports. The administrative files are divided into two main groups: administrative officers and office files. The administrative officer files are the records of the National Advisors, Executive Secretaries, and other important officials who serve the National FFA Organization. These files contain information about trips, responsibilities, and problems occurring during their tenure. The records in this series can also be used to find information regarding important people, events, and programs within the national organization. The records of only two of the Executive Secretaries, William A. Ross and William Paul Gray, are found in this collection. A combination of the Executive Secretary, National Advisor, and other officers’ records gives the researcher an overview of all major developments of the organization. The most extensive documentation is found in the files of E.J. Johnson, a program officer during the 1940s-1960s, and William Paul Gray. Executive Secretary William Arthur Ross’s files contain important information regarding the early organization and how its programs developed. An important section to review is the memos written by Ross to his supervisor reporting on his activities. This ten year run of records, 1929-1939, contains an index organized by date and title.

The second group of records is the office files. These records deal with how the whole organization operates rather than just the officers. Contained in this series are the most complete financial and policy records as well as important legal battles that affected the way the FFA operates. The National FFA Constitution and Federal Charter can be found with these records. State Association Records, 1919-1998, consist of newsletters, correspondence, annual reports, written histories, state charters, and articles about the activities of the state FFA associations. The records are arranged alphabetically by state. The strength of these records are the information about state organizations and activities prior to 1960. Another important state activity was the creation of scrapbooks. The scrapbooks were submitted to the national organization by each state as a part of a national contest between the states and accurately demonstrate the activities of the chapters within the state associations. The scrapbooks of Illinois and Nebraska are retained as a representative sampling. The annual reports submitted in 1987-1990 are individual reports collected from each state. The reports prior to 1960 are based on individual state reports, but are compiled into one large, national report on the states. The records include all fifty states plus Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These records do not fully document the histories of the state organizations, but provide insights into how the national and state organizations interacted and how early state associations operated.

History Records, 1916-2003, contain biographies, histories, news clippings, and press releases important to the history of the national organization. These records are organized by subject and name and arranged alphabetically. These records are a quick source for biographical data on important leaders and background information on the traditions and movements of the organization. The series offers a large variety of both current and historical names and events associated with the organization. Information about national officers is not located in these records, but is found in the National Officer Records series.

National Convention Records, 1925-2008, consist of correspondence, programs, proceedings, press releases, and other materials related to the National FFA Conventions. The series is arranged chronologically starting with some records that predate the formation of the FFA but are related the National Congress of Vocational Agricultural Students, predecessor of the National FFA Convention. The Agricultural Career Show records are also included. The Career Show, similar to a job fair, is held annually in conjunction with the National Convention. The records consist mainly of informational packets about the Career Show each year. Each convention produces similar types of records that are organized under three main headings: clippings, printed materials, and scrapbooks.

The clippings section contains newspaper and magazine articles mainly from the Kansas City, Missouri area related to the events at the conventions.

The printed materials section contains all of the programs, proceedings, and booklets that are produced for the convention. This collection contains a complete set of convention proceedings that are informative because they document every important event at the convention. Retiring officer addresses, minutes of the business sessions, awards information, and, in the early years, the four public speeches were all printed in the proceedings.

The final section is the scrapbooks that contains press releases, correspondence, and informational hand-outs. The scrapbooks also contain information about awards, general information such as convention summaries and highlights, scripts, and speeches. Other information about the awards given at the convention can be found in the Foundation Series under awards, in the State Records, and in the Awards Series.

Award Records, 1926-2005, consist of handbooks, award books, award entries, and correspondence. These records deal largely with contest descriptions, proposals, correspondence related to the founding of a contest, and published materials about the awards. The best place to find a list of award winners is at the end of this series under Winners-Compiled List for the years up to 1976. Some information about specific winners can be found in the winner booklets, but complete lists of winners from every contest is published in the proceedings of the National Convention each year and in the Convention news releases, located in the National Convention Records. Further information can also be found with the National Foundation Records. These records include yearly lists of foundation award winners in the foundation annual reports, booklets about the award given by the foundation, and award allotments books. This series is arranged alphabetically by the name of the award. In many cases, names of awards have changed and the records are generally filed under the current name with a notation of the earlier name.

Program Records, 1926-2007, consist of correspondence, newsletters, brochures, radio scripts, other public relations material, and publications. This section contains the records for the programs initiated by the National FFA Organization at the chapter, state, national, and international level. Important features of this series include international files, the Building Our American Communities (BOAC) files, leadership files, and the public relations records. The international files include the organization’s correspondence with foreign countries relating to agricultural exchange programs for FFA members and relating to the formation of foreign future farmer organizations such as the Future Farmers of Japan and the Future Farmers of the Philippines. The Building Our American Communities Program (BOAC) began in 1971 as a way to foster community development through FFA partnerships with local community groups. National winners were recognized and awarded at the National Convention. The BOAC files include information about the program as well as the winners of the awards. The public relations files contain the official FFA Calendars, FFA Week publicity, and radio scripts from the 1930s-1940s. These records contain phenomenal information about the programs the FFA uses, past and present, to foster public awareness. Other items in this series include World War II programs that were designed to help win the war on the home front, career recruitment, FFA recruitment, and other programs designed to involve the community and elementary-aged children with the activities of the FFA.

Publications, 1928-2008, consist of handbooks, manuals, newsletters, articles, books, theses and research studies published by and about the FFA. The FFA’s national magazine, New Horizons, previously titled The National Future Farmer, is individually catalogued (call number S1.F97) and located in Special Collections and Archives. Other magazines related to agricultural education and the FFA includes American Farm Youth, Agricultural Education, and the Agricultural Educators Directory.

There are two different types of newsletters in this series: advisor and general. The advisor newsletter is called FFA Advisors Making a Difference. Prior to 1992 this newsletter was called Between Issues. Originally the Between Issues newsletter was sent out between issues of the National Future Farmer. It contained information about important events and activities. The newsletter gradually evolved into an advisor’s newsletter containing ideas and teaching tools. The general newsletter, called Update, is a monthly informational newsletter about the FFA sent to members, advisors, government officials, and anyone involved or interested in the events and activities of the organization. This monthly newsletter is a reminder of upcoming events sent monthly.

The FFA publishes an annual FFA Manual for its members, reflecting changes in the structure and procedures used by the organization. The set of manuals in this collection is incomplete until 1961. The handbooks are published for students, teachers, and officers in the organization. They explain specific roles in the organization that a person may fill whether that be a national officer, a chapter reporter, or an FFA advisor.

The articles and magazines located in this series are published by other groups. These articles have special FFA features and include anniversary celebrations and special recognition for the organization. Time, Newsweek, and Farm Journal are among the magazines.

Alumni Association Records, 1969-2003, include meeting minutes, reports, newsletters, and publications. The main function of the Alumni Association is to support the programs of the National FFA Organization. The Alumni Association holds an annual convention, provides scholarships to FFA members, and raises awareness for agricultural education through auctions and other promotional activities. A complete set of the Alumni Council minutes, 1970-1995, and its membership lists explain how the governing body works. The newsletter, 1972-1995, is the best source for documenting their activities. Also included with these records are the National FFA Center Affiliate Records, 1972-1980, which consist of minutes, membership lists, activity records, and a constitution. The FFA Center Affiliate was created solely for the involvement of the National FFA Center staff.

National FFA Foundation Records, 1944-2005, consist of annual reports, audits, board minutes, donor lists, short histories, budget information, and papers documenting the foundation’s incorporation. The foundation was formed in 1944 to raise money for the National FFA Organization and to fund awards to its members. The annual reports are a good source of information about foundation donors and award winners. All but three (1970, 1989, and 1996) of the foundation annual reports are available. It is probable that the foundation was unable to publish reports for those three years based on a note in the 1969 report explaining that the lack of funding would not allow an annual report to be published. It may also be true for the other two years. Reports between 1945 and 1965 contain information about both the FFA and the NFA awards.

Other documents relating to the awards are the booklets produced describing various foundation awards. Information on the finances of the foundation can be found in three different places: audit reports, budgets, and bulletins. The bulletins are important not only for the budget information, but also because they describe the yearly requirements for the distribution of the foundation money.

Photographs, 1916-2007, are arranged in two different categories: magazine photographs and subject photographs. The magazine photographs include images used in the FFA publications: The National Future Farmer/New Horizons and Between Issues/FFA Advisors Making a Difference. These photographs are arranged chronologically by issue. Photographs from the magazines are useful on a limited basis because there is no index to the magazine. An image can only be found based on the issue or with basic knowledge about the time frame in which a specific event occurred. The subject photographs are arranged alphabetically under a series of subject headings created by the National FFA Organization. The headings represent the activities, programs, and personalities within the organization. Photographs of the National Conventions, National Officers, and American Stars are the most valuable sources of information, contain the most complete sets of photographs, and are the best identified. Another complete and well-identified series is the staff photographs, including the National Advisors and the National Executive Secretaries.

Slides, 1952-1995, are from the national magazine, calendar, and slide shows often included as part of the National FFA Convention program. Early slides often include only the magazine and calendar covers. Paintings were commissioned annually by the National FFA Organization to be used as calendar covers and for other promotional activities during that year. The magazine and calendar slides are arranged chronologically. The most beneficial part of the slide collection is the slide shows, generally from the late 1970s-1980s. The slides emphasize visually the programs, activities, and events sponsored by the National FFA Organization. Although some presentations are missing pieces, most contain a script, set of slides and an audio cassette. The slide shows are arranged alphabetically by title.

Audio-Visual Materials, 1935-2003, consist of audio cassettes, reel to reel recordings, video tapes, and films. Oral history interviews, convention recordings, and promotional campaigns are included in this collection. The collection includes a sampling of convention video sets, promotional videos such as commercials, historic videos, and classroom instructional videos. A sampling of the convention videos is made based on milestone events occurring during that year. For example, the 1987 National FFA Convention highlights major changes occurring within the organization. The main portion of the collection is from the 1970s-1990s. One of the oldest films, called The Greenhand, ca.1935, documents chapter activities and the initiation of new members.

Dates

  • 1935 - 2003

Language of Materials

From the Collection: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Extent

From the Collection: 145.2 Cubic Feet (104 cartons, 20 flat boxes, 5 cassette boxes, 3 document boxes, 166 videotapes, 58 films)

Creator

Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

Contact:
IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA
317-274-4064