April 2014
Take a short drive most anywhere into the countryside during March and April and you’ll likely glimpse spots of white, gray and black cavorting in the fields: this is lambing season in California. Many of these four-legged bundles of wool with springs for legs likely belong to small family farms or young members of 4-H or Future Farmers of America. According to the 2010 Census, geographically the state of California is more than 94 percent rural. For 100 years, the University of California’s 4-H Youth Development Program has nurtured young people who sustain California’s rural heritage and shape our future by addressing the global agriculture and natural resources challenges of the 21st century.

These images of proud young owners who have cared for, fed, and groomed their sheep to perfection are from the California Wool Growers Association Photograph Collection (PC 014), consisting of more than 34 boxes (nearly 20 linear feet) of photographs assembled by the California Wool Growers Association for potential use in publication in their journal, California Livestock News. The collection includes images from the early 1900s to the mid-1980s, although the bulk of the photographs date to the 1950s through 1970s. The collection demonstrates CWGA’s outreach and connection with their members and auxiliary associations, such as the American Lamb Council, the 4-H Club, and Future Farmers of America. Hundreds of images capture important agricultural events, such as the California Ram Sale, and illustrate CWGA’s creative promotional events including the Miss Wool California and “Make It Yourself with Wool” contests. The California Wool Growers Association (known originally as California Sheep Raisers and Wool Growers Association) was organized on September 18, 1860, when fifty sheep ranchers gathered in the pavilion of the State Agricultural Society in Sacramento to address the concerns of West Coast sheep producers. 
California Lettersheets   I See Beauty in this Life   Manuscript Monday
California Past & Present(ly) Processed

These pictorial lettersheets are illustrated with lithographs or wood engravings depicting California and Western themes. Intended to be used as stationery during and after the California Gold Rush, these lettersheets served as a kind of reportage, depicting important events and popular stories of the day. 
  on view now - 
i see beauty in this life: a photographer looks at 100 years of rural California

This exhibition, from our Curating California series is on view at Casa de la Guerra (15 East De la Guerra Street, Santa Barbara) through April 27, 2014.  This summer, county and regional fairs across the state will include 4-H competitions to educate and entice new members to discover the pleasures of raising sheep.
  Digitizing History

#ManuscriptMonday is a new feature on the California Historical Society blog. Every week Manuscript Librarian Marie Silva showcases newly digitized treasures from the CHS Manuscript Collections
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