MC 00017 Guide to the L. R. Harrill Papers, 1888 - 1988

This collection is organized into two series, Personal and Professional.
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This series contains educational material, personal correspondence dating from 1918 to 1988, certificates of accommodation and awards, notes and inspirational items, and newspaper articles that were collected by L. R. Harrill. Additionally, there is material from educational, civic, and fraternal organizations that Harrill was involved with, as well as material documenting L. R. Harrill's participation in the affairs of the First Baptist Church of Raleigh, North Carolina. Series also includes a collection of photographs, papers related to Harrill's retirement from his position as leader of the North Carolina 4-H Program, along with biographical sketches, business papers and house plans belonging to L. R. Harrill.
Education (MC 00017 Subseries 1.01)
[Box 1, Folder 1] Mementos and Gradesheets
[Box 1, Folder 2] Effects of Nitrate of Soda on the Germinating Qualities of Seed Potatoes
[Box 1, Folder 3] Effects of Nitrate of Soda on the Germinating Qualities of Seed Potatoes (photographs)
[Oversize Flat Box 11, Folder 1] Scrapbook, North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering, 1918 - 1922
Correspondence, 1918 - 1988 (MC 00017 Subseries 1.02)
[Box 1, Folder 4] Correspondence, 1922- 1939
[Box 1, Folder 5] Correspondence, 1941-1949
[Box 1, Folder 6] Correspondence, 1950-1959
[Box 1, Folder 7] Correspondence, 1960-1967
[Box 1, Folder 8] Correspondence, 1971-1988
[Box 1, Folder 9] Correspondence, undated
[Box 12, Folder 1] Correspondence
[Box 12, Folder 2] Correspondence
[Box 12, Folder 3] Correspondence
[Box 12, Folder 4] Correspondence
[Box 12, Folder 5] Correspondence
[Box 12, Folder 6] Correspondence
[Box 1, Folder 10] Letters from Wife (Laura), 1930-1949
[Box 1, Folder 11] Letters from Servicemen, World War II
[Box 1, Folder 12] Letters from Son (Jim)
[Box 1, Folder 13] Letters from 4-H Club Members
[Box 12, Folder 7] Letters of Appreciation
[Box 1, Folder 14] Retirement Letters
[Box 2, Folder 1] Postcards and Greeting Cards
Awards and Certificates of Appreciation (MC 00017 Subseries 1.03)
During his career as the North Carolina State 4-H Club Leader, L. R. Harrill received numerous awards and accommodations. Contains a collection of certificates of merit that were awarded to Harrill. In 1950, State Magazine named L. R. Harrill, Man of the Year. Progressive Farmer repeated that honor in 1957. Includes copies of those publications and congratulatory letters received by Harrill. Also contains a collection of news articles acknowledging the Progressive Farmer Man of the Year Award. Additionally there is a bound certificate from the North Carolina State Development Fund and a scroll honoring Harrill titled, "4-H Personified." Included also is a copy of the Joint Resolution that was passed by the North Carolina State Legislature honoring Harrill for his work in 4-H.
[Box 2, Folder 2] Certificates of Appreciation (1 of 3)
[Box 2, Folder 3] Certificates of Appreciation (2 of 3)
[Box 2, Folder 4] Certificates of Appreciation (3 of 3)
[Box 2, Folder 5] Man of the Year Letters, State Magazine
[Box 2, Folder 6] Man of the Year Letters, Progressive Farmer
[Box 5, Folder 7] News Articles, Progressive Farmer
[Box 5, Folder 8] Bound Certificate, North Carolina State Development Fund
[Box 5, Folder 9] Scroll, "4-H Personified"
[Oversize Flat Box 11, Folder 2] Other Awards and Certificates1956 - 1973
[Oversize Flat Box 11, Folder 3] Charter, National Farmers Alliance and Co-operative Union of America, Beaver Dam Alliance No. 906 in the State of North Carolina1888
Notes and Inspirational Material (MC 00017 Subseries 1.04)
Throughout his life L. R. Harrill collected inspirational material in the form of religious pamphlets and human-interest articles. He also jotted notes as a reminder of significant events. Contains notes, obituaries, inspirational material and jokes.
[Box 3, Folder 1] Bound Volume Inspirational Material
[Box 3, Folder 2] Notes
[Box 3, Folder 3] Notes and Obituaries
[Box 3, Folder 4] Inspirational Material (1 of 2)
[Box 3, Folder 5] Inspirational Material (2 of 2)
[Box 3, Folder 6] Jokes
[Box 12, Folder 9] Miscellaneous
Newspaper Articles (MC 00017 Subseries 1.05)
Contains newspaper articles collected by Harrill that documented his work and achievement as the North Carolina State 4-H Club Leader. Also contains news articles that chronicle Harrill's work with regional civic organizations and the social activities of the Harrill family in the Raleigh area.
[Box 3, Folder 7] Newspaper Articles
[Box 3, Folder 8] Newspaper Articles: Wedding Announcements and Society Pages
Educational, Civic and Fraternal Organizations (MC 00017 Subseries 1.06)
Harrill participated in numerous organizations. He was elected Secretary of the North Carolina State Agricultural and Mechanical College Graduating Class of 1922 and worked actively with the North Carolina State College Alumni Association for over fifty years. Contains material related to his role as class secretary and class alumni meeting coordinator. Additionally there is material documenting Harrill's involvement with the honorary agricultural extension fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Phi. Also contains material from the Wake County Rotary Club. Harrill was the Rotary Club President in 1957 and 1958. Included is a copy of Harrill's Square and Compass card, certifying his membership in the Intercollegiate Fraternity of Master Masons.
[Box 3, Folder 9] Class of 1922 (1 of 3)
[Box 3, Folder 10] Class of 1922 (2 of 3)
[Box 3, Folder 11] Class of 1922 (3 of 3)
[Box 3, Folder 12] Class of 1922, Twenty-five Year Reunion, 1947
[Box 3, Folder 13] Epsilon Sigma Phi
[Box 3, Folder 14] Rotary Club
[Box 3, Folder 15] Square and Compass
First Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina (MC 00017 Subseries 1.07)
L. R. Harrill was a Deacon at the First Baptist Church of Raleigh. He served as a church administrator, took an active part in weekly Sunday service, promoted fund raising efforts, taught Sunday School, helped plan additions to the structure and was on hand when the mortgage for the church building was symbolically burned to signify that the congregation was free from debt. Material documents involvement in church affairs.
[Legal Box 10, Folder 2] First Baptist Church oversized material
[Legal Box 10, Folder 3] Growth of New Testament: State College Bible Class, oversized
Photographs (MC 00017 Subseries 1.08)
Contains photographs collected by L. R. Harrill. The collection includes photos of Harrill as a boy, as a college student and as a young man. Additionally there are photographs of Harrill participating in 4-H activities and civic functions, photographs of associates and public figures as well as pictures that document his personal life. The images cover a time period ranging from 1897 into the 1970s.
[Box 4, Folder 1] Photographs, 1897-1925
[Box 4, Folder 2] Photographs, undated
[Box 4, Folder 3] Photographs, undated
[Box 4, Folder 4] Photographs and Negatives, undated
Retirement, 1963 (MC 00017 Subseries 1.09)
Contains announcements and articles acknowledging Harrill's retirement in 1963.
[Box 4, Folder 5] Retirement
Biographical Sketches, Business Papers, House Plans (MC 00017 Subseries 1.10)
Contains biographical sketches that Harrill updated throughout his life. Additionally there is a collection of miscellaneous business papers and designs and drawings for the construction of a house.
[Box 4, Folder 6] Biographical Information
[Box 4, Folder 7] Real Estate and Insurance Information
[Box 4, Folder 8] Investment, Tax Receipts, Pension Information
[Box 4, Folder 9] House Plans
This series is made up of material that was generated and used by L. R. Harrill during his career as the North Carolina State 4-H Leader. Series contains professional journals, speeches and articles, radio program transcripts, book manuscripts, and other writings by L. R. Harrill. There is also material documenting Harrill's mission to Austria, in 1949 as a representative of the United States government under the Marshall Plan. Additionally there are Cooperative Extension and 4-H pamphlets and periodicals, and material on the International Farm Youth Exchange. Series also contains an assortment of magazines, periodicals and promotional literature from the agricultural industry.
Journals, 1926 - 1927 (MC 00017 Subseries 2.01)
Journals written by Harrill from 1926-1927 as he began his career with the North Carolina State 4-H Club as the State 4-H Club Leader.
Speeches and Articles, 1922 - 1967 (MC 00017 Subseries 2.02)
Speeches and articles by L. R. Harrill. Harrill spoke and wrote extensively during his career as the North Carolina State 4-H Club Leader. Material used in speeches given to 4-H groups and civic organizations was often included in articles that were written for publications that were issued by the State 4-H Club, the agricultural Cooperative Extension, regional newspapers and national agricultural publications. The manuscripts contained are arranged chronologically except for material that was not dated but arranged according to subject by Harrill.
[Box 5, Folder 2] Speeches and Articles, 1922 - 1937
[Box 5, Folder 3] Speeches and Articles, 1937 - 1943
[Box 5, Folder 4] Speeches and Articles, 1938 - 1942
[Box 5, Folder 5] Speeches and Articles, 1942 - 1949
[Box 5, Folder 6] Speeches and Articles, 1950 - 1967
[Box 5, Folder 7] Speeches and Articles, undated (1 of 3)
[Box 5, Folder 8] Speeches and Articles, undated (2 of 3)
[Box 5, Folder 9] Speeches and Articles, undated (3 of 3)
4-H Golden Anniversary Broadcasts, 1959
[Box 6, Folder 5] Pages 1-26
[Box 6, Folder 6] Pages 27-62
[Box 6, Folder 7] Pages 63-93
[Box 6, Folder 8] Pages 94-116
[Box 6, Folder 9] Pages 117-134
[Box 6, Folder 10] Pages 135-163
[Box 6, Folder 11] Pages 164-196
[Box 6, Folder 12] Pages 197-226
[Box 6, Folder 13] Pages 227-251
[Box 6, Folder 14] Pages 252-287
[Box 5, Folder 10] Speeches and Notes, undated
[Box 6, Folder 1] 4-H History: North Carolina and General- Material for Talks
[Box 6, Folder 2] Material for 4-H Speeches
Radio Programs, 1950 - 1959 (MC 17 Subseries 2.03)
Transcripts of 4-H Club broadcasts Harrill did in the 1950s for regional radion stations.
[Box 6, Folder 3] Speeches, Articles and Radio Broadcasts
[Box 6, Folder 4] Radio Programs, 1953
Writings (MC 00017 Subseries 2.04)
In addition to writing articles and speeches, L. R. Harrill authored two books, Memories of 4-H and Images of 4-H. Contains the manuscripts that those two publications were derived from. The series also contains a collection of untitled material written by Harrill dated 1945-1960. Included are manuscripts under the headings of general 4-H history, 4-H history by county, and a manuscript titled, "Fifty Years of 4-H / Silver Threads Among the Green." Series also contains partial book and chapter manuscripts and congratulatory letters that Harrill received after Images of 4-H was printed in 1966.
[Box 7, Folder 1] Memories of 4-H: First Draft
[Box 7, Folder 2] Memories of 4-H Manuscript
[Box 7, Folder 3] Manuscripts, 1945-1960
[Box 7, Folder 4] North Carolina 4-H Histories (1 of 2)
[Box 7, Folder 5] North Carolina 4-H Histories (2 of 2)
[Box 7, Folder 6] 4-H Historical and County Information
[Box 7, Folder 7] 4-H History Manuscript
[Box 7, Folder 8] Fifty Years of 4-H/Silver Threads Among the Green
[Box 7, Folder 9] Partial Manuscript: Milestones in 4-H
[Box 8, Folder 1] 4-H Club Camp Story
[Box 8, Folder 2] Correspondence: Images of 4-H, 1966-1967
[Box 12, Folder 8] Images of 4-H
Mission to Austria (MC 00017 Subseries 2.05)
Contains photographs, United States government papers, correspondence, regional background information, newsletters, periodicals, and oversized documents. In 1949 L. R. Harrill was selected by the United States military government to promote 4-H Youth Clubs in Austria. Under the Marshall Plan for postwar reconstruction of Europe, Harrill traveled to Europe and aided rural Austrian youth in adapting modern farming methods.
[Box 8, Folder 3] Photographs
[Box 8, Folder 4] United States government papers
[Box 8, Folder 5] Correspondence (1 of 3)
[Box 8, Folder 6] Correspondence (2 of 3)
[Box 8, Folder 7] Correspondence (3 of 3)
[Box 8, Folder 8] News Clippings, Itineraries, Regional Background Information
[Box 8, Folder 9] Periodicals and Newsletters (regional)
[Box 8, Folder 10] Periodicals (regional)
[Box 8, Folder 11] Marshall Plan Periodicals
[Legal Box 10, Folder 1] Mission to Austria Documents (oversized)
4-H Papers and Pamphlets: Cooperative Extension Periodicals (MC 00017 Subseries 2.06)
Contains a collection of business papers and printed material used by the North Carolina 4-H Club and the North Carolina Agricultural Cooperative Extension.
[Box 9, Folder 1] 4-H Budget and Statistics, 1957 - 1959
[Box 9, Folder 2] 4-H Pamphlets (1 of 3)
[Box 9, Folder 3] 4-H Pamphlets (2 of 3)
[Box 9, Folder 4] 4-H Pamphlets (3 of 3)
[Box 9, Folder 5] Extension Periodicals, 1923 - 1963
International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE), 1955-1959 (MC 00017 Subseries 2.07)
Contains travel itineraries, business and personal correspondence, and greeting cards related to Harrill's involvement with the IFYE Program in the 1950s.
[Box 9, Folder 6] International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE)
[Box 9, Folder 7] IFYE Christmas Cards
Periodicals, Newsletters and Pamphlets (MC 00017 Subseries 2.08)
Contains magazines, newsletters and printed material with an agricultural and outdoor orientation.
[Box 9, Folder 8] Periodicals, Newsletters and Promotional Pamphlets
Other Professional Papers (MC 00017 Subseries 2.09)
An aggregate study that was included in L. R. Harrill's papers, possibly related to concrete work at one of North Carolina's 4-H outdoor camps.
[Box 9, Folder 9] Aggregate Study by W. B. Olsen
[Box 12, Folder 9] Miscellaneous Professional Papers


Harrill, L. R. (Lera Rhinehart)


5.5 Linear feet 10 archival storage boxes and 1 oversize flat box

General Physical Description note

10 archival storage boxes and 1 oversize flat box


For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Special Collections Research Center Reference Staff external link.



Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by L. R. Harrill, 1966; Mrs. L. R. Harrill, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1978, 1980, and 1986.

Acquisitions Information

Donated by L. R. Harrill, 1966, and Mrs. L. R. Harrill, 1978, 1980, and 1986.


Processed by: Michael Watts; machine-readable finding aid created by: Michael Watts

Scope and Content Note

The L. R. Harrill Papers contain writings, speeches, journals, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, certificates of merit and appreciation, agricultural publications, and mementoes that are associated with Harrill's student days at North Carolina State College and his long tenure, 1926-1963, as the director of North Carolina's statewide 4-H program, the largest in the nation. The material provides insight into Harrill's personal life and documents his involvement with the 4-H movement on a local, national, and international level, including the International Farm Youth Exchange. Represented are letters Harrill wrote as a student at North Carolina State College to his mother and father from 1918 to 1922. Letters written between Harrill and his wife, Laura, from 1930 to 1949 reveal aspects of their relationship.

Biographical Note

Known throughout the state of North Carolina as Mr. 4-H, L. R. (Lera Rhinehart) Harrill was born in Cleveland County, North Carolina on November 10, 1897. Harrill attended grammar school and high school in Lattimore, North Carolina and went on to earn a B.S. and an M.S. in Agriculture from the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (later North Carolina State University). After graduating from North Carolina State College in 1922, Harrill worked briefly for the United States Department of Agriculture before becoming the County 4-H Club agent for Buncombe County, North Carolina. At that time, 4-H Clubs for farm youth were just beginning to be established as outreach and development programs sponsored by the county extension services that were affiliated with land grant colleges throughout the nation. In 1926 Harrill became the North Carolina State 4-H Club Leader. He held that position until 1963. In 1931, Harrill married Laura Weatherspoon of Raleigh. The couple had two children, James and Julia Anne.

In 1949 Harrill was selected to work with the United States military government that was responsible for the administration of the European theatre after World War II. Under the Marshall Plan of postwar reconstruction, Harrill helped to organize 4-H Clubs among the rural youth of Austria.

Harrill was a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Raleigh and served as the President of the Raleigh Rotary Club in 1957 and 1958. He was also a Master Mason and a member of numerous honorary societies and professional organizations including, Alpha Zeta Agricultural Fraternity, Epsilon Sigma Phi, the National Recreation Association, the National Camping Association, the National Farm Bureau, the National Grange and the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce.

In 1950, State magazine named Harrill their North Carolina Man of the Year. In 1957, the Progressive Farmer also chose L. R. Harrill to represent their publication as the North Carolina Man of the Year. Harrill received a Superior Service Award from the United States Department of Agriculture in 1955 and in 1963 a joint resolution was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly recognizing his outstanding service to the state's youth through his leadership in the 4-H movement. After his retirement in 1963, he wrote two books, Images of 4-H and Memories of 4-H. In 1975, the Youth Center at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds was designated the L. R. Harrill Center in his honor. In March of 1978, North Carolina State University recognized L. R. Harrill with the institution's highest non-academic award, the Watauga Medal.

During Harrill's tenure as North Carolina's State 4-H Leader, the organization's annual membership increased from 20,000 to 160,000, the largest 4-H enrollment of any state in the nation. L. R. Harrill provided leadership to over three million young people during his time of service with North Carolina State 4-H. Throughout his career, he stressed the citizenship and character building aspects of 4-H, as well as promoting the development of the specific skills that could be gained from 4-H projects and demonstrations. He would often say to his staff, "It's a great thing to produce a grand champion 4-H steer, but unless you do something at the same time to produce a grand champion boy or girl, you have failed in your greatest responsibility."

L. R. Harrill died on April 18, 1978 at the age of eighty.

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Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], L. R. Harrill Papers, MC 17, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, North Carolina.

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