Last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation authored by Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) to rename the U.S. Post Office in Clarinda in honor of Jessie Field Shambaugh, the former school superintendent from Page County and longtime Iowa educator known to many as the ‘Mother of 4-H.’
“I’m pleased that this bill is now headed to the President for signature, and I’m proud we’re just one step away from permanently recognizing the legacy that Jessie Field Shambaugh left in Iowa and across America. Jessie Field Shambaugh was a pioneering vision, and I owe the values of leadership, engagement, and community that I hold to experiences as a 4-H kid,” said Rep. Axne. “I would also like to thank Senators Grassley and Ernst for their help advancing this bill through the Senate.”
Shambaugh began teaching in Page County in 1901, and formed the Boys Corn Club and the Girls Home Club to teach students essential skills for the farm and home through extracurricular programs. To boost participation in the Clubs, she created a clover pin – with each leaf labeled with an H. Her design became the symbol of 4-H in 1914 when the Smith-Lever Act established the Cooperative Extension System at the USDA, formalizing 4-H clubs across the country.
Today, over 6 million schoolchildren participate in 4-H activities – learning life skills, leadership, and cooperation through the same values of ‘Head, Hands, Heart, and Health’ that Shambaugh helped pioneer over a century ago.
Shambaugh was also an author, radio contributor on KFNF in Shenandoah, and the mother of two children. She was born in 1881 near Shenandoah, studied at Shenandoah’s Western Normal College, graduated Tabor College in Fremont County, and was elected superintendent of schools in Page County in 1906. She died in 1971 in Clarinda. In 1977, Shambaugh was named to the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame.
The bill introduced by Rep. Axne to rename the post office at 101 S. 16th Street is cosponsored by the other three members of the Iowa House delegation: Reps. Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02), and Steve King (IA-04).