Today, May 8th, is the 100th anniversary of the passage of the Smith-Lever Act which formalized the Cooperative Extension Service, a state-by-state national network of educators who extend university-based knowledge to the people. A new exhibit in R.M. Cooper Library called The Smith-Lever Act: 100 Years of “Putting Knowledge to Work” commemorates the Act and its century of results through materials from The Special Collections Library.
Asbury Francis Lever, co-author of the Act, was a Representative from South Carolina who served as chairman of the House Agricultural Committee. He later served as a Clemson life trustee and is buried on the campus’ Cemetery Hill. Lever’s family donated his papers, as well as the typewriter used to type drafts of the Smith-Lever Act, to Clemson in 1967.
University Archives materials, particularly the papers of Clemson President Walter M. Riggs (Series 17), document extension activity taking place in South Carolina before 1914. A.F. Lever was familiar with the “Clemson Model” of extension and used it as the basis for the Smith-Lever Act.
The Cooperative Extension Service Papers (Series 31, 32, 33, 45, 51 and 144) include tens of thousands of documents, photographs and publications from the past 100 years. Additional Cooperative Extension materials can be found with cataloged publications.
The exhibit will be on display until early August. For more information about the 100th anniversary see the Cooperative Extension Service’s 100 Years website.