Posted: May 6, 2014 -- letizia

For today’s information seekers, who can find answers in minutes with a few keystrokes, it’s hard to imagine a time when rural dwellers were cut off from knowledge for the most fundamental reasons. No electricity. No car. No phone. No nearby expert to explain why a cow gave birth to her calf prematurely.

Such was the information landscape for farmers and homemakers in Washington at the turn of the century. The state’s Extension Service – working closely with the fledgling State College of Washington – sought to fill the void by publishing documents rural citizens could hold in their hands and dog-ear over repeated readings for reference: Extension Bulletins.

As the nation approaches the centennial anniversary of the May 8, 1914, Smith-Lever Act – which created the U.S. Cooperative Extension Service – Washington State University’s Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections (MASC) is digitizing a century of Washington Extension’s written expertise in a new collection, “Extension Bulletin Archives” (

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