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The First Meeting, December 2, 1911
ledger from 1911It was a cold December day in Chicago when the founding members of the National Council of Teachers of English gathered. Approximately 65 men and women met at the Great Northern Hotel, and there NCTE was born. In an ordinary ledger book 35 of those present signed their names as the charter members of NCTE, and also in that ledger are the handwritten minutes of the December 2, 1911, meeting (taken by James Fleming Hosic, first NCTE Executive Director) and meetings which followed in 1912. 

Annual Business Meeting, November 29, 1935
NCTE resolutions often address topics of wide concern, and in these minutes of the Annual Business Meeting of Members, November 29, 1935, those assembled considered resolutions regarding impending war, the need for world peace, and their concern that schools and colleges might be "militarized."

Correspondence, Nancy S. Prichard and Ernece B. Kelly, March 16, 1970
When NCTE member Ernece B. Kelly went to a national educational conference in spring 1970, she was so disturbed by the tenor of the discussion on race that she thought it would be a fitting subject for the newly created Task Force on Racism and Bias to pursue. Established in 1969, the Task Force worked quickly, and in November 1970 issued an official NCTE position paper on criteria for teaching inclusive materials in reading and literature. Later, on the same topic, Kelly wrote the NCTE-sponsored Searching for America. This document is a just one of many letters between NCTE staff member Nancy S. Prichard and Kelly regarding the need for inclusive materials and the "real and dangerous pressures" educators face.

See also 

A Smattering of Facts from NCTE's Past

Visions of the Future of Teaching English from the 50th Anniversary AND Writing the Future from the 100th Anniversary

Selected Theses and Dissertations Highlighting NCTE's Work 

A History of English Journal, 1912-2002

Autobiography, Lou LaBrant, 1954 NCTE President

"Picturing Education: A Family Photo Links Past, Present, Future" (September 2010 Council Chronicle)

Blasts from the Past (snippets from NCTE's history)

NCTE Archives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (see the "Centennial Exhibits" link for a new feature each month)


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Listen to NCTE public service announcements on writing featuring Estelle Parsons on who needs writing

and on educational standards.

Listen to 1992 convention sessions on curriculum for the 21st century presented by Miles Myers

by James Moffett

and by both Miles Myers and James Moffett.


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The NCTE Centennial book Reading the Past, Writing the Future emphasizes the role the organization has played in brokering and advancing the many traditions and countertraditions engaging literacy educators since the organization was chartered in 1911.

Take a look at the sample chapter, “NCTE and the Shaping of American Literacy Education.”

Leila Christenbury, Donna Alvermann, and Anika Spratley expand on some of the ideas in the book in their article “Believing You Can Make a Difference: From 1911 to 2011 -- The Needs of Teachers and Students Keep NCTE and Its Members Moving Forward" (November 2010 Council Chronicle).

Written by NCTE Executive Director J.N. Hook, A Long Way Together is the history of "NCTE's first 67 years" and includes photographs, appendices, and a comprehensive view of the work of the Council from 1911 to 1979. (This is a large .pdf file.)

"Hosic Report," report from the English Round Table of the High School Section by James Fleming Hosic, 1911

Tradition and Reform in the Teaching of English is considered one of the most significant works published regarding the topic of English and English teaching in America. Charting the emergence of English as a school subject in the 1880's, Arthur N. Applebee traces both the subject and its teaching through the early 1970s and weaves into his narrative the role of NCTE as well as the influence of many political, social, and cultural forces in American history.

Missing Chapters, edited by Jeanne Marcum Gerlach and Virginia R. Monseau, tells the story of ten significant women in the history of English education and NCTE. The book stands as "the first historical text to explore in depth the impact women have had" on the field and on the Council.

"Reorganization of English in Secondary Schools" (Department of the Interior Bureau of Education Bulletin, 1917, No. 2), known also as the "Hosic Report," is a highly influential document crafted by the members of the Committee on the Reorganization of English and chaired by NCTE's founder and first Secretary James Fleming Hosic. The joint NEA/NCTE report address the aims of high school English, articulation with elementary schools, the content of English study, and other school-related issues such as class size, libraries, and the expertise of teachers.

What Is English? is English Coalition Conference participant Peter Elbow's personal account of the 1987 meeting and his reflections and "picture of the profession." Writing from a college perspective and as a member of the conference and an observer, Elbow's 1990 book published by MLA includes short segments from other participants.

"The English Coalition Conference: Democracy through Language," edited by Richard Lloyd-Jones and Andrea A. Lunsford and published by MLA and NCTE, is a report of the major conclusions that emerged from the three-week 1987 English Coalition Conference. Sixty participants from all levels of teaching and representing eight English associations considered "what does it mean to be a teacher of English" and attempted to "chart directions for the study of English into the twenty-first century."

The Basic Issues in the Teaching of English was presented by members of the American Studies Association, College English Association, Modern Language Association, and NCTE at a series of conferences held throughout 1958.

"The Student's Right to Read," published in 1962.

Guidelines for the Preparation of Teachers of English, published in 1986.


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Take a moment to browse the timeline below for information a look at 100 years of literacy history . . . in NCTE and the world!


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1934: CBS and NBC broadcast NCTE Convention speakers on the radio
Check out the Centennial Film!
1963: Alberta Council of Teachers of English became the first Canadian affiliate of NCTE


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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts