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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

Selected Theses and Dissertations Highlighting NCTE's Work 

A History of English Journal, 1912-2002    

Autobiography, Lou LaBrant, 1954 NCTE President                    



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.


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."

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 decades and weaves into his narrative the role of the National Council of Teachers of English as well as the influence of many political, social, and cultural forces in American history.  The book ends in the early 1970s and features a comprehensive bibliography as well as useful appendices.

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 the National Council of Teachers of English. The book  stands as "the first historical text to explore in depth the impact women have had" on the field and on the Council, and the ten biographical essays detail the subjects' important--and often overlooked--contributions. 

"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, presented by members of the American Studies Association, the College English Association, the Modern Language Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English 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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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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