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that other departments could be organized, and immediately two other departments were organized, viz., “The Department of Higher Instruction,” and “The Department of Primary or Elementary Instruction." A full set of subordinate officers, viz., a president and secretary for each department, was chosen, who were to provide their own programme of exercises, for their annual meetings.

Until 1870 all the educational topics were discussed before the whole association as a body. While this method of performing educational work has many superior advantages, it would be hazardous either to abandon the plan of departments or to proportionately extend the length or number of sessions so that the whole membership could have an opportunity to listen to all papers and discussions.

It may not, however, be improper for me here to suggest that if the higher and secondary departments were consolidated, also the industrial and the art department, and also the elementary and the kindergarten departments, making three departments out of the six, and then, by giving four days of actual sessions, that an opportunity could then be given for all who desired to listen to all papers and discussions. Let the length of many of the papers be shortened by judicious condensation, and let the length of discussions be limited, and we shall have better papers, and the beneficial results of our associational work will be essentially increased.

In 1875 the “Industrial Department” was organized and admitted under the constitutional provision.

In 1880 - The National Council of Education” was organized as a department, but under a constitution of its own, which required its sixty or more members to be chosen from the general association, and from the several departments.*

Very few persons are aware of the important work performed by the “National Council of Education," unless they attend its sessions, or read its papers and discussions from year to year.

But its meetings and deliberations were to be held so as not to interfere with the general association and the department meetings.

During the first twenty years of its operations its officers were often obliged to put their hands down deep into their own pockets, to meet the annual current expenses. This had to be done in addition to the regular membership fee and the often very heavy travelling expenses.

But in 1884 a new era dawned upon the association. It is true that the enlargement of the association's field of labor in 1870, at the Cleveland meeting, by engrafting upon itself the more specific work of the departments of superintendents of normal schools, of higher instruction,

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* See the “Constitution of the National Council of Edncation" for 1891, pp. 39-42.

and of elementary training, besides providing constitutionally for creating other departments, has done much to broaden the sphere of its work and inspire confidence in its plan of operations.

But no organization in this age of the world can work or exist long, without money. Many of the real friends of this association found that the constant draining of their pockets to keep the ponderous wheels in motion was also draining their patience and weakening their faith in its perpetuity.

Some of the hopeful members had heard of an eastern man who had come to the rescue of the “ American Institute of Instruction” when it was almost ready to perish. This man was made president of that institute, and he made a grand rally, which gathered together such a multitude of educators at the White Mountains of New Hampshire that the increased income has been sufficient to keep that Institute in a prosperous condition ever since.

This gratifying success inspired some of the almost despairing members of the “National Educational Association " te call to its leadership the Honorable Thomas W. Bicknell, of Massachusetts. The grand success of the “Madison Meeting,” in Wisconsin, in 1884, inaugurated a new financial era by largely increasing the number of members. Since then, by making the annual meetings attractive, and by lessening the expense of attending them, the membership has so increased that the funds of our treasury, now safely invested in interest-bearing bonds, are sufficient, with prudent management, to forever insure the association against financial embarrassment.

This financial security serves to increase the usefulness of the association, and to guarantee its permanency. At the close of the Madison meeting, Hon. E. E. White offered the following resolution, which shows how highly the association appreciated the services of President Bicknell. The resolution was passed unanimously:

Resolved, That the unparalleled success of this meeting is chiefly due to the energy, devotion, and organizing ability of Hon. T. W. Bicknell, the President of this Association, whose wise and comprehensive plans, enthusiastic and self-sacrificing efforts, and directing hand have inspired and guided the great undertaking from its inception to its present triumphant close, and no formal words can properly express our thankful appreciation.

Historically, let it be added, that not one dollar of these funds has ever been added to the emolument of an officer, nor furnished him any “ boodle” for speculation.

In 1884 three new departments were organized and entered upon their peculiar work. These were the “Froebel or Kindergarten,” the “ Art," and the “Music Departments.” In 1885 the “ Department of Secondary Education" was added to the list, making the whole number ten,

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At a meeting of the Board of Directors of the National Educational Association, held at Saratoga Springs, New York, July 14, 1885, the following resolution was passed :

Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to secure articles of incorporation for the National Educational Association, under United States or State laws, as speedily as may be.

N. A. Calkins, of New York, Thomas W. Bicknell, of Massachusetts, and Eli T. Tappan, of Ohio, were appointed such committee.

Under the authority of the resolution quoted above, and with the approval of the committee, and by competent legal advice, the chairman obtained the following :

CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION. We, the undersigned, Norman A. Calkins, John Eaton, and Zalmon Richards, citi. zens of the United States, and two of them citizens of the District of Columbia, do hereby associate ourselves together, pursuant to the provisions of the Act of General Incorporation, Class Third, of the Revised Statutes of the District of Columbia, under the name of the National Educational Association, for the full period of twenty years, the purpose and objects of which are to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching, and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States.

To secure the full benefit of said act, we do here execute this our Certificate of Incorporation as said act provides.

In witness whereof, we severally set our hands and seals, this 24th day of February, 1886, at Washington, D. C.


[L. s.]

ZALMON RICHARDS. [L. S.) Duly acknowledged before Michael P. Callan, notary public in and for the District of Columbia, and recorded in Liber No. 4, Acts of Incorporation for the District of Columbia.


The action of the Committee on Incorporation was submitted to the Board of Directors, at Topeka, Kan., July 13, 1886, and the Act of Incorporation was duly approved by the Board of Directors.

A committee was appointed to prepare the changes in the Constitution necessary to meet the requirements of the charter. At the meeting of the National Educational Association, held at Topeka July 15, 1886, the Chairman - E. E. White of Ohio-presented the Report of the Committee on Amendments to the Constitution, and the report was unanimously adopted.*

These departments are all legitimate children, though two of them have been adopted and are older than their parent. But they are a harmonious, hard working, and a thriving family. If any one needs to be convinced of the truth of this statement, let him undertake to read and thoroughly digest even one of the late volumes of the annual Proceedings. If one copy does not convince him, let him procure a full set of the twenty-two copies from our custodian at Washington, and he will have one of the best pedagogical libraries, especially if he will add to it the twenty-five or thirty volumes of “Barnard's Journal of Education."

* The Constitution of the National Educational Association may be found on pp. 35-38.

The amount of original educational matter now presented at each of our annual meetings is some six or eight times greater than it was for each of the first fifteen or eighteen years of its work. What still adds to the value of these volumes is the generally improved character of the papers and discussions. While very many of the early papers read before the association cannot be excelled in value and importance, still, during these later years, the officers have taken special care to let nothing but new and original matter be presented to the various departments from year to year. As the authors of these papers are generally selected from the large number of first-class educators in our growing country, the papers are becoming more and more elevated and valuable, and contain the best and ripest thoughts of this educational era. The same may be said in regard to the character of the discussions in these various departments, which are quite fully published in these volumes.

The influence of this national educational association is diffusive and permeating, and is giving character to the systems of education and of school work in all parts of our own country and in other countries—as in South America, Japan, and the Sandwich Islands, and perhaps in some of the old countries of Europe. There is not a state, county, city or

a town in all our country where the influence of our associational work is not more or less felt. Even the colleges, the universities, and private educational institutions are perhaps, unconsciously to themselves, feeling this diffusive influence.

Though the influence of the association is more plainly, effectually, and promptly felt in the newer portions of our country, yet those States and cities which have been pioneers in educational work so long as to be sometimes chargeable with “old fogyism” have felt, and are now feeling, the transforming influences of the papers and discussions of this great body of educators.


The membership of the association is made up of annual members, who pay two dollars a year; of life members, who pay twenty dollars ; of life directors, who pay one hundred dollars ; also of perpetual directorships, which are usually secured by boards of education, or associations, through the payment of one hundred dollars. This perpetual directorship confers the privilege of sending any one of its members to the meetings, as its representative, which representative shall be entitled to all the privileges of the association, during his attendance, that belong to a life director.

It will be readily understood that the annual memberships of this association are changeable because of the migratory meetings-from Boston to St. Paul, Philadelphia to Chicago, Baltimore to St. Louis, San Francisco to Nashville, Saratoga to Topeka, Atlanta to Toronto. During the past ten years the attendance at these meetings has varied from 500 to 10,000. The largest attendance was at Chicago in 1887, the next was at San Francisco in 1888. The meetings at St. Paul in 1890, and at Toronto, Canada, in 1891, were both very large meetings. The constant and unchangeable membership is made up of life members, life directors, and about an equal number of regular and active annual members.

It would be a wise and an economical move if the younger members, both male and female, who wish to retain their working membership should add eighteen dollars to their annual membership fee at once, and thus constitute themselves life members.

The great advantages of these large migratory meetings is not confined to the financial benefits of this association, for it is a generally acknowledged fact that their influence has been essentially beneficial to the cities and states where they have been held, and that the cause of education and public-school instruction has been elevated and greatly improved in every section of our country.

This association has been, and now is, the body-guard of public-school instruction in our country.


Since the organization of the Industrial, the Art, and the Kindergarten Departments and their auxiliary combination with the general association, the interest in the annual meetings has greatly increased. The school exhibits in many instances have been of a remarkable character, and it must be admitted by every careful observer of their influence upon the practical life of our youth that they have contributed essentially to the educative power of the public school systems.

The readers of the annual Proceedings will find the reports of these exhibits highly suggestive and instructive.


A merciful Providence has kindly watched over the friends and supporters of this association. Thirty men have been called to preside over and direct its interests during the thirty-four years of its existence.

No meetings were held in 1861, 1862, 1867, and 1878. Twenty-one of its presidents are now living. Nine honored men have been called to go

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