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NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION
OF THE UNITED STATES
ITS ORGANIZATION AND FUNOTIONS
LIST OF MEETINGS, PLACES, DATES AND OFFICERS; CHRONOLOGICAL
AUTHORS AND THEIR PAPERS; AND A CLASSIFIED
LIST OF SUBJECTS
DEPOSITORY: 450 PENN AVENUE
WASHINGTON, D. C.
ITS ORGANIZATION AND FUNCTIONS.
BY HON. WM. T. HARRIS, COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION, U. S.
[READ BEFORE THE MEETING OF THE DEPARTMENT OF SUPERINTENDENCE, AT PHILADELPHIA, PA.,
THIRTY-THREE years ago last August there met in the city of Philadelphia a handful of men to organize a National Teachers' Association. The movement started in New York and Massachusetts. A call had been issued and widely circulated the year before (1856), inviting "all practical teachers in the North, the South, the East, the West, who are willing,"—these are its significant words,-"who are willing to unite in a general effort to promote the general welfare of our country by concentrating the wisdom and power of numerous minds and by distributing among all the accumulated experiences of all; who are ready to devote their energies and their means to advance the dignity, respectability, and usefulness of their calling." A constitution was drafted and adopted, and officers were elected for the following year. The directory of the newly formed Association voted to meet in Cincinnati in August, 1858. The noteworthy feature in the constitution adopted is the government of the Association by a board of directors elected at the annual meeting. This board was to consist of a large number of counsellors, one from each State, district, or Territory, together with the president, secretary, treasurer, and twelve vice-presidents. It also became the practice, eren from this early meeting, to appoint a large nominating committee,—one member from each State represented in the convention. Inasmuch as it has frequently happened that only a single delegate was present from a State, the nominating committee has been obliged to fill out its extensive list of officers by naming its own members. The first president of the Association, as well as seven of the vicepresidents and two of the counsellors, ten in all, were members of the nominating conmittee that reported their names. While this strikes us at first as bad form, or even as dangerous to the usefulness of the Association, a moment's reflection convinces us that the danger is imaginary, and affects the form rather than the substance of the thing. If an entire assembly appoint itself on a nominating body, and then names all of its members to one office or another, it amounts to the same as a committee of the whole for the nomination of officers and a distribution of offices to all.
In later years, since the Association has grown to gigantic proportions, it is true that this large committee has dwindled in comparison to the size