PTA History: 1910-1919

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Join PTA For Your Child


  • President represented National Congress at Home Education Congress, Brussels
  • February 17 established as Founders’ Day
  • Resolutions endorsed instruction and care of mother before as well as after birth of the child, and advocated supervision of motion pictures and vaudeville by local organizations because of their influence on children and youth
  • Memberships: 20,103 in 20 state branches


  • National convention included Second International Congress on the Welfare of the Child; recommended kindergarten be made part of the public school system
  • Voted to work for "mothers' pension laws" in every state, child hygiene departments in every board of health, and a separate home education division in the U.S. Bureau (now Office) of Education


  • PTAs sponsored hot lunch projects in many schools
  • Chinese women expressed appreciation for National Congress' moral support in efforts to abolish use of opium in China
  • U.S. Children's Bureau, long advocated by National Congress, established


  • Federal recognition of parents and educators shown in establishment of Home Education Division of U.S. Bureau of Education (National Congress president a director until 1919, when division became purely governmental)
  • National Congress president headed joint committee of eight organizations, formed to discuss working together for child welfare
  • First conference with NEA Department of Superintendence (now American Association of School Administrators) opened door for organizing PTAs in many schools
  • Set of eight books relating to parents' problems published


  • National convention included Third International Congress on the Welfare of the Child
  • Committee on child hygiene started campaign to arouse public interest in reducing infant mortality
  • Extension of teaching speech to deaf infants was the special concern of another committee


  • Convention recommended schools provide practical education for motherhood and homemaking
  • Endowment Fund started with $1,000 gifts from four members
  • Free bulletins on baby care mailed from National Office upon request
  • Membership: 59,852 in 33 state branches


  • Convention urged automatic sprinklers in schools, in addition to fire escapes; reiterated statement that juvenile crime can be checked only through sympathetic, understanding treatment of erring child
  • Resolutions recommended wise, effective method of censoring moving pictures; urged local units to aid foreign-born mothers to learn English immediately on arrival in this country


  • Opened service club for enlisted men in Philadelphia
  • Published 42-page pamphlet on National Congress achievements, Twenty Years' Work for Child Welfare
  • Added paid fieldworker to staff
  • Yearbook recommended the term "council" be used for groups of PTAs brought together for united effort
  • Membership: 122,250, more than double 1915 figure


  • Headquarters building purchased in Washington DC; used largely as United Service Club for Enlisted Men, cosponsored by the National Congress and D.C. 2War Camp Community Service, with recreational facilities, library, cafeteria, and dormitories
  • Smaller service clubs sponsored by PTAs in other cities


  • Members urged to enroll in citizenship and government study classes because "before 1921 the suffrage amendment will be law"
  • Rehabilitation of servicemen a special concern
  • Promoted and attended White House Conference on Child Welfare Standards
  • The dual school system that existed in the South led to the founding of the Georgia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers by Mrs. Henry Rutherford Butler
  • Mrs. Butler wrote to National PTA for information and literature on PTA work; response was immediate and liberal
  • To show its appreciation, Georgia Congress contributed 10 dollars annually to National PTA until the National Colored Congress was organized