PTA History: 1930-1939

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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  • Mrs. Hugh Bradford elected National PTA president; with 30 other representatives, attended White House Conference on Child Health and Protection, which drew up Children's Charter
  • Mrs. Butler was delegate to White House Conference on Child Health and Protection
  • Committee on illiteracy established
  • Joint Committee with NEA organized
  • Magazine began feature on "suggestions about mental hygiene aspects of child training"
  • National PTA Membership: 1,481,105 in 49 state branches, including District of Columbia and Territory of Hawaii.


  • National Conference on Parent Education called by U.S. Commissioner of Education at suggestion and with cooperation of National PTA
  • National PTA convention program broadcast to nationwide radio audience; resolutions urged study of needs of exceptional children and reaffirmed belief in separate juvenile courts and detention homes
  • Mrs. M.W. Blocker elected National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers president
  • State congresses were urged to observe not only the birthday of NCCPT but also February 17, Founders Day of parent-teacher movement
  • Publication of Our National Family, official magazine of NCCPT, began
  • NCCPT urged that African-Americans in segregated schools be made assistant superintendents and members of boards of education and be given administrative authority so as to be able to protect the educational interest of all African-Americans in their communities
  • Five-hour school of instruction given to delegates of NCCPT convention by National PTA leaders


  • Mrs. Bradford elected to second National PTA presidential term
  • PTAs urged to expand services so that children would not suffer during the Depression
  • 84,925 children examined through Summer Round-Up
  • Magazine carried "All-Round Health Course" in nine lessons "for study groups, parent-teacher associations, and individual parents"


  • National PTA president participated in President Hoover's Citizens Conference on the Crisis in Education (among first attempts by teachers to inform the public of the needs of education)
  • Publication of National Congress Bulletin started
  • Resolution offered suggestions for meeting problem of boys and girls "taking to the road"
  • Special project in nutrition to provide printed information on food values
  • Some PTA meetings suspended because of school district bankruptcy and subsequent closing of schools


  • Mrs. B. F. Langworthy elected National PTA president
  • Series of nation-wide radio broadcasts inaugurated, in cooperation with NBC and University of Chicago
  • Congress participated in Conference on Child Health Recovery called by U.S. Secretary of Labor
  • Commended by National Education Association for work to save schools during Depression
  • Child Welfare Magazine became National Parent-Teacher Magazine
  • Our Public Schools, detailing school problems, published


  • Mrs. Essie Mack elected NCCPT president
  • Procedures for legislation activities adopted
  • National PTA president attended meetings of International Federation of Home and School and of World Federation of Education Associations, Oxford, England
  • Convention resolution supported academic freedom
  • Tribute paid in magazine to Jane Addams of Hull House, member of National PTA National Advisory Council
  • Program to increase NCCPT memberships (around 45,000 at this time) and to improve relationship between parents and teachers
  • To increase her efficiency as a leader, Mrs. Mack enrolled at Louisville Municipal College on a scholarship provided by NCCPT
  • National PTA Memberships: 1,727,603 in 49 state branches


  • Traffic safety education project started with grant from Automotive Safety Foundation
  • Bylaws amendment grouped state congresses into eight regions, with a national vice-president to be elected from each
  • Radio forum conducted: 35 talks by specialists on such topics as "Heredity or Environment" and "Important Variations in Infants and Children"


  • Mrs. J. K. Pettengill elected National PTA president; represented Congress at meeting of World Federation of Education Associations in Japan; visited Hawaii Congress
  • Congress represented at Third Inter-American Conference, Mexico City


  • National PTA selected as one of four sponsors of American Education Week
  • Represented on National Committee for Better Care for Mothers and Babies
  • Magazine article warned students against dangers of using "pep pills" to extend study time
  • Schools for Democracy published, expressing PTA philosophy on education for modern living


  • Mrs. Mary Foster McDavid elected president of NCCPT
  • National PTA Office moved from Washington DC to Chicago
  • President attended World Congress on Education for Democracy, New York City
  • National PTA represented on National Anti-Syphilis Committee
  • PTAs cooperated in giving TB tests to high-school youth