PTA History: 1950-1959

In This Section

Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Join PTA For Your Child


  • Convention guests from six foreign countries
  • National PTA purchased site for national headquarters, Chicago
  • Active in Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth held
  • National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers (NCCPT) represented on steering committee and Mrs. Morgan served on president's committee for 1950 White House Conference on Children and Youth; NCCPT well-represented at this Midcentury Conference
  • Helped initiate CARE Children's Book Project, to which PTAs gave more than $29,000 during next 10 years
  • National PTA president went to Japan to work with national leaders representing 31,000 PTAs there
  • Parent education consultants again conducted five regional summer workshops
  • National PTA appointed special committee on group relations to replace and expand work of joint National PTA–NCCPT committee; new committee to deal with not only mutual problems but also questions of nationality, race, culture, and group relations of all sections of country
  • National PTA membership: 6,167,079


  • National convention studied findings on Midcentury White House Conference on Children and Youth; added tenth point, "World Outlook," to Permanent Platform
  • National PTA called conference on narcotics and drug addiction, with representatives from 25 other organizations attending
  • Published leaflet, Everybody's Schools, for 31st observance of American Education Week
  • Was host to six persons from Japan studying PTA movement under sponsorship of U.S. Office of Education and as part of Far East Command Exchange of Persons Program
  • National PTA president attended meeting of World Organization of the Teaching Profession (WOTP), Valletta, Malta


  • Mrs. Newton P. Leonard elected National PTA president; appointed member of U.S. President's Mutual Security Public Advisory Board to U.S. Senate; appointed chairman of Advisory Committee on Young Workers by Secretary of Labor
  • Nine-point program on improvement of public schools drafted by NEA–National PTA Joint Committee
  • International Conference on the Child in Home, School, and Community, Lansing, Michigan, sponsored jointly with Canadian Home and School and Parent-Teacher Federation
  • Board recommended PTAs work for fluoridation of community water supplies
  • National PTA president attended meeting of WOTP in Copenhagen, Denmark


  • Mrs. Mayme Williams elected NCCPT president
  • Cornerstone laid for National PTA national headquarters building
  • National PTA cooperated with National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and Red Cross in planning educational campaign for prevention of polio
  • National PTA president one of main speakers at U.S. Office of Education Conference on the Role of Foreign Languages in American Schools; attended meeting of World Confederation of Organizations of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP, successor to WOTP), Oxford, England


  • National PTA national office moved to new headquarters, 700 North Rush Street, Chicago
  • National PTA promoted active participation in National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis field trial tests of vaccine to prevent polio
  • U.S. president signed fireworks bill, for which National PTA had worked towards
  • National PTA president invited to represent people of U.S. in project sponsored by U.S. Foreign Operations Administration to provide gifts of food for people in several foreign countries; attended WCOTP meeting, Oslo, Norway
  • Signals for Safety and Working with Youth Through the High School PTA published
  • U.S. Supreme Court handed down decisions regarding desegregation of public schools
  • National PTA and NCCPT, meeting together annually, recommended definite programs of cooperation


  • Mrs. Rollin Brown elected National PTA president; attended WCOTP meeting, Istanbul, Turkey
  • National headquarters dedicated in Chicago
  • National PTA, at request of U.S. Senate subcommittee, circulated questionnaire to state congresses on suggestions for UN Charter revision
  • Received citation from U.S. Secretary of State for working to make principles of UN Charter vital and real
  • President appointed to 34-member conference committee of White House Conference on Education; PTA members participated in preparatory conferences for White House Conference on Education
  • Convention resolution supported minimum beginning salary of $3,600 a year for teachers with full professional qualifications
  • NCCPT adopted resolution endorsing action of Supreme Court and encouraging appointment of intergroup committees on state and local levels
  • Mrs. Williams served on U.S. president's committee which planned White House Conference on Education
  • National PTA membership: 9,409,282


  • Goal of 10 million National PTA memberships reached
  • National PTA invited representatives from 20 organizations concerned with child health to help plan PTA program for continuous health supervision of children from birth through high school (extension of Summer Round-Up program)
  • President attended WCOTP meeting in Manila
  • State congresses reported almost $2,500,000 in scholarship awards to students and teachers
  • PTA Magazine celebrated its Golden Jubilee
  • Library services bill, long advocated by PTA, signed into law
  • Received award for "excellence in architecture" from American Institute of Architects and Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry


  • Mrs. Albert R. Kight elected NCCPT president; administration themes, "Imperatives for Growth in the Home, School, and Community" and "Quality for PTA's Optimum Growth"
  • Awarded plaque by the National Foundation for "unprecedented participation in historic development of a preventive measure against paralytic polio and for outstanding volunteer leadership in achieving record acceptance of the Salk vaccine
  • 60th birthday commemorative album of historical data presented to Library of Congress
  • National PTA invited representatives from health organizations to serve on advisory committee for continuous health supervision program
  • Published What PTA Members Should Know About Juvenile Delinquency
  • Alaska organized as 51st National PTA branch
  • National PTA president attended WCOTP meeting, Frankfurt


  • Mrs. James C. Parker elected National PTA president; participated in U.S. government "people-to-people" mission in South America; appointed to overall committee for 1960 White House Conference on Children and Youth; attended WCOTP meeting, Rome
  • Special pamphlet, Looking In on Your School, published in response to U.S. President's assignment to PTAs to scrutinize school programs
  • PTAs worked effectively for passage of National Defense Education Act of 1958
  • European Congress of American Parents and Teachers organized as 52nd branch
  • Statement of principles adopted to replace permanent platform
  • General revision of national bylaws
  • National PTA Board formally authorized the use of PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) as a further incentive for student participation


  • With American Social Health Association, cosponsored three-year, four-state Rocky Mountain Project in Family Life Education
  • Convention delegates voted unanimously to support U.S. postmaster general's plan for combating distribution of pornographic materials
  • Magazine started TV program evaluations
  • National PTA president attended WCOTP, Washington, DC
  • International relations chairman, with 53 other U.S. representatives, made 10-day study tour of Radio Free Europe installations