"...the Association began in an informal and impromptu meeting in Lee Travis' dining room in Iowa City."
- Robert West, 1957 ASHA Convention
In the spring of 1925, Dean Carl E. Seashore of the University of Iowa Graduate College, secured a grant to host a weekend conference on the causes and treatment of speech disorders. Several rising young scholars interested in this topic attended. Among them was Dr. Robert West, Assistant Professor of Speech at the University of Wisconsin and his mentor, Dr. Smiley Blanton, who established the first speech clinic and doctoral program in speech at the University of Wisconsin; John Muyskens, an instructor of phonetics at the University of Michigan; Dr. G. Oscar Russell, Assistant Professor of Spanish at Ohio State University and Dr. Lee E. Travis, University of Iowa.
At the urging of Dean Seashore these scholars were invited to dinner in the home of Dr. Lee Travis. Discussions ensued around the idea of an “academy” for scholars interested in speech correction. A scholars’ only organization was seen as something that would enhance the reputation of the profession and spur the acquisition and dissemination of further knowledge. Interestingly, all of these young scholars had received their degrees in 1925 and were roughly all the same age. The dinner ended on a very idealistic note.
That summer another conference on speech was convened at the University of Iowa and was attended by some of these same scholars as earlier but also by persons in rhetoric, public address, speech science and speech correction. Again, a group of participants met at the Travis home for dinner and discussed the possibility of forming a group of their own.