“The quacks had all had their turn at me, and had milked me of most of my money, much of my hope and all of my trust. ...In short, it was as a case with a lousy prognosis that I came to my first convention.”
-Charles Van Riper, ASHA Convention, 1950
For some time after ASHA’s founding, in December 1925, members were forced to hold meetings in conjunction with their parent organization, the National Association of Teachers of Speech (NATS) due to the financial inability to fund a separate convention. Early on, members could attend sessions of both organizations for a single fee of $2.00. ASHA relied heavily on NATS for assistance with convention arrangements until 1950 when they finally broke from joint meetings.
Before there was a National Office with staff to handle arrangements for the annual convention, the job fell to the elected Secretary-Treasurer. This person was an elected volunteer who also had a full-time job usually teaching at an academic institution. Everything from the selection of the hotel, registration fee collection, bill payments, program printing and convention publicity was the responsibility of this person.
An important aspect of the early conventions was the conducting of the Association’s business. The business meetings were for many years the only way the Association had to transact its affairs. Every member was expected to attend, and every member was expected to vote. Minutes included the names of those in attendance as well as those who were not. It was here that officers were elected, the first Principles of Ethics were enacted, levels of membership were established, policies discussed, and committees appointed.
It was at convention in 1958, that the House of State Delegates was approved by the Executive Council. The delegates served as a liaison between the Executive Council and the membership to broaden communication between the two groups. Each recognized state speech and hearing association was allowed one representative for groups of fewer than 100 members and two representatives for groups of 100 or more members. Its first meeting was at the 1960 convention in Los Angeles and by the 1969 convention, the group had evolved into the policy making arm known as the Legislative Council.