The Founding of the Conference on College Composition and Communication

"The broad object of the CCCC is to unite college teachers of composition and communication in an organization which can consider all matters relevant to their teaching, including, in general, teachers, subject matter, methods, and students."

From an early draft of CCCC's Constitution


On April 1 and 2, 1949, NCTE sponsored a conference focused on college freshman English in Chicago. According to J.N. Hook's A Long Way Together: A Personal View of NCTE's First Sixty-Seven Years, the "topics discussed at this conference included course organization, needed research, articulation of high school and college English, teaching methods, and staffing" (1979, p. 148). With over 500 attendees, the conference was so popular and successful, the CCCC officially became a major organization within NCTE.


When the conference organizer, John C. Gerber, requested that the CCCC be recognized as a conference group, the Executive Committee approved the conference's continuance for three years. The Executive Committee also granted the conference the ability to levy dues, elect officers, hold an annual business meeting, and publish an official periodical (Hook, 1979, p. 148). In May 1950, NCTE approved the CCCC as a permanent organization. Hook writes:

"[The] CCCC was simply accepted as a permanent and highly prized offspring of the parent body — the first such to be established — and destined to grow to six thousand or more members."

Today, according to its website, the CCCC is the "largest professional organization for researching and teaching composition." To learn more about CCCC's formation, take a look at the featured records below.


Contents:(To enlarge and clarify an image, click on it and it will open in a new window)


Program: First Conference

NCTE Recognition of CCCC

Luncheon Meeting Minutes: November 25, 1949

CCCC Constitution

Program: Second Conference

Three-Year History of CCCC


Program: First Conference


The first conference, which led to CCCC's recognition as a organization, took place at the Stevens Hotel in Chicago (now the Hilton Chicago on South Michigan Avenue). As the program noted, the rate for a single room was just $4.50 to $10. On April 1 and 2, 1949, educators gathered for sessions on instructional methods relating to building a college curriculum, teaching a freshman course in composition, hiring staff members, etc. Because of the conference's success, the Executive Committee readily accepted the CCCC as an organizational body within the NCTE.


Item: Program from first conference (1949)

To learn about related material, see the following record series: 15/74/003


   

The complete program from the first conference, listing the conference sessions available for each day and the committee members who organized the event.


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NCTE Recognition of CCCC


On November 23, 1949, NCTE's Executive Committee voted to recognize the CCCC as a conference group for an additional three years. This approval granted the conference powers typical to an organization, including the right to levy dues, elect officers, and hold annual meetings. In addition, the conference could publish its own periodical, the quarterly College Composition and Communication. Two days after NCTE's recognition, members of the CCCC gathered at a luncheon to vote on whether to accept the Council's terms. After approving, they elected three officers: John C. Gerber, chairman; George Wykoff, secretary; and Charles W. Roberts, editor. As part of NCTE's terms, the treasurer of NCTE was also automatically the treasurer of CCCC.


Item: Draft of CCCC Recognition (1950)

To learn about related material, see the following record series: 15/74/003


  

A draft certifying NCTE's recognition of CCCC and outlining the major actions taken by both organizations.


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Luncheon Meeting Minutes: November 25, 1949


After obtaining NCTE's approval, the CCCC held a luncheon meeting at Hotel Lafayette in Buffalo, New York on November 25, 1949 to discuss and vote on the Council's terms. Around 75 members attended the meeting and readily approved NCTE's conditions. In addition to electing officers, they also discussed the upcoming conference. Both general and specific suggestions were received.


Item: Copy of Meeting Minutes (1949)

To learn about related material, see the following record series: 15/74/003


  

The two pages of minutes from the luncheon meeting, which discussed NCTE's conditions for CCCC's recognition and the second conference.


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CCCC Constitution


In the early 1950s, the CCCC worked on drafting its constitution and bylaws. The constitution would not only provide an organizational structure, but it would also define the CCCC's long-term goals. In a draft of an early constitution, section three outlined these objectives: "The broad object of the CCCC is to unite college teachers of composition and communication in an organization which can consider all matters relevant to their teaching, including, in general, teachers, subject matter, methods, and students." The first constitution was approved in November, 1951.


Item: Copy of proposed CCCC Constitution (ca. 1950)

To learn about related material, see the following record series: 15/74/003


 

A copy of an early draft of the CCCC constitution.


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Program: Second Conference


Following the first closely, the second conference was once again held at the same hotel for two days. The difference was in the number of sessions, the second conference offering much more than the first one. In addition to discussing the fundamentals of college composition, workshops also offered more specialized topics, such as "Freshman English for Engineers," "The Construction and Use of Objective Tests," and "The Organization and Use of a Writing Laboratory." Overall, Hook notes that CCCC programs "repeatedly stressed the importance of such things as accuracy and honesty of statement, clarity of thought, and intelligence and intelligibility of organization" (1979, p. 149).


Item: Program from second conference (1950)

To learn about related material, see the following record series: 15/74/003


  

The cover and pages from the second program. Page two lists the variety of workshops conducted at this conference.


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Three-Year History of CCCC


In 1952, John Gerber, the first chair of CCCC, published a three-year history of the organization. Appearing in the October issue of the journal College Composition and Communication, the article provided an account of the driving force behind CCCC's formation and its maturity into a full-fledged, permanent organization. Gerber also highlighted the CCCC's significant successes and milestones.


Item:Copy of article, "Three-Year History of CCCC"(1952)

To learn about related material, see the following record series: 15/74/003


 

The first page of Gerber's "Three-Year History of CCCC," which details the beginnings of CCCC.


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