Historic Pelham

Presenting the rich history of Pelham, NY in Westchester County: current historical research, descriptions of how to research Pelham history online and genealogy discussions of Pelham families.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Early Organizations That Evolved Into the Pelham Parents Teachers Association (PTA)

The early history of the organization that we think of today as the Pelham Parents Teachers Association is quite fascinating. The initial predecessor organization was known as the "Mothers' Club of the Pelham Heights SchooL' founded in 1908. According to one account, the initial "constitution" of the organization described its purpose as follows: "To foster closer association of teachers and parents and the promotion of all educational, social, and communal interests in our village". The first president of the organization was Mrs. Harry Mulliken.

Less than a year later, the organization reportedly expanded to cover all three villages (North Pelham, Pelham and Pelham Manor) and changed its name to the Mothers' Club of Pelham. Soon there were further changes. According to a history of the organization:

"In 1911, with Mrs. E. H. Kingsland as president, it became the Women's Educational Club of Pelham, and in 1912, under Mrs. E. H. Burnett, it revised its constitution and became affiliated with the Housewives' League."

For a brief period beginning in 1915-16, the group became a section of the Manor Club, but soon became a separate organization again. Then, in 1923, the group voted to join the National and State Parent-Teacher Association".

According to the same history of the organization, the early years of the predecessor group were concerned largely with "maintenance" of the schools. For example, according to that account:

"About 1900, Mr. Ben Fairchild established a free school in Pelham Heights. He furnished the house, equipment, supplies, and teacher until the Board of Education took over and built the Highbrook School in 1905. The Mothers' Club took charge largely of its maintenance, and their minutes record two committees, - 'one to investigate a vacuum cleaner for cleaning, and the other to see about a piano for the school'."

Source: Pelham Parent-Teachers Association Is Descendant Of The Mothers' Club Of Heights School Founded in 1908, The Pelham Sun, Apr. 14, 1960.

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