Monday, February 17, 2014

PTA Founder's Day: February 17

The idea for this organization was conceived by Alice McLellan Birney and on February 17, 1897, her idea became a reality. Her first supporter was Phoebe Apperson Hearst, the 55-year-old widow of the Senator from California and mother of one son who already was a prominent newspaper publisher on the West Coast. Phoebe Hearst insisted that the Congress be open to fathers, as well as mothers, and was responsible for establishing and supporting the first free kindergarten in the nation. Abby Williams Hill, a railway artist from Tacoma, started the work of the Congress in the state of Washington in 1905. As a railway artist, she traveled all over the Northwest, painting scenic pictures for railroad companies to use in advertisements to draw tourists west. During her travels, she often spoke to local women’s groups about beginning the work of the Congress in their towns.