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Association for Communication Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences (ACE) Records


The papers of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors (AAACE), later re-named Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE), have been collected over the years by four archivists, all employees of the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Over the years, ACE materials have been housed in the office of Ralph Fulghum, USDA, and at various land-grant universities where the secretary-treasurer-coordinator of ACE was employed. In 1975, through the efforts of the second archivist, Ralph Fulghum, the collection was transferred from the USDA South Building in Washington, D.C. to the National Agricultural Library (NAL) in Beltsville, Maryland. The materials were in notebooks, file folders, and loosely accumulated in cardboard cartons. By 1996, through the efforts of Dr. Alan Fusonie, then Head of Special Collections at NAL, approximately 20 percent of the material had been re-housed in acid free folders and appropriate boxes for long term storage.

Housed in the Special Collections of the National Agricultural Library, the collection occupies 25.5 linear feet or 50 archival boxes. From January 1996 through early 1997, the collection was processed and arranged into 22 series by William E. Carnahan, ACE Archivist. The records span the years 1913 to 1998.

Finding Aid File


Historical Sketch

The first gathering of land grant college agricultural editors was July 10, 1913, when six publication editors called a conference at the University of Illinois. The editors present included T.R. Bryant, head of the Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Kentucky; A. B. Graham, head of the Department of Agricultural Extension, Ohio State University; Frederick W. Beckman (AAACE's third president), editor, Iowa State College; G. M. Frier, Department of Agricultural Extension, Purdue University; Andrew W. Hopkins (AAACE's 19th president), editor of bulletins, University of Wisconsin; and Burt E. Powell, editor, University of Illinois. This was the beginning of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors (AAACE).

The first gathering at Illinois was so successful, the founders decided the conference should be an annual affair. After consulting with other editors, Burt Powell selected the University of Kentucky for the second meeting. It was a two-day conference, June 25 and 26, 1914 with seventeen attending. The 1915 meeting at the University of Wisconsin drew representatives from 19 states plus USDA. At the Wisconsin meeting, the AAACE constitution was adopted and the name "American Association of Agricultural College Editors" was established. In 1978, the name of the organization was changed to Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE). Since its beginning, ACE has met in 41 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada.

In a 1943 issue of the ACE newsletter celebrating the 30th anniversary of AAACE, Wisconsin's Andrew Hopkins wrote, "As Powell served as chairman of the Illinois meeting, perhaps we should give him the credit of being the first chief executive of our organization..." For several years, Powell was thought to be the first AAACE president, but at the 1913 meeting, he was actually appointed Executive Secretary.

The first AAACE archivist was Clara Bailey Ackerman, assistant in extension information in the Information Division of the USDA Federal Extension Service. She was named archivist at the 1939 AAACE meeting and served through July 1954. The next archivist was Ralph Fulghum, Assistant Director of Information in the same office as Clara Ackerman. He was assisted by his co-worker, Florence Gucker. Other archivists to serve AAACE/ACE include James H. McCormack (1975-1980), William E. Carnahan (1981-2002), and Lee Shields (2002-2003). The current curator of these archives is Joanne Speirs Littlefield from Colorado State University.

Scope and Content Note

The archives of the American Association of Agricultural Editors (AAACE) cover the years from its inception in 1913 to 1998. The collection fills 48, 5-inch archival boxes and 2 oversize archival boxes, occupying 25.5 feet of shelf space.

Included in the collection are newsletters, the ACE quarterly journal, clip art books, communication handbooks, minutes of board meetings, annual meeting programs, correspondence, manuscript for The Presidents of ACE, annual directories, early publications, a banner, an ACE T- shirt, a canvass tote bag, and miscellaneous photographs and negatives.

In Series I, Newsletters, the collection contains two "newsletters": a mimeographed edition from December 1959 through May-June 1968 and a printed edition, called a magazine, published during the same period. The two versions do not duplicate each other. Since the "magazine" format resembles a newsletter more than it resembles a magazine, it is classified in the archives as a newsletter. The newsletter was mimeographed until February 1943. From that date on, it was printed.

The newsletter continued through the years with volume and issue numbers until Volume 50, Number 6, May-June 1968. In 1968, AAACE headquarters were moved to Auburn, Alabama and the move, came a new editor. Volume and issue numbers were dropped from the newsletters. Over the years, the newsletter has been called The A C E, ACE, AAACE Newsletter, The ACE Communicator and Signals.

In Series II, Quarterly, volume and issue numbers dropped from the newsletters, were picked up with the quarterly. This publication, referred to in its first issue as "the official journal of AAACE" became Vol 51, No.1. It was dated October-December 1968, and called "aaace". Ten years later, Volume 61, Number 3, October-November 1978 issue was renamed the ACE Quarterly. In 1990, Volume 74, No. 1, the Quarterly became the Journal of Applied Communications.

In Series III, Annual Meetings, there are programs for nearly every meeting beginning with 1914. Early printed programs do not exist; however, the programs are published in Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors, and in Proceedings of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Annual Conferences of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors. Programs for 1913, 1919, 1920, 1929, 1933, 1934 and 1958 are missing. However, there are references to them in the newsletters for those dates. In some instances, the newsletter includes the full program.

Series IV, Board Minutes, includes minutes beginning with the second annual conference at the University of Kentucky in 1914. These minutes are included in the Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of The American Association of Agricultural College Editors. Minutes for the next three annual conferences are included in the Proceedings of the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Annual Conferences of the American Association of Agricultural College Editors. Some early newsletters contain board minutes. Beginning in 1954, board minutes were kept for every meeting and are in the archives. This series includes minutes taken at business sessions during annual meetings. Also included are resolutions, regional reports, headquarter reports, correspondence, financial statements and other documents pertaining to the business of the organization. Beginning in early 1978, the board began conducting business by teleconferences. Reports of these meetings are included in the series.

In 1993, the archivist, through The Ohio State University, published The Presidents of ACE. This book, the research papers, and correspondence accumulated in writing it over a 7-year period are included in Series V, The Presidents of ACE.

Series VI, Directories, includes the first AAACE directory which was published by regions and by states in the ACE newsletter of June, July 1933. The regions listed were Eastern States, (35 members) North Central States, (41 members), Western States, (38 members), Southern States, (28 members) and the USDA (86 members). Eighteen members were listed as Miscellaneous Editorial Workers. Membership "lists" continued to be published in the newsletter until 1982, when the first official directory was published.

Series VII, includes Clip Art Books and Communications Handbooks. Over the years graphic artists at the land grant universities developed many thousands of pieces of art for their university publications. About 1966, many of these pieces of art were published in the first of six "Clip Art" book, permitting other artists to take advantage of already available art. When clip art became available on computers in the 1980s, the "Clip Art" books were discontinued. The first communications handbook was published in 1967. Four more revised editions were published through 1996. These handbooks, discuss the many communication skills -- writing, publishing, exhibits, television and radio. photography, computers and other disciplines.

The Awards series (VIII), includes material on all ACE awards. The most prestigious award, the Reuben Brigham award has been presented annually since 1947, the year following Brigham's death. It is presented to individuals not associated with ACE for their outstanding contributions to agricultural communications. The Pioneer Award was originally established in 1957 as the "Frank Jeter" award to honor this outstanding North Carolina editor. In 1959, the award was renamed "The Pioneer" award to honor other precedent-setting communicators who had died. The largest award program is the Critique and Awards. Under this annual program ACE members enter examples of their work for which the winners receive plaques. Awards have been an integral part of ACE from the beginning. This series contains guidelines, nominations, correspondence, brochures, and other material on the many awards given by ACE.

Series Description

Series I. Newsletters. 1919 - 1997. (Boxes 1 - 7, 51)

The first AAACE newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1 was published in November 1919. The original newsletter no longer exists; however, ditto machine (spirit duplicator) copies are in the archives. Materials are arranged in chronological order.

Series II. Quarterly. 1968 - 1997. (Boxes 8 - 11)

AAACE quarterly, later Journal of Applied Communications. Copies are arranged chronologically.

Series III. Annual Meetings. 1914 - 1997. (Boxes 12 - 17)

This series contains programs and other materials such as lists of meeting registrants. There are no programs for 1913, 1919, 1920, 1929, 1933, 1934 and 1958. Materials are arranged chronologically.

Series IV. Board Minutes. 1919 - 1997. (Boxes 18 - 20)

Earliest board minutes in this series are in Proceedings of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Annual Conferences of ...., 1919. Some early newsletters include board minutes. Minutes are arranged chronologically.

Series V. The Presidents of ACE. 1985 - 1997. (Box 21)

Folders in this series contain research data and correspondence for the book The Presidents of ACE. A copy of the book is also included. Material is filed chronologically.

Series VI. Directories. 1958 - 59, 1982 - 1997. (Box 22)

The first ACE directory was published in 1958-59. There are no other directories until 1982 when the first annual directory was published. Prior to 1958, ACE membership was usually listed in the newsletters. Directories are arranged in chronological order.

Series VII. Clip Art Books, Communications Handbooks. 1962- 1997 (Box 23)

This series contains three of the six clip art books published, five of the six handbooks published, memoranda of agreement and correspondence with the publisher. Material is arranged by subject and then chronologically.

Series VIII. Awards. 1947 - 1997. (Boxes 24, 25)

This series contains correspondence, brochures, policies, press releases, rule books, exhibit score cards, communications contest entry blanks, and acceptance speeches on the Reuben Brigham Award, Pioneer award, American Plant Food Council award, Farm Film Foundation award, 25-year award, Professional award, and the Critique and Awards program. Material is arranged by award.

Series IX. History of AAACE. 1913 - 1967. (Box 26)

This series contains an 11-part series on the history of AAACE from 1913 to 1967. Also included are copies of the book, the objectives of AAACE, 50th anniversary material, logos, membership cards, correspondence and a record book from the 1930s and 1940s. The material is arranged by subject, and chronologically.

Series X. Committee Reports. 1931 - 1966. (Boxes 27, 28)

Committee reports in this series are in chronological order in Box 27 beginning with 1931, and by committee in Box 28.

Series XI. Membership. 1913 - 1976. (Box 29)

This series contains membership lists and surveys, recruitment flyer, packets and brochures. Materials are arranged by subject, then chronologically .

Series XII. National Project in Agricultural Communications. 1952 - 1977. (NPAC) (Boxes 30 - 33)

This series includes organizational materials, proposals, talks, budgets, reports, newsletters, board minutes, correspondence, and workshop publications. The material is arranged by subject.

Series XIII. Professional Agricultural Communications Editorial Research (PACER). 1973 - 1979. (Box 34)

This series contains articles of incorporation, bylaws, minutes, a proposal, annual reports and correspondence. The materials are arranged chronologically by subjects.

Series XIV. Correspondence, Presidents Agricultural Communicators in Education (ACE). 1938 - 1983. (Boxes 35 - 37)

Presidential correspondence and general correspondence by years. Material arranged in folders by name chronologically.

Series XV. Regional Reports and Activities. 1936 - 1990s. (Box 38)

Regional activities. Arranged chronologically.

Series XVI. Professional Improvement, Communications Training. 1959 - 1961. (Box 39)

Communications training surveys, AAACE professional improvement survey and correspondence arranged by subject.

Series XVII. Miscellaneous, A-C. 1800s - 1997. (Box 40)

American farm press, 1800s; ACE archives; Association of Educational Communicators; calendar of deadlines; communications handbook; code of ethics; constitution; Council of Communication Societies, Critique & Awards. Material is arranged alphabetically.

Series XVII. Miscellaneous, D-H. 1920 - 1997. (Box 41)

Development fund; Extension Editors advisory committee; executive task force; exhibit/FFA; "Dead Editors" organization; Heritage series; historical documents. Material arranged alphabetically.

Series XVII. Miscellaneous, I-R. 1952 - 1992. (Box 42)

Frank Jeter; job placement service; Journal of Extension; ACE logo; national headquarters; past presidents advisory council; program development conference; profile, AAACE; Journal of Applied Communications (Quarterly); research journal; resolutions; retirees (SOBS); roster, agricultural communications groups. Material is arranged alphabetically.

Series XVII. Miscellaneous, S-Z. 1947 - 1992. (Box 43)

Lester A. Schlup; 75th anniversary; special interest groups; survey, agricultural college editors; tributes, deceased members. Material is arranged alphabetically.

Series XVIII. Photographs. 1860s - 1997. (Boxes 44-45, 49)

Buildings, AAACE meetings, editors, committees, negatives (people and meetings), correspondence. Materials are arranged chronologically.

Series XIX. Tapes - Audio, Video. 1973 - 1996. (Box 46)

Welcoming speech, 1973 meeting; interview by Ovid Bay of Lester A. Schlup (with transcript), June 1976. Promotional video for 1997 meeting. Tapes are arranged chronologically.

Series XX. Publications, Miscellaneous. 1916 - 1980. (Box 47)

AAACE stylebook; proceedings of early meetings; history of AAACE, 1967; Log of Odyssey II. Material is arranged chronologically.

Series XXI. Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). 1971 - 1979. (Box 48)

Newsletters, constitution, correspondence. Materials are arranged chrono-logically.

Series XXII. Banners, Posters. 1991 - 1997. (Box 50)

Banner from South Dakota meeting, 1991; T-shirt from Vermont meeting, 1995; canvas tote bag from Ohio meeting, 1997.

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