The first gathering of land-grant college agricultural editors was July 10, 1913, when four publication editors called a conference at the University of Illinois. The editors present included T.R. Bryant, head, 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 17 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) and William E. Carnahan (1981- ???). Source: National Agricultural Library - Special Collection
Click here to access the USDA's National Agricultural Library Special Collections for more information about ACE's history.