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Toastmasters International Timeline

Since 1924, Toastmasters has been thriving. Take a look at some of the major moments Toastmasters has experienced along the way.


 Year  Month  Historical Event
1924 October The first meeting of the Number One Toastmasters Club in Santa Ana, California.
1926 January The second Toastmasters club is chartered in Anaheim, California.
1927 August Representatives of five Santa Ana Toastmasters clubs plan the formation of a "federation of Toastmasters clubs."
1928 October The first Manual for Toastmasters Clubs is copyrighted by Ralph Smedley. Today this is called the Club Management Handbook.
1930 October Publication of The Gavel, the first Toastmasters newsletter.
1932 December Toastmasters International is incorporated.
1932   The first club outside the United States chartered in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
1935 October The first Toastmasters club established outside North America in Southport, England.
1933 April The Toastmaster magazine is published. Produced quarterly, it contained news from the 20 Toastmasters clubs.
1935 July District organization is instituted, starting with District 1 of Southern California.
1936 Dr. Ralph C. Smedley published a mimeograph pamphlet entitled Constructive Criticism. This material soon became a printed booklet and was later renamed Speech Evaluation.
1938 January Charter No. 100 is presented to the Century Toastmasters Club in Santa Ana, California.
1938 August Inter-Club Speech Contest started. First winner: Henry Wiens of Reedley, California.
1940 October The World Headquarters moves to the First National Bank Building in Santa Ana, California. The office was in one room on the fifth floor.
1946 June The first Certificate of Merit, which was given to members who completed 12 speech projects in the "Basic Training Manual," is awarded to Reuben Levitin.
1946 July District 18 of Scotland becomes the first district organized outside the United States.
First Toastmasters International Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws are published.
1949 Dr. Ralph C. Smedley wrote and published a book called The Voice of the Speaker.
1950 The Beyond Basic Training manual, with 16 projects, was introduced to provide advanced speech training for members.  
1950 August The first Certificate of Completion is issued for the new advanced course, Beyond Basic Training.
1951 June The first regional conference is held in Des Moines, Iowa.
1955 A junior high school in Santa Ana, California, was named after Dr. Ralph C. Smedley.  
1959 The first edition of Dr. Ralph C. Smedley's account of the founding and growth of Toastmasters International is published, titled, The Story of Toastmasters (Reminiscences of the Founder).  
Toastmasters International's World Headquarters moves into a new building in Santa Ana, California.  
1963 Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, founder of Toastmasters, received Toastmasters International's prestigious Golden Gavel Award.  
1964 November The first Able Toastmaster (ATM) award is issued.  
1965 September Dr. Ralph C. Smedley, founder of Toastmasters, dies at age 87.  
1968 August The first Competent Toastmaster (CTM) award is issued for completing the manual Basic Training for Toastmasters.  
1969 August The Communication and Leadership Program manual is introduced at the International Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.  
1970 March The first Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) award is issued.  
1973 The Toastmaster magazine grew from palm-sized to 8.5 by 11 inches.  
1973 August Membership opens to women.  
1974 October Toastmasters International celebrates its 50th Anniversary.  
1977 August Evelyn Jane Burgay, DTM, is the first female to win the World Championship for Public Speaking.
1978 January The multi-manual Advanced Communication and Leadership Program is introduced.  
1979 April The first two Success/Leadership programs are introduced.  
1981 Toastmasters introduces its first convention pin.  
1981 November The Accredited Speaker Program begins.  
1982 February Mission statements for Toastmasters International, districts, and clubs were adopted.  
1982 October Membership reaches 100,000.  
1984 January Toastmaster magazine publishes its 50th anniversary issue.  
1984 July The Communication and Leadership Program manual is revised, and two new educational awards are introduced: the Able Toastmaster Bronze (ATM-B) and Able Toastmaster Silver (ATM-S).  
1985 August Helen Blanchard, DTM, becomes the first female Toastmasters International President.  
1988 The first Toastmasters club is chartered in the U.S.S.R.  
1989 April Membership reaches 150,000.  
1989 July The Distinguished Club Program, Distinguished Area Program and Distinguished Division Program are introduced.  
1990 June World Headquarters moves to Rancho Santa Margarita, California.  
1993 January Toastmasters International charters its 8,000th club.  
1995 is first launched.  
1997 January  The revised Communication and Leadership Program manual is introduced.  
1997  July  An improved two-track educational recognition system begins. The communication track includes the CTM, Advanced Toastmaster Bronze, Advanced Toastmaster Silver and Advanced Toastmaster Gold awards. The leadership track includes the Competent Leader and Advanced Leader awards. Requirements for the DTM award also change.  
1999 July  The 10-goal Distinguished Club Program is introduced.  
2001  June  Executive Director Terrence McCann retires and is replaced by Donna Groh.  
2002    Toastmasters International starts assisting members via email.  
2004  June  Toastmasters International charters its 10,000th club. Membership reaches 200,000.  
2006  January  The Competent Leadership manual is introduced.  
2006  July  Award titles in the communication track are renamed, and the leadership track is strengthened and expanded to include the Competent Leader, Advanced Leader Bronze and Advanced Leader Silver awards.  
2007  June  Toastmasters International chartered over 5000 corporate clubs.  
2007  September member and public websites are redesigned and modernized.  
2008  August  Executive Director Donna H. Groh resigns. Daniel Rex is named the new Executive Director.  
2009  May  Toastmasters International World Headquarters staff start a Twitter feed with the handle @Toastmasters.  
2009  June  Toastmasters International charters its 12,500th club. Membership reaches 250,000 in 106 countries.  
2009  July  The Toastmasters Learning Connection (TLC), an e-learning education platform, is launched.  
2009  August  Proposal A: Global Representation and Support is passed at the 2009 International Convention.  
2009  August  A total of 56 (out of 81) districts earn Distinguished status in the 2008-2009 year.  
2011 July  The Toastmaster digital flipbook magazine is launched and, for the first time, can be translated into over 45 languages.  
2011  July  Four districts are added in the 2010-2011 year for a new total of 86 districts.  
2011  August  Interpersonal Communication: A Toastmasters Youth Communication Module is introduced.  
2011  August  The Toastmasters website is redesigned to coincide with the refreshed brand.  
2011  August  Toastmasters first official brand refresh is launched at the 2011 Toastmasters International Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  
2012  January  The Chart of Motions is the last product printed on World Headquarters printing presses. 
2013  September  The Toastmaster magazine mobile app becomes available on the iPad, with Android and Kindle tablet versions launching in subsequent months.