Toastmasters International-History

The History of Toastmasters

When Ralph C. Smedley formed the first official Toastmasters club in 1924, he sought to create a collaborative learning environment where young men could learn the art of public speaking. A century later, nearly 8 million members (of all genders) in 148 countries/territories around the world have worked on bettering themselves thanks to Smedley’s vision of a club environment where members prepare and deliver speeches, respond to impromptu questions, and give and receive constructive feedback.

Toastmasters Through Time

Click the tiles below to explore historic milestones over the years. For a quick look at Toastmasters International’s 100 years, read the historic overview.

Additional resources

The Toastmaster Magazine Archive

Explore magazine issues from 1930 onward by using the “Year” filter.

International Presidents

Get to know our current President and see who came before. 

From the Toastmasters Vault

Watch an archival video showcase, including footage of our founder.

Golden Gavel Award

Learn more about the prestigious award and those who received it.