85 years ago today, Dr. Ralph C. Smedley met with a small group of people in a YMCA in Santa Ana, California. That was the first Toastmasters meeting ever. It’s amazing how since then the organization has grown to over 250,000 members in over 12,000 clubs in over 100 countries.
I don’t know if there are any official records of that first meeting or not but I can only imagine what it must have been like. Keep in mind that the world was a much different place in 1924. Dr. Smedley didn’t need to tell people to turn off their cell phones, obey the handicapped parking zones and check their emails for details on the next meeting. I suspect that meeting was mostly men – keep in mind that President Wilson had just four years earlier convinced congress to ratify the 19th amendment allowing women the right to vote.