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In 1909, the North Dakota Educational Association met at the end of December for several sessions over several days in Minot. The temperature was unseasonably warm, and an estimated 500 delegates were expected to attend. Everything was pointing in the right direction for a fulfilling convention.

From the beginning of the meeting, a contingent of attendees wanted to hold the next annual meeting in Bismarck, and the Bismarck Tribune reported that there was no opposition to this idea, an opinion that proved premature.

Meanwhile, several items of business were addressed. The group elected F. E. Smith of Wahpeton as president for the upcoming year, and listened intently as different speakers discussed educating youths, interacting and working with the parents, and more. They also organized something called a Foley Club, which we assume had to do with James Foley, who is sometimes called the first poet laureate of North Dakota, though no such title existed at the time.

And then there remained the contest for where the following year's convention would be, with Fargo looking to supplant Bismarck.

The Tribune reported:

"Then ensued one of the liveliest fights over the location of the next convention that ever occurred in the association." Fargo presented their invitation, and so did Bismarck, and then different factions argued for the next hour and a half. Many men from the Agricultural College in Fargo and the Valley CIty Normal School fought for Fargo, and tried to postpone the decision and refer it to a committee, but the organization of the Bismarck group, mixed in with some comments that apparently angered the Minot delegates enough to help swing the vote, ended the decision in Bismarck's favor, 5 to 1.”

But any hard feelings were put aside for the good of the meeting, which did prove to be a success, as the Bismarck Tribune reported:

"The teachers all say Minot has given them the best time they have ever had at any association. The weather has been ideal for the season of the year and added to the enjoyment of the occasion."

Dakota Datebook by Sarah Walker


Bismarck Daily Tribune, December 29, 1909, p1

Bismarck Daily Tribune, December 31, 1909, p1

Bismarck Daily Tribune, January 1, 1910, p1