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Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Records

An inventory of its records at Syracuse University

The adult education holdings are collectively known as the
Alexander N. Charters Library of Resources for Educators of Adults.

Overview of the Collection

Creator: Commission on Adult Basic Education (U.S.)
Title: Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Records
Inclusive Dates: 1955-2008
Bulk Dates: 1990-2004
Quantity: 4 linear ft..
Abstract: Records and papers of the adult education and literacy organization. Collection includes conference planning and programs, minutes, published material, newsletters, membership directories, policies and procedures, bylaws, treasurer's reports, strategic planning files, historian reports, more.
Language: English
Repository: Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Biographical History

The purpose of the Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) is to advance national and international adult education and literacy opportunities. It promotes, advocates for, and conducts literacy and lifelong education efforts. COABE was formed in 1971 to represent non-public adult education and literacy programs within the Adult Education Association (AEA) (public adult education and literacy programs were represented by the National Association for Public Continuing Adult Education, or NAPCAE). In 1982 NAPCAE and AEA merged to create the American Association for Adult Continuing Education (AAACE), and in 1999 COABE formally split from AAACE to become an independent organization.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Records are subdivided into general files and financial files.

General files contains agenda and minutes from board meetings, correspondence, conference planning and programs, Historian's reports and essays, legislative reports, photographs, and other items relating to the functioning of the organization. Of particular interest here is the material preceding COABE's separation from AAACE ("AAACE/COABE relationship"), and material dating from 2008 in which COABE explored a merger with ProLiteracy Worldwide. The Historian folder also contains essays by Albert Campbell, COABE historian, including a brief history of the organization.

Financial files contains budget reports, scholarship and grant information, and paperwork relating to the establishment of an endowment.

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Arrangement of the Collection

Material are arranged roughly alphabetically with the two main series.

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Access Restrictions

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center has numerous collections in the area of adult education; please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing. For COABE material in particular, see also the Adult Education Association/American Association for Adult and Continuing Education Records, Drew Allbritten Papers, William Langner Papers, and William S. Griffith Papers.

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Subject Headings

Corporate Bodies

Commission on Adult Basic Education (U.S.)


Adult education -- United States.
Educators -- United States.
Elementary education of adults.

Genres and Forms

Agendas (administrative records)
Annual reports.
Manuals (instructional materials)
Minutes (administrative records)
Speeches (documents)



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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Commission on Adult Basic Education (COABE) Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Gift of Albert Campbell, COABE Historian, 2009.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: MRC
Date: 15 Jun 2009
Revision history: Jul 2009 - additions (MRC)

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General records
Box 1 AEA [Adult Education Association] Annual Reports 1979, 1980
Box 1 Awards 1989-2005
Box 1 1980-1999
Box 2 2000-2008
Box 2 AAACE/COABE relationships 1992-1998
Box 2 Conference planning and evaluation 1977, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2008
Conference programs
Box 2 1976, 1980, 1985, 1987-1991
Box 3 1992-2000
Box 4 2001-2006
Box 4 Conference reports 1977-1979, 1985, 1987, 1992-2005 (2 folders)
Box 5 Conference site selection guidelines 1990, 1995, undated
Box 5 Conference miscellany 1990-1996, undated
Box 5 Correspondence 1988-2001
Box 5 Elections 1992-1998, undated
Box 5 Historian 1997-2005 - includes several essays by Albert Campbell, COABE Historian, such as "Where Have You Gone, Malcolm Knowles: Adult Education and Baseball" (1999) and "A Brief History of the National Commission on Adult Basic Education" (2002)
Box 5 Journal circa 1993-2008 - information on Adult Basic Education, published by COABE (2 folders)
Box 6 Leadership, officers 1979-2008 - includes a 3.5" floppy disk, unknown format
Box 6 Legislative reports 1995-1998
Box 6 Membership 1989-2003 (2 folders)
Box 6 Newsletter 1976, 1992-2008
Box 7 Photographs
Box 7 Planning and strategic plan 1979-1980, 1994, 1996-2005, undated (3 folders)
Box 7 Policies and procedures
Box 7 Pro-Literacy 2000-2008
Box 7 Publicity 1993 - for 1993 conference
Box 7 Technology reports 2005
Financial papers
Box 8 Budget 1995-1997
Box 8 Budget reports 1992-2005
Box 8 Endowment 1996-1998
Box 8 Scholarship, grants
Box 8 Treasurer's reports 1955-2006

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