Collection inventory

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American Foundation for Continuing Education (AFCE) 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.

Finding aid created by: EL
Date: Oct 1976

Biographical History

Beginning in 1947 as the American Foundation for Political Education, this organization developed liberal education materials for study-discussion programs focused on politics, law, and international affairs; helped organizations, agencies, and institutions through consultation, program development, and leadership training; and prepared special materials on liberal arts and politics for business and industry. In the late 1950’s the Foundation’s subject interests, publications, and clientele grew and encompassed the fields of economics, science, the arts, and the humanities, thus prompting the Foundation to change its name to the American Foundation for Continuing Education. The Foundation garnered financial support largely by grants from the Fund for Adult Education, as well as participants’s fees and service charges. The Foundation ended most of its activities other than publications and revisions in 1965.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

Administrative files contain annual reports, board of directors minutes, meeting reports and agendas, funding information, staff meetings, and miscellany. Correspondence has four divisions: general correspondence (1953-1970); individuals and organizations; outgoing (1962-1969); subject. Key Foundation names appear as correspondents; William W. Cowan, Stanley A. Gill, Charles A. Nelson, George W. Overton, William J. Trainor, Harold S. Williams, and Jerome M. Ziegler; as well as officials from the Fund for Adult Education. Financial documents include account books, auditor and bank statements, income tax and related papers, payroll records, and other common financial data. Programs and projects include conferences, workshops, and seminars sponsored by the Foundation or in which the Foundation played a role. Of note, Arms and Foreign Policy Program (1962), Avenue to the Arts (1959-1963), Explorations of the Universe (1961-1963), Peace Corps Project (1960’s), and Science Program (1959-1964). Publications include discussion manuals and papers. Subject files have material of organizations with which the Foundation had contact. Miscellaneous papers consist of newsletters and an assortment of printed material.


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.

Related Material

The library holds a considerable number of collections related to adult and continuing education. Please refer to the SCRC Subject Index for a complete listing.

Subject Headings


Cowan, William Wallace
Gill, Stanley A.
Nelson, Charles A.
Overton, George W.
Trainor, William J.
Williams, Harold S.
Ziegler, Jerome M.

Corporate Bodies

American Foundation for Continuing Education.
American Foundation for Political Education.
Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Peace Corps (U.S.)


Adult education.
Art -- Study and teaching.
International relations.
Science -- Study and teaching.

Genres and Forms

Manuals (instructional materials)
Minutes (administrative records)


Adult education

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

American Foundation for Continuing Education (AFCE) Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

Administrative files


Financial documents

Programs and projects


Subject files