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Laubach Literacy International 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: MMF
Date: May 1990

Biographical History

Laubach Literacy International (LLI) was founded in 1955 by Dr. Frank C. Laubach to help address the world-wide problem of illiteracy. Dr. Laubach believed that literacy was the "first step toward ending the suffering and exploitation of the world's disadvantaged people." The mission of Laubach Literacy International as stated in the 1989 annual report was "to enable illiterate adults and older youths to acquire the listening, speaking, reading, writing and mathematics skills they need to solve the problems they encounter in daily life; to take full advantage of opportunities in their environment; and to fully participate in the transformation of their society." LLI carried out its literacy mission both in the United States, through its National Affiliation for Literacy Advance (NALA), and internationally, through its International Program.

National Affiliation for Literacy Advance (NALA) was founded in 1968 to extend the work begun by Dr. Frank Laubach within the United States and Canada. In 1982 it was renamed Laubach Literacy Action (LLA). NALA/LLA filled several roles including:

1. Serving as a channel of communication for individuals within the field of literacy education.
2. Offering workshops to train both professional and volunteer tutors to teach reading and writing skills to native speakers of English (NSE); to teach English conversation, reading and writing skills to uneducated speakers of other languages; and to write high interest simplified reading materials for both youths and adults.
3. Aiding in the development and acquisition of material required to fill specific local needs.
4. Providing guidance on establishing literacy programs in areas of administration, finance and recruitment of students and tutors.

New Readers Press (NRP), the publishing division of LLI, was founded in 1967 and assists in the development of materials used by NALA in the teaching of new readers. NRP was responsible for Be Informed, Laubach Way to English, and New Streamlined English, series used in the instruction of those wishing to become literate. New For You was a newspaper published for new readers containing easy to read articles on news of the day. Other publications geared toward new readers include a wide range of practical and interesting information.

The International Program of Laubach Literacy International was an outgrowth of the work carried out by Dr. Frank Laubach between 1937 and 1954. During that period he gave technical assistance in establishing literacy programs throughout the world. With the founding of LLI in 1955, a channel was made available for promoting the opportunity for literacy throughout the world.

Laubach Literacy International's commitment to the advancement of literacy presupposes a belief in the power of the word — spoken, heard, written and read" (LLI, 1986 Annual Report). The International Program stressed four areas in the carrying out of their mission:

1. Materials Development: Literacy primers to be used by volunteer tutors were written, field tested, published and distributed. Follow-up readers were published for use by new readers.
2. Training: Training workshops were made available to volunteer and professional literacy writers, tutors and program organizers. Emphasis was placed on recruiting, training, and supporting tutors from the indigenous population.
3. Technical Assistance: Once a program was established LLI provided consulting services in the areas of program organization, administration, promotion, and evaluation.
4. Financial Assistance: The cost of "each one teach one" programs was shared by the host country and LLI. The host supplied volunteers, facilities for teaching and storage of materials, paid personnel and monetary gifts. LLI provided funds to subsidize publications and to support full-time program organizers, writers and tutor trainers.

If there was a pre-existing literacy organization LLI did not create a new organization requiring financial support. Through the years the "each one teach one" method of teaching reading has been used in 103 countries and in over 300 languages.

In August 2002, Laubach Literacy International merged with Literacy Volunteers of America to form ProLiteracy Worldwide.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Laubach Literacy International Records, processed in 1989, form an addition to the Laubach Collection, which also includes personal papers of Frank C. Laubach as well as organizational documents of Laubach Literacy International. The Laubach Literacy International Records consists primarily of files of individuals who served in various capacities within Laubach Literacy International as well as files of the administrative divisions of LLI. The collection consists of multiple accessions which have not been physically integrated, but they are listed logically in the following inventory; as a result, box numbers may skip around.

Each individual or administrative division was treated as a sub-unit within the Laubach Collection, which is therefore diveded into 17 series, as follows: General files, Robert F. Caswell files, Priscilla Gipson files, Koinonia, Effa S. Laubach files, Frank C. Laubach files, Robert S. Laubach files, Laubach Literacy Action, National Affiliation for Literacy Advance (NALA) files, New Readers Press, Newsletters, Edward H. Pitts files, Primers, and Trustees, Board of. The collection also includes photographs, various audio-visual resources, material from various scrap books, two reading machines and a "tin trunk" library. There is much overlapping of material among the sub-units and pertinent information on a subject may be found in more than one category; researchers are encouraged to review the entire finding aid thoroughly to ensure locating all relevant material.

The General files contains material relating to various aspects of LLI including International programs; David E. Mason; Financial; Minnie Schultz's manuscript describing the origin of "each one teach one"; Margaret Strawbridge's files on World Literacy and Christian Literature; and files donated by Linda and Harold McNeal, including correspondence with Norman Friberg and Dr. Frank C. Laubach (1965-1969), containing information on literacy and related programs.

The Robert F. Caswell files consist of material from the administrator of International Programs for Laubach Literacy International. and contain primarily correspondence, information files, and reports related to international programs. The material is primarily in English, however files relating to Mexico and Colombia include material in Spanish and files on Brazil include material in Portuguese. Alphabetically arranged, the inclusive dates of Caswell's files are 1970-1979.

Correspondence: Documents the development of the foreign literacy programs and the difficulties encountered establishing programs in other countries.

General files: Information on such topics as committees, conferences, NALA, newsletters, and grant proposals. Also includes information files on continents and countries of the world. Names for countries are the recognized names prior to 1980.

Programs International: Information on LLI programs overseas. Includes Afghanistan, Colombia, East Pakistan, India / Bengal / Kathicappally, Kenya, Mexico-ALMAC, Panama, and Ramallah on the west bank of the Jordan River (found under both Israel and Jordan).

Reports: Included are both annual reports of the above international programs and reports from Laubach-assisted programs in Brazil, Ecuador and South Africa.

The Priscilla Gipson files pertain to her service as Executive Director of the National Affiliation for Literacy Advance (NALA). Her files cover the activities of NALA, the branch of LLI responsible for literacy programs in the United States. Much of the material deals with the training of tutors in the teaching of English as either the primary language or as a secondary language to speakers of other languages. Also included is information on organizing school tutors, outlining workshop organization, and LWE/ESOL training, in addition to student interviews and tutor questionnaires from 1970. The inclusive dates of the material are 1966-1983, the bulk dates 1971-1977.

Koinonia contains financial reports, the December 1959 issue of Koinonia Magazine, and information on the Board of Trustees.

Effa S. Laubach files consist of notices printed upon her death in 1973.

Frank C. Laubach files contain information relating to Dr. Laubach, including biographical material, bibliographies, correspondence (including copies of letters exchanged with President Dwight David Eisenhower, 1953-1964), obituaries (1970), and writings, including a draft of Thirty Years With the Silent Billion, The Story of Jesus, and several pieces on phonetic spelling. Inclusive dates are 1943-1971, bulk dates 1960-1970. Additional information on Dr. and Mrs (Effa) Frank C. Laubach and Laubach Literacy International may be found by consulting the finding aid to the original receipt, "The Laubach Collection: Consisting of the Personal Papers of Frank C. Laubach and the Organizational Documents of Laubach Literacy, Inc." compiled by Deborah R. Chmaj and Menbere Wolde (Syracuse University Libraries, Syracuse, New York, 1974).

The bulk of the Robert S. Laubach files consist of correspondence and literacy journalism material.

Correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, which is not filed under an individual's name is filed chronologically by date. Correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, which is filed under an individual or organization name is arranged alphabetically. Memos are filed chronologically. Correspondence refers to committee business and the Frank C. Laubach Memorial Fund, and includes requests to various charitable organizations and foundations regarding funding, letters to Reader's Digest (1976-1977), and exchanges with members of the Board of Trustees.

Literacy journalism papers constitute seven boxes (3.5 linear ft.) of material. The papers are from courses in literacy journalism taught by Dr. Robert Laubach in the School of Journalism at Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York (1951-1981). Arranged alphabetically by author, paper topics cover literacy issues in foreign countries (Asia, Africa and South America); literacy and illiteracy in the United States; Laubach Literacy in the United States; and writing for new readers, and for religious magazines. Included under Literacy Journalism Papers are student book reports, literacy bibliographies, and a list of periodicals in the field of literacy.

The material contained in the National Affiliation for Literacy Advance (NALA) and Laubach Literacy Action (LLA) series files relates to the activities involved in support of the teaching of illiterates. Material includes committee records, reports, correspondence, council bulletins from many states, Metro Projects newsletters (local literacy projects), and regional material (correspondence and information relating to the geographical regions covered by NALA, filed alphabetically). NALA files also appear in other sub-units of the collection.

New Readers Press (NRP) is the publishing division of Laubach Literacy International. "NRP produces teaching and tutor-training materials incorporating volunteer field experience" (from "Laubach Literacy Action" brochure). Included are catalogs as well a number of actual publications, including the "Be Informed Series" (establishing credit, buying a car or house, preparing for marriage, etc.); "New Streamlined English" and "English the New Way" series (explaining how to teach reading using the Laubach Method); and many others on topics such as alcohol, drugs, first aid, health, historical figures such as Martin Luther King, and how to use the telephone. Individual publications are listed first in alphabetical order, followed by various series filed alphabetically under series title and within that by individual title.

Newsletters from various international literacy programs, arranged alphabetically by title, include Adult Literacy News Bulletin (India, Burma, Ceylon, 1949-1956) Epistle to the Koinonians (1957-1976), Lit-Lit (1957-1966), and World Literacy and Christian Literature (1947-1956).

The files of Edward H. Pitts, Managing Director of LLI, consist of correspondence and of material relating to budgeting, goals and objectives, Programs International, and Trustees. General correspondence is filed chronologically by date; some individual and organization correspondence is filed alphabetically by last name of individual or organization title.

Primers contains both English and foreign language basic readers. Primers in English include the American Red Cross/Foundation for World Literacy series, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Education series, the English Simplified series, and the Intermountain Indian School series. Titles are filed alphabetically within each series. Foreign language primers include Arabic, Spanish, and Swahili arranged in alphabetical order within language. Thirty-two (32) primers in Urdu are also included.

Trustees, Board of material relates primarily to meetings held 1960-1972 and 1977-1979. There is also some information on individual trustees: Thomas Carruth, Freeda H. Jones, May McMillan, and Ethel Scholfield. Information on meetings is arranged chronologically and all other material alphabetically.

Memorabilia contains material pertaining to various sub-units as well as a few unrelated items. This material has been placed in larger, but not oversized, containers, and has been selectively cross-referenced.

Photographs fall into two categories: people and places. People include Frank C. Laubach, Robert S. Laubach, Laubach personnel, and members of the Board of Trustees; places include continents and countries associated with Laubach Literacy International. The arrangement of the photographs is alphabetical, with individuals preceding geographical divisions.

Audio-Visual Material includes audio tapes, slide-tape programs, video tapes, filmstrips, slides, and motion pictures (films). The material is arranged chronologically within each medium if a date is available. Titles are used when supplied, however the collection includes items which have no information about date or content.

Acronyms used in the Laubach Collection
Abbreviation Expansion
ABE Adult Basic Education
ACVFA Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Aid
AID Agency for International Development
ALFALIT Alfabetizaction Literatura
ALMAC Alphabet Laubach Mexicana A.C.
ALOR Adult Literacy Organization of Rhodesia
BILCA Biblioteca interamercana de lectura complementaria para adultos
CFO Camp Farthest Out
DEMIDAL Departamento Missionario de Alfabetizacao
EOTO Each One Teach One
EDP Electronic Data Processing
ESOL English to Speakers of Other Languages
ESL English as a Second Language
EVP Executive Vice President
FAL Funda de Alphabetizacau Laubach Fundacion Alfabetizadora Laubach
IAM International Afghan Mission
IEY International Education Year
IMPACT Instruction and Management Practices to Aid Classroom Teaching
IPPF International Planned Parenthood Federation
IR (IRs) International Representative(s)
JAALP Jerusalem Area Arabic Literacy Program
LCW Lutheran Church Women
LITINT Literacy International
LIT-LIT Committee on World Literacy and Christian Literature
LLA Laubach Literacy Action
LLET Laubach Literacy Educational Trust
LLI Laubach Literacy International
LOVE Lots of Volunteer Action
LVA Literacy Volunteers of America
LWE Laubach Way to English
MAF Mission Aviation Fellowship
MARC Missions Advanced Research and Communications Center
NALA National Affiliation for Literacy Advance
NCVA National Center for Voluntary Action
NES New English Streamlined
NSE New Streamlined English
NFY News for You (newspaper) or News for You (department)
NOOR National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation
NRP New Readers Press
NSE Native Speakers of English; New Streamlined English (teaching series)
OAS Organization of American States
OEF Overseas Education Fund of the League of Women Voters
OpUpSA Operation Upgrade of South Africa
PES Public Education Services
PIP Public Information and Promotion
PLAL Programa Laubach para America Latina
PSA Public Service Announcement
R2R Right to Read
RTR Right to Read
SU Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York
TAICH Technical Assistance Information Clearing House
TESL Teaching English as a Second Language
TESOL Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages
UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNICEF United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (International Children's Fund)
VISTA Volunteer Information Service to America
VITA Volunteers for International Technical Assistance

Arrangement of the Collection

See description above.


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

See also the Laubach Collection and the Literacy Volunteers of America Records.

Subject Headings


Caswell, Robert E.
Gipson, Priscilla.
Laubach, Effa S., 1882-1973.
Laubach, Frank Charles, 1884-1970.
Laubach, Robert S (Robert Seely), 1918-
Mason, David E.
Pitts, Edward H.

Corporate Bodies

Committee on World Literacy and Christian Literature.
Laubach Literacy Action.
Laubach Literacy Fund.
Laubach Literacy International -- Archives.
Laubach Literacy International -- Records and correspondence.
Laubach Literacy, Inc.
Lutheran Church Women.
National Affiliation for Literacy Advance.
National Right to Read Effort.
New Readers Press.
Peace Corps (U.S.)
Peace Corps (U.S.) -- Colombia.
Syracuse University. -- School of Journalism.


Adult education -- United States.
Adult education teachers -- Training of.
Clergy -- United States.
Clergy as authors.
Educators -- United States.
English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers.
English language -- Textbooks for foreign speakers.
Evening and continuation schools -- United States.
Literacy -- Africa.
Literacy -- Asia.
Literacy -- Colombia.
Literacy -- India.
Literacy -- Latin America.
Literacy -- Mexico.
Literacy -- United States.
New literates, Writing for.
Readers (Adult)
Readers (Primary)
Readers for new literates.
Visual literacy.

Genres and Forms

Long-playing records.
Motion pictures (visual works)


Adult education teachers.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Laubach Literacy International Records,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Table of Contents

General Files

Caswell, Robert F.

Gipson, Priscilla


Laubach, Effa S.

Laubach, Frank C.

Laubach, Robert S.

Laubach Literacy Action (LLA)

National Affiliation for Literacy Advance (NALA)

New Readers Press


Pitts, Edward H.


Trustees, Board of



Audio-visual material

Selected index to correspondence


Selected index to correspondence

For each correspondent, the folder, box, and date is given.