Organization of the National Conference on Family Relations (later renamed the National Council on Family Relations) was initiated on April 21, 1938. Its first headquarters were at the University of Chicago. In conjunction with regional and state groups, it served as a clearinghouse for information, proposals, and research. ILCFR was incorporated as an affiliate of NCFR seven years later, on March 7, 1945.
The membership of NCFR/ILCFR represents a wide diversity of interests related to family issues. This diversity is illustrated by the professional specialties of NCFR presidents. For example, Paul Sayre, the first president was a lawyer; Adolph Meyer, the second president, was a psychiatrist. Later presidents included: sociology professors, a rabbi, a parent educator, family life educators, a gynecologist, a Catholic priest, an executive director of the YWCA, a life insurance executive, a doctor, an editor, a high school teacher, a psychologist, etc.
In 1988, NCFR published a paperback book entitled The National Council on Family Relations: A Fifty Year History 1938-1987. The following comes from that publication:
“The early leaders of the NCFR envisioned an interprofessional forum to provide opportunities for individuals, organized groups, and agencies interested in family life to plan and act together on concerns relevant to all forms of marriage and family relationships; establish professional standards; promote and coordinate educational and counseling efforts; and encourage research. In 1972 two additional objectives were added: to disseminate information and to further social action.”
In keeping with its intended purpose, “to advance the cultural values that are now principally secured through family relations for the advantage of the individual and the strength of the nation,” NCFR initiated annual meetings. The first was held in New York City on a Saturday in the early Fall of 1938. The theme was “The Contribution of the Family to the Cultural Wealth of the Nation.” Annual meetings of NCFR continue to be held in the Fall, while annual meetings of ILCFR are held early in the Spring.