STC History

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In 1953, two organizations concerned with improving the practice of technical communication were founded on the East Coast: the Society of Technical Writers (STW), and the Association of Technical Writers and Editors (ATWE). These organizations merged in 1957 to form the Society of Technical Writers and Editors (STWE). In 1960, STWE merged with the Technical Publishing Society, which had been founded in 1954 on the West Coast. The merger produced the Society of Technical Writers and Publishers (STWP). In 1971, the organization's name was changed to the Society for Technical Communication.

Today, STC is the largest professional society in the world dedicated to the advancement of the theory and practice of technical communication. Through information sharing and industry leadership, STC helps professionals design effective communication for a technical world. Because technology touches everyone, STC promotes public welfare by encouraging the development of better-educated professionals whose jobs are to make complicated information usable by many.

The organization's growth has mirrored our growing dependence on technology. Initially, STC was primarily made up of engineers who, among other activities, wrote instructions and descriptions of how electrical and mechanical products worked. A profound change took place as the pervasiveness of technology and the need to understand it became an integral part of our everyday lives. With the emergence of the Internet and online communication, our members now focus on supporting all aspects of the rapidly evolving world of technology.

The organization began because those working in the field recognized themselves as professionals with unique training and career issues. At its height, the Society had over 25,000 members in 140 professional and student chapters, and 26 special interest groups (SIGs), all over the world. Today, STC is over 65 years old. For the past three decades, STC has prospered, growing in size and scope as an organization whose members lead the field of technical communication. As the information technology revolution brought significant changes to world communication, the Society and its members continue to advance the theory and practice of technical communication. One of the Society's primary missions has been to prove technical communication's relevance and importance in the world. In 2009, the Society successfully lobbied the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics to recognize Technical Writer as a profession. In 2010, the Society began a year-long project to transform the organization and to prepare for the next fifty years of growth for the profession.

STC Chapters' Histories

It was once a responsibility of the STC regional director-sponsors to "Remind chapters to keep track of their chapter's history so that significant anniversaries of the chapter's formation are properly celebrated." Even though there are no more STC regional director-sponsors, some chapters maintain ongoing histories for themselves. These histories tell others when and where they started, how far they've come, and honors distinguished chapter members. A few of these are the following chapters:

  • Atlanta
  • Australia
  • Berkeley
  • Canada West Coast
  • Chicago
  • East Bay
  • France
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Manitoba
  • Oklahoma
  • Phoenix
  • Rochester
  • Rocky Mountain (impressive history records!)
  • Santa Barbara
  • Sacramento
  • Toronto
  • Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) Chapter
Last modified: December 24, 2020
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