Centennial 1914 – 2014
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In the Beginning...

NACOS: The Forerunner of ACCE

In 1920, four years after he served as the second president of the National Association of Commercial Organization Secretaries (NACOS), William George Bruce of the Milwaukee chamber self-published a book entitled Commercial Organizations: Their Function, Operation and Service. At the time, chambers of commerce were known generally as “commercial organizations” and chamber executives were called “secretaries.”

Bruce wrote that NACOS “had its beginning Oct. 10, 1906 in Binghamton, N.Y. Twenty-five secretaries coming from N.Y., Pa., and N.J. formed what was then known as the Inter-State Association of Commercial Executives.” It later became the American Association of Commercial Executives (AACE) and represented chambers from Ithaca, Elmira, Wilkes Barre, Syracuse, Erie, Scranton, Harrisburg, Cornell, Rochester, Buffalo, Atlantic City, and Binghamton.

A similar association, the Central Association of Commercial Secretaries, was formed in Cincinnati in 1909. In 1913 Cristy Mead of New York City, was authorized to confer with the Central Association about consolidating the two bodies. The amalgamation “was finally consummated” and the NACOS name was chosen at a meeting in Cincinnati in 1914, where Mead was elected first president of the
new association. One year later there would be 203 members; by 1930 membership topped 1,000.

NACOS was created in Cincinnati, but the first convention of the joined organizations was held the following year in St. Louis.

NACOS becomes ACCE

The February 1928 issue of NACOS News, the association’s monthly newsletter, announced that a committee was considering a name change
for the association.  Members were asked if they liked the association’s name and its acronym, and if they had suggestions for a new name.

Old and New MastheadsEnlarge Apparently most members liked NACOS, because it wasn’t until 20 years later, August of 1948, after a year’s study, that the NACOS Board approved changing the association’s name to American Chamber of  Commerce Executives. (In 1944 there was an attempt to change the name from NACOS to ACCE, but it failed.)

The change was overwhelmingly approved by the membership at the 1948 convention in Philadelphia. That name prevailed for 66 years until the 2014 convention in Cincinnati, when the membership voted for a slight alteration, changing the name to the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. This more clearly labeled the organization as a professional association and gave a nod to ACCE’s growing international audience.


Setting standards, defining
the mission and dealing with relentless change.

S. Cristy Mead

communities No matter its size, a chamber of commerce represents "the law of co-operation and co-ordination of the accomplishment of results beneficial to the community.” — S. Christy Mead, ACCE’s first president.

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Facts, viewpoints and opinions from times gone by.

ACCE Convention Locations

1915 St Louis

1916 Cleveland

1917 Chicago

1918 Rochester N.Y.

1919 Indianapolis

1920 Chicago

1921 New Orleans

1922 Detroit

1923 Cincinnati

1924 Washington D. C.

1925 Kansas City

1926 Pittsburgh

1927 Columbus, Ohio

1928 Nashville

1929 Milwaukee

1930 Tulsa

1931 Toledo

1932 Memphis

1933 New York City

1934 Cincinnati

1935 Washington, D.C.

1936 Omaha

1937 Buffalo, N.Y.

1938 New Orleans

1939 Chicago

1940 Boston

1941 Los Angeles

1942 Detroit

1943 Pittsburgh

1944 Kansas City

1945 Columbus, Ohio

1946 Miami

1947 Colorado Springs

1948 Philadelphia

1949 Seattle

1950 Omaha

1951 New York City

1952 St Louis

1953 Oklahoma City

1954 San Francisco

1955 Milwaukee

1956 Boston

1957 Minneapolis

1958 Jacksonville, Fla.

1959 Denver

1960 Indianapolis

1961 Rochester, N.Y.

1962 Los Angeles

1963 Atlanta

1964 Des Moines

1965 Houston

1966 Hartford, Conn.

1967 St. Paul, Minn.

1968 Portland, Ore.

1969 Detroit

1970 Pittsburgh

1971 Cruise ship to


1972 Las Vegas

1973 Cincinnati

1974 New Orleans


1975 Tulsa

1976 Kansas City

1977 Phoenix

1978 Montreal

1979 San Antonio

1980 Hollywood, Fla.

1981 Hartford, Conn.

1982 Omaha

1983 Reno

1984 Philadelphia

1985 Milwaukee

1986 Seattle

1987 Montreal

1988 Denver

1989 Minneapolis

1990 Atlanta

1991 Phoenix

1992 Milwaukee

1993 Jacksonville

1994 Memphis

1995 Salt Lake City

1996 Norfolk

1997 Fort Worth

1998 Newport Beach,


1999 Detroit

2000 Kansas City

2001 Albuquerque

2002 Pasadena

2003 Charlotte, N.C.

2004 Orlando

2005 St. Louis

2006 Cleveland

2007 Sacramento

2008 Pittsburgh

2009 Raleigh, N.C.

2010 Milwaukee

2011 Los Angeles

2012 Louisville

2013 Oklahoma City

2014 Cincinnati

2015 Montréal

Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives

1330 Braddock Place, Suite 300, Alexandria, VA 22314 • phone 703-998-0072 • fax 888-577-9883