The Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance was founded as a result of a November 9, 1923, letter from Mary Bell Smith, president of the Dallas Physical Education Round Table, to physical education directors urging them to meet at the Texas State Teachers Association convention in Fort Worth to organize a state society. Twenty-two individuals met in the Westbrook Hotel on November 30 and voted to form the Texas State Physical Education Association as a section of the TSTA. The group elected Smith its first president and directed her to prepare a constitution and bylaws for adoption by mail ballot by January 1, 1924. The association remained a section of the TSTA until 1981, when the Representative Assembly voted to disaffiliate. Though the original group had expressed a desire to affiliate with the American Physical Education Association (now the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance) and delegates were elected to serve on the national governing body, a 1946 charter was the first official record of affiliation. The state association operates independently of the national organization but supports its programs and has adopted its name and structure. "Health" was included in the name in 1935, "recreation" in 1936, and "dance" in 1982. The executive director serves as the chief administrative officer for the association, supported by a thirty-five-member board of directors that includes twenty regional representatives, who replaced the original executive committee. A revised constitution and bylaws established divisions for fields represented in the name and authorized sections for interest groups within the divisions. The Representative Assembly elects officers and conducts business previously performed by the members in convention. The constitution and bylaws adopted on January 1, 1924, with subsequent amendments, grant membership for physical education professionals in Texas, students, and other persons interested in physical education, persons or organizations desiring to support the association, and persons nominated by the Executive Committee and elected by the members. Before 1954 the average membership was 400. It increased to 3,630 in 1985, after a permanent state office was obtained in 1954 and solicitations were made by the executive secretary-treasurer. Membership was 4,300 in 1993. About 80 percent are professional members and 20 percent student members; men and women are equally represented. Approximately 69 percent of the professional members are employed in elementary and secondary schools, 28 percent in colleges and universities, and 3 percent in nonschool positions.
The organization's Honor Award was conferred on more than 100 outstanding members between 1956 and 1993. Among these was Dr. David K. Brace, who served as president from 1927 to 1930, established and chaired the Department of Physical and Health Education at the University of Texas from 1926 to 1958, and remained active until his death in 1971. In recognition of his service, the association established the David K. Brace Award for outstanding members of the profession in 1981. The association publication, which began as the News Bulletin in 1932, became the TAHPERD Journal in 1956. The purpose of the association is to improve field-related programs in schools and colleges. In addition to annual conventions, the association has conducted or sponsored six statewide conferences, held twenty-three area meetings, and supported numerous regional summer and leadership workshops since 1954. The association improved standards for accrediting elementary and secondary schools, beginning with its 1933 standards for health and physical education, which were revised from 1954 through 1993. It supported the 1929 passage of a law requiring physical education instruction in the public schools and was involved in the passage of the 1981 House Bill 246, which replaced previous statutes and listed health and physical education as two of twelve basic subjects in the public school curriculum. Similar efforts from 1954 through 1993 improved standards for teacher certification and professional development. The association also assisted in developing nineteen curriculum guides from 1930 through 1978. Employment of a full-time executive director began on June 1, 1985, when Quentin A. Christian, former professor of health and physical education at the University of Mississippi, assumed the position.
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Texas Association for Health Archives, University of Texas at Austin.
Health and Medicine
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Lynn W. McCraw,
“Texas Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 01, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
August 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
August 13, 2020
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: