ABC had its first convention in Chicago in 1938, with 26 of the 100 members attending. For over forty years, the Association's standard convention dates were in late December. (Exceptions were the war years 1942-45, when no conventions were held, and 1967-69, when the Association experimented with meetings at the end of August.) In 1981, the annual convention moved to late October-early November. Regional meetings are held each spring.
Memorable annual conventions include 1959 in Los Angeles, the first meeting with over 100 attenders; 1968 in Chicago, held "at the same time as the Democratic National Convention so that we might learn something about political communication" (Weeks, 1985, p. 19); 1975 in Toronto, the first Association annual meeting outside the United States; and 1991 in Honolulu, the first meeting outside the North American continent.
With the addition of two regions outside of North America–Europe and Asia/Pacific–ABC has begun hosting European conferences each year and Asia/Pacific conferences every two years. Our first Asia/Pacific conference was held in New Zealand in 1997; our first European conference followed soon after, in Finland in 1999.