ATD’s 75th Anniversary: Publications, Then and Now

A History by Kristen Fyfe-Mills

“As is true at most companies, we at John Hancock find our management staff becoming increasingly interested in training programs that augment and enrich experience and training on the job,” wrote Ronald Pariseau, training director at the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, in 1955. His article “Developing an Effective Way of Thinking” appeared in the Jan.-Feb. issue of Journal of the American Society of Training Directors published by ASTD (now ATD).

Publishing useful and insightful content by practitioners and for practitioners has been our hallmark for more than seven decades.

Skip to the bottom of this page to delve deeper into the history of ATD’s publications and see how we have evolved over the years.

Then: Industrial Training News Magazine (1945)

Now: TD Magazine (2018)

Then: Infoline (1987-1998)

Now: TD at Work (2018)

Then: ASTD Handbook

Now: ATD’s Foundations of Talent Development (2018)

Then: ASTD State of the Industry (1999)

Now: The State of the Industry (2017)

Then: Paper

Now: ATD Publications App


ATD’s 75th Anniversary: Publications, Then and Now, by Kristen Fyfe-Mills, continued from top

The very first publication we distributed was called Industrial Training News. It was a member-only publication that over the years underwent many name changes:

  • The Journal of Industrial Training
  • The Journal of the American Society of Training Directors
  • Training Directors Journal
  • Training and Development Journal
  • Training & Development
  • T+D
  • and now, TD.

The goal of the publication has always been to offer news, insights, trends, and best practices. Interestingly, a look through the table of contents of some of the old publications reveals that some of today’s issues are similar to what practitioners faced decades ago. Consider these topics in the May 1960 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Training Directors: “Decision Simulation for Top Management Training”; “Evaluation: A Training Dilemma”; and “New Training Tools.”

Past is sometimes prologue.

When ASTD was first formed, it served primarily training directors in the oil industry. As the membership grew to include people from other industries, the production of content and resources increased and diversified.

In the 1960s, Training Research Abstracts was added to the association’s resource list, and a booklet, “Focus for Management,” which touted the importance of training, was produced as a tool members could use in their organizations. In 1967, the first Training and Development Handbook was published.

The 1970s saw ASTD increase collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor and the State Department on research projects and creation of resources for training efforts in other countries. A Manual on Forming National Training and Development Organizations was published in 1972 and translated into French and Spanish.

Competencies for the training field were a focus early on. In 1978, the first book on the topic was published. It was titled Study of Professional Training and Development Roles and Competencies and was followed by several other competency studies, most recently the 2013 ASTD Competency Study.

Beyond books and research reports, the association was also publishing additional resources. In 1984, INFO-LINE (now TD at Work) was introduced as a subscription with issues narrowly focused on specific topics in the field, like “Introduction to Teletraining” and “Intranets” to provide “practical guidelines for training and development professionals.” Today, the topics reflect top-of-mind trends and issues that talent development professionals currently wrestle with, such as knowledge transfer and lean learning.

Other Insights Written by Kristen Fyfe-Mills

Thought Leader Reflections: Learn, Lead, Adapt, Improve
Responding to Change: The Evolving Role of the Talent Development Professional