Navigate Up
Sign In

Birney Elementary School

Birney History

Alice McLellan Birney stirred the nation with her bold idea of a National Congress of Mothers. She was born October 19, 1858, in Marietta, Georgia of Scottish-English parentage.
After receiving her early education in a private school (public schools were far from numerous then) she attended the Atlanta High School and Mount Holyoke College. She was fortunate to grow up in a home of intelligence and culture, where her naturally thoughtful habit of mind was continually strengthened by broad and skillfully directed reading.
Alice McLellan married Alonzo J. White of Charleton, South Carolina. Just a few years later he died, leaving her with the sole responsibility of a daughter. Several years later she married Theodore W. Birney and moved to Washington, D.C. where their two daughters were born.
Mrs. Birney had the full sympathy and cooperation of her husband in her great aspiration to build a better world for children. This plan she brought before the public in 1895 in Chautauqua, New York. The following year she had an opportunity to explain her great idea to members of the General Federation of Woman's Clubs, who greeted it with lively interest. In 1897, she met Phoebe Apperson Hearst, who helped her transform the plan from an ideal into a lasting reality. Together they founded the National Congress of Mothers, later to be named the National Congress of Parents and Teachers. It was a success from the beginning.
The same year that the organization was founded, Mr. Birney died. Mrs. Birney, a woman of resolution as well as of vision, carried on despite her grief. She served as president of the new organization until five years before her death in 1907, in Chevy Chase, Maryland.


Architects:  McGuire and Muri
General Contractor:  Jardeen Brothers
Mechanical Contractor:  Harold Jewell Plumbing and Heating Company
Electrical Contractor: Tide Company
Total Construction Cost:  $537,639.00
Project Sq. Ft.:  40,322
Cost Per Sq. Ft.:  $13.33
Size of Site:  8.7 Acres
Date Contracts Awarded:  October 12, 1961
Date Contract Accepted:  November 8, 1962
School opened in 1963!
Building Photo II-1.jpg