Although under the OEA umbrella, the MLAO diverged in some significant respects.
But the MLAO must have remained a vital organization, judging from its ability to attract a new generation of teachers and scholars--the graduates of the 1880s and '90s--and women in especial.
An overview of the 147 papers presented in the fifteen years after the amalgamation (1892 to 1906) gives a sense of the MLAO in the turn-of-the-century years (although these figures should be read as inexact, since some participants remain unidentified and the subjects of some papers must be inferred).
The fact that the "literary" papers compose almost half of the total shows the degree to which the MLAO was functioning as a "learned society" (to use a term from our own time, although one now rapidly fading from view) and also indicates its role in facilitating the rise of new critical studies.
One may speculate, from the developing dominance by "English" of the MLAO program, that the instructors in French and German may well have wished to reclaim their organization.
Fraser and, untimely, Eliza Balmer), the MLAO last referred to itself, in its minutes, as an Association in 1917, and while its published minutes continued in OEA proceedings (and further holograph records may have been kept even if they now are lost), the last entry in the extant minute book is inscribed in 1919.
Whatever the explanation, for the MLAO this was not the case, and it is worth speculating why.
The MLAO, to twenty-first century eyes, was a compact and homogeneous organization.
The ratio of scholarly to pedagogic papers presented to the MLAO did shift in favour of the former over time, but only gradually, keeping in creditable balance for more than twenty years, and one searches in vain for a point of definitive disruption.
Scholarship" and "pedagogy;" it may be suggested--if only speculatively--were allied through the overarching idealism of the MLAO members and were yoked through the roomy oxymoron of a "natural method;' whose promotion provided the MLAO's initial rationale.
Note: For MLAO papers mentioned in this essay, and others, see "Papers and Publications of the Modern Language Association of Ontario, to 1919: A Chronological Listing.
2) The primary sources for the MLAO are contained in the Ontario Educational Association fonds, Modern Language Association of Ontario, Constitution, membership, and minutes, MU 8107, Archives of Ontario.