About Us & Activities

History of the ESU

The English-Speaking Union of the United States was created to fulfill a mission.  It was formally organized in the United States in 1920 and arose from the conviction of its founder, Sir Evelyn Wrench and a group of like-minded American and British friends, that maintenance of the close personal and national ties forged during World War I was necessary for the preservation of peace. He imagined the ESU as an inclusive organization "founded in no narrow attitude of race pride, in no spirit of hostility to any people."  Its educational mission would be carried out by a host of activities allowing for personal contact between peoples at every level.

The Portland Branch of ESU is one of the oldest branches in the country.  We were founded in the late 1920's. Mr. & Mrs. Frederick Strong had visited Great Britain where they met members of the ESU. On their return, the Strongs assembled the first ESU group in Portland.

Our English in Action Program was the second in the country to begin and has continued without interruption every week for almost thirty years.

We've been active in the Books As Envoys Program, sending books to Argentina, for many years, too.

We just completed another successful Shakespeare Competition and are sending our finalist to NYC to compete on April 23 at Lincoln Center.

Our Activities

English In Action Conversations

National Shakespeare Competition

TLab: Travel and Learn Abroad

The English-Speaking Union

Portland Branch

Portland Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.