1896-1897 Whitman Speech and Debate



Professor O. A. HAUERBACH was the English/Rhetoric/Oratory professor.

No official program yet but it is getting close.

Oratory contests were held this year and there are debating societies.

William Worthington of Whitman served as President of the Intercollegiate Oratorical Association.

The third annual oratorical contest of Whitman College was held in the Methodist Church on April 2, 1897.

We do not have pictures from these years.


Whitman News

I. Whitman College in 1896-1897

A.     The college added 3 new professors to the faculty.

1.     Mr. Reynaud was hired as a professor of modern languages.

2.     The Conservatory of Music added Miss Smith to its staff as a vocal teacher.

3.     Miss Bang was also hired by the college.

B. Rev. Stephen B. L. Penrose was the college president.

III. At Whitman College

The Pioneer was first published in November, 1896. A close friend and benefactor of the school suggested the name to President Penrose. Published once a month, the Pioneer ran advertisements for Stewart & Holmes Drug Co., and 'The Sterling," a dry-goods and shoe store in Walla Walla.



The Atheneum Debating Society for the young men, and the Alcott Society for the young ladies, meeting weekly, furnish opportunity for pleasant and profitable practice in the important work of debate and oratory.

To still further develop power and taste in oratory there has been inaugurated an Oratorical Association, the work of which will, it is hoped, further efforts here­tofore made for an Intercollegiate Oratorical Association of the State.

Two Glee Clubs, one for young men and the other for young ladies, besides the College Chorus, furnish op­portunity for advancement in music to such as are pre­pared to enter therein.



The sum of $25 has been offered by a friend of the College for the last three years to stimulate work in the department of Oratory. At a prize contest held in the Methodist Church, in Walla Walla, April 27th, 1896, Miss Agnes E. Adams, ’99, won the first prize of $15, by the delivery of an oration entitled: “A Plea for the Pearl of the Antilles.” Mr. Charles Meyers, 1900, won the second prize, with an oration entitled: “The Puri­tans and the Cavaliers.” The same prizes are offered for 1897.


The first meeting of the Intercollegiate Oratorical Association of Washington was held in Tacoma at the First Methodist Church, May 1st, 1896. The first prize, consisting of a gold medal and $50, was won by Miss Agnes E. Adams, Whitman College, ‘99, with the oration: “A Plea for the Pearl of the Antilles.” The second prize, a silver medal, was won by Mr. G. F. Johnson, Puget Sound University, with an oration entitled: “Our Country’s Greatest Need.”


Speech in the English Department News



Professor O. A. HAUERBACH.

I. Rhetoric.—A thorough study and application of Genung’s Rhetoric. General exercises in outlining, development of themes and practical criticism.

Junior course. Four hours a week during the first term.

II. English Literature—I. Shaw’s New English and American Literature. Lectures upon English poets and writers.

Senior course. Four hours a week during the first and second terms.

II. (a) A course upon American writers. Senior course. Three hours a week during the third term.

(b) A course in Middle English for 1897 Prologue of Canter­bury Tales.

Senior course. One hour a week during the third term.

III. Expression.—All students are given an opportunity for class and individual work in the psychological development of expression. The aim is to teach pupils to speak not words, but ideas. The voice and body are systematically developed by means of the Emerson System.

(a) Class reading.

Sophomore required course. One hour a week throughout the year.

(b) Analytical study of masterpieces in Oratory. Selections from Demosthenes, Cicero, Burke, Mirabean, Webster, Choate, Phil­lips and others.

Junior course. One hour a week during the year.

(c) Dramatic interpretation of Shakespeare’s plays. For 1897, Julius Caesar and the Merchant of Venice.

Senior required course. One hour a week throughout the year.

IV. Rhetoricals.—At least one essay, oration or debate must he prepared each term by members of all classes, in each year except the third term of the Senior year. At least one declamation, oration or debate must be delivered each term by members of all classes. Some of these exercises are open to the public.


World News

II. In the world

A.     Sheat's Law was declared unconstitutional, making it illegal to have white and colored children taught in the same schools.

B. The United States signed a treaty of annexation of the territory of Hawaii, over the protests of Japan.

C. In November, William McKinley (R) defeats William Jennings Bryan (D) for president.

D. 1st U.S. absentee voting law enacted by Vermont.

E. 1st football game between black colleges-Atlanta U 10, Tuskegee 0.

F. N.Y. Times begins using slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print"

G. Possibly most severe quake in history strikes Assam India, shock waves felt over an area size of Europe (fortunately, a negligible death toll)

Some of the above taken from Brainy History web site.


The present Whitman buildings consist of a large Recitation Hall, in which, besides recitation rooms, are the Chapel and executive offices, the Ladies' Hall, and the Young Men's Dormitory.


The College Library, which now numbers about four thousand volumes, exclusive of pamphlets, is open to the students every day, and offers good facilities for reference, general reading and special study. Books are added as rapidly as funds will allow, with the view to enlarge the sources of reference in each department of College work.



Team News


The Athenaeum Debating Society for the young men, and the Alcott Society for the young ladies, meeting weekly, furnish opportunity for pleasant and profitable practice in the important work of debate and oratory.


To still further develop power and taste in oratory, there has been inaugurated an Oratorical Association, the work of which will, it is hoped, further efforts heretofore made for an Intercollegiate Oratorical Association of the State.


THERE is a movement on foot to organize an Inter-State Oratorical Association between the leading colleges of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and perhaps of Montana. It is to be hoped that this organization will be completed, and that very soon. The different institutions seem now in a condition to support such an association, and there is no reason why it should be delayed. It would undoubtedly prove of great benefit to the colleges entering it. There would be a greater interest taken in the stud) of oratory, which received but little attention until about two years ago. In our own institution, within the last year or so, a great deal of interest has been taken in the annual oratorical contests between the students. If there could be an inter-state contest it would bring the colleges together and give them a chance to compare their work. A friendly spirit of rivalry would be aroused, which would impel the students to do their best. Of course the more there are in a contest, the more enthusiasm it will arouse, and the greater the honor to the victor. There is already an Inter Collegiate League, but there are not enough colleges in the State to make it really interesting. If the other colleges are as ready to act as Whitman it will not be long before we have an Inter-State Oratorical Association.


Debate: "Resolved. That the wars of the French revolution were unjustifiable and were a detriment to society." Affirmative, G. M. Ryker, negative, Seth. S. Davis.


THE increasing interest taken in debate by the young men of the College and academy is exceedingly gratifying. It is only within the last few years that much attention has been paid by our colleges to this branch of public speaking. Why this should have been so is not apparent. But the last few years have witnessed a great revival in regard to this most important part both of college and actual life. The principal eastern colleges now have intercollegiate debates the most important of which is probably the Yale-Princeton debate. Upon the Western coast the only intercollegiate debate is that between Stanford University and the University of California. In as much as it has been decided that our own College will not be represented in the intercollegiate oratorical contest this year, it might be well to see whether we could not arrange for an intercollegiate debate between Whitman and some one of the neighboring colleges. As a mental and oratorical drill the debate is far superior to either the declamation or the average college oration. A good debater must be quick to see a weak spot in his opponent's argument, quick to comprehend and to act, possess an abundant gift of wit and sarcasm, capable both of attacking and defending, and have a minute acquaintance with every phase of the subject under discussion. There are many students in our College who possess every qualification requisite for a good debater and if any opportunity was offered Whitman might again bear away the first prize.


An Inter Collegiate Oratorical Association. The object which the Whitman College Oratorical Association had in view when it arranged for the recent contest has been accomplished. The delegates representing the three competing colleges met and drafted a constitution, which, when ratified by the local associations, will govern the future meetings of a similar nature to the one just held. The organization takes in the University of Idaho, the Washington Agricultural College and School of Science and Whitman College. The officers chosen for the current year are: President, William Worthington, of Whitman; vice-president, Charles Armstrong, of the University of Idaho, and ly. V. Corner, of the Agricultural College, secretary and treasurer.


The constitution provides for a yearly contest, to be held at the different college towns on the last Friday of April each year, beginning with Moscow in 1898. Contestants must be undergraduates in good standing and taking at least three regular courses. The judges to be chosen by the executive committee, it not being permissible to choose the judges from the alumni of or any one officially connected with any of the colleges belonging to the association, nor can the judges on delivery be taken from the town where the contest is held. The same system of marking on composition and delivery as was employed in our local contest will hold. The position of the orators will also be determined by rotation, the college holding last place one year taking third the following year. This arrangement gives Whitman last place on the program of '98. The college where the contest is held will provide the necessary expenses of the con-test in the way of a prize, which is $50, and the expense of getting outside judges on delivery, etc. The indications are that very pleas-ant relations, having their origin in the manner in which the visitors from our sister institutions were entertained and treated while here, will continue to exist, and that oratory in eastern Washington and Northern Idaho will receive a great impetus from being fostered by such an organization.



The third annual oratorical contest of Whitman College was held in the Methodist Church on April 2, 1897. The citizens of Walla Walla have long since become aware of the fact that our alma mater has within her folds not a small number of masters of that eloquent art, so their presence was voluntarily assumed, not for curiosity, but for intellectual gain. Friends began to pour in at an early hour and before 8 o'clock the house was filled with a large and appreciative audience. Class distinctions were cast aside and much College enthusiasm was manifested in general. The programme was interspersed with singing by the Ladies' Glee Club and artistic selections by the string quartette. Mr. Worthing, '00, having received the highest marks both on thought and delivery, was awarded the first prize. Mr. Proctor, '00, who stood next to his classmate, received second prize. The judges on composition were Rev. Palmer, Prof. Brunton and Miss Seeyle; the judges on delivery were Rev. E. L. Smith, Allen Reynolds and W. T. Dovell.



The Oratorical Contest From Behind the Scenes.



The oratorical contest? Well, I guess so. You missed the greatest treat of your life if you did not hear it. We know because we furnished part of the entertainment. The contest had been worked up with great zest from start to finish. The advertising committee labored strenuously. The students co-operated heartily and sold tickets with a will. The committee appointed to entertain the delegates made every preparation to give them a royal welcome and spared no pains to make them feel as though among friends when they come here. A rig was hired and the delegates were taken to see the sights. Our Professor carried the heaviest burden on his shoulders. He fairly ran himself weary for a week, working up enthusiasm, providing for the best musical program to be had, even furnishing a part of it himself putting up posters, and stirring up things generally. No wonder that when we anxiously peeped through the eye hole in the fly we looked out upon one of the finest audiences ever gathered in Walla Walla. ('Say, exclaimed our Professor, "we're getting an awful crowd!" We were feeling in excellent spirits and eager to get in and "tear the bone out,'' as the boys say. As the time gradually drew near a chord of sympathy seemed to draw the orators together and we sat down in a little circle at the back of the stage, and drew our chairs very close to that of the lady orator so we could hear each other more easily above the buzz of the gossiping audience outside. Soon the ' 'Judge' ' stepped out upon the stage and began making, seemingly, to us, an interminably and utterly senseless address to the audience on the purposes of the contest, every fact of which we felt sure they were already cognizant. While he talked we criticized his gestures although we could not see him. And when he finally ended and the orchestra struck up a lively strain a little nervous thrill went down our back bone and we began to swing our hands in time to the music. Professor had told us that the first piece was a long one but it passed like a dream. The music stopped. The applause died away. We cleared our throat and looked at the lady orator. She cleared her throat in mocking response. We looked at the other gentleman orator. He clapped his hand upon our knee in hearty sympathy. We told the lady orator to slip around to the reporter's table if she wished to see us perform. We stood upright, took a deep breath, adjusted our cuffs and the creases of our trousers, opened our speaking tube with an artificial yawn, assumed a feeling of exultation and stepped lightly forth upon the stage. We were greeted by just enough applause to encourage us well. We smiled our acknowledgements as well as we knew how, not having had any previous instruction in that line. (We noticed that our lady orator was much more proficient at it than we.) And then we began! We were feeling FINE. We had caught an inspiration and we wanted to make our hero live in some of his old glory. We went bravely through and never forgot a word. Our throat became a little parched before we ended and choked our utterance the least bit once or twice. We finished in a maze, almost unconscious of self, and when we left the stage our ears were filled with the ' 'chorus of the frogs' from a band of loyal supporters in the balcony.


Brickekekex, koax, koax,

Brickekekex, koax, koax,

Woahwup, woahwup,

Peribolu, Whitman!


After a beautiful violin duet, we slipped down into one of the boxes and waited for the appearance of our other gentleman orator. He stepped out upon the stage. We were pleased to see that he was well received by the audience. We were watching him intently. He hesitated just a minute till the audience was perfectly quiet. He uttered a word---our heart sank within us. Oh, that deep, rich voice ! He made a gesture. Ease itself! He made a classic illusion. It caught our ear like a charm. Thoughts of resignation began to well up in our mind. He finished without a falter and passed off the stage, followed by the chorus from the balcony—

Rah, rah, rah!

Rah, rah, rah ! !

Idaho, Idaho!

Boom Bay Ba ! !


A splendid vocal trio followed, and then our lady orator tripped out upon the stage. Eight hundred hands smote each other. See that wealth of dark hair done up upon the back of her well-formed head! See that sprig of pink roses laid across her breast! See those slippers, dainty white! Watch that face lit with intelligence! Sometimes we think in slang (we never spoke it): "The gentlemen orators ain't in it." She caught the crowd and held it. She gave utterance to a deep sentiment, the audience murmured assent. She made a gesture. Grace personified! She made an appeal. We thrilled. Someone had the barbarity to get up and go out. We wanted to take off our shoe and throw it at them. Memory failed not to supply her lips with words. She finished and went off the stage amid loud applause, and the ''gang of rooters' in the balcony shouted lustily:

Ree, rah, ree!

Ree, rah, ree!

Washington, Washington,

W. A. C!


We slipped out of the box and went back and congratulated our friends on the ease with which they acquitted themselves, and then paced anxiously back and forth while the orchestra discoursed sweet music, which we could not appreciate, and the judges cast up the marks. The victory lies between us and the lady orator! No doubt about it! (Ah, cruel fate.) Our delegate came around with the decision to the “judge." That expression on his face! Was it victory or defeat? The music ceased. The "judge" stepped out on the stage and began making himself a burden to humanity. We began to think slang again: "Why don't he let up on his gab?” We grew reckless and shied our hat at him from behind the curtain. The audience caught the joke and laughed. We begin to arrange our cuffs, preparatory to appearing when our name is called. ' 'Mr. J. A. 'offey will please come forward. " " A sudden resignation—we turn like an ash and grasp his hand with the grip of a vice. "Congratulations, old man; you've won the second trial."


A few weeks ago the Oratorical Association of Whitman College sent an invitation to Pullman and Moscow asking them if they would unite with Whitman in an inter-collegiate oratorical contest, the exercises to be held in Walla Walla. The invitation was promptly accepted. The date chosen for the contest is May 22. We wish to make this occasion a success, and if possible to form a league with those colleges, so that an oratorical contest may be held each year and thus bring the colleges together. In order to do this it will be necessary to do some work. There will be some expense connected with the event, which must be borne by the association of Whitman. It is going to be quite hard to meet these expenses unless we have the hearty co-operation of the students and the citizens of Walla Walla. It has been decided to hold the contest in the opera house and charge a small admission fee. It is not very much no more, in fact, than many spend in two days for ice cream sodas. Will you not help us in this by telling your friends about it and telling them you are going to go and hope they will, too? We promise you something good and feel sure you will not regret going. The citizens of Walla Walla have shown a great deal of interest in the local oratorical contests held here during the past, and we trust there will be even a greater interest taken in the inter-collegiate contest.



Team Results


I. Oratory at Whitman

A.     A movement was in the works to organize an Interstate Oratorical Association, to include colleges in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and possibly Montana.

B.      George Ryker won the silver medal (1st place) in the Demorest (oratorical) contest.

C.     April 2 was the 3rd annual oratory contest. It was held in the Methodist Church. William Worthington won 1st place, and William Proctor placed 2nd.

D.     Plans were in the making for a tournament with teams from Whitman, Pullman, and Moscow, Idaho, but fell through at the last minute.