1897-1898 Whitman Speech and Debate Team



No official debate coach; done through the Anthenaeum society.

This is the first year that Whitman College participated in an intercollegiate speech and also debate competition.


Whitman News

I. Whitman College in 1897-1898

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

B.     Byron Lutcher was the president of Anthenaeum, an oratorical group.


III. At Whitman College

A.     The Pioneer ran advertisements for The White House, McKean's clothing store, and Levy's bookstore, all local Walla Walla businesses.


Speech in the English Department News




I. Rhetoric— a General exercises in outlining, development of theme and practical criticism. Genung’s Rhetoric.

Junior course, Five hours a week during the first term.


(b) Principles of Oratory and Debate.

Junior course. One hour a week during the second term


(c) Prosody. (stress and intonation in speaking/language)

Junior course One hour a week during the third term.


II. English Literature

(a) Shaw’s New English and American Literature Lectures upon important English poets and writers.

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

(b) American Writers.

Senior course. Four hours a week during the third term


III. Anglos Saxon and Old English—Hand Book of Anglo Saxon and Early English. Corson..

(a) A course in Anglo Saxon

Two hours a week during the first and second terms the Senior Year.

(b) A course in Early English Classics. Selections illustrating the growth of English from Anglo Saxon down through Chaucer will be read, particular attention being given to the philosophy of the period.

Two hours a week during the third term of the Senior Year.


IV. Expression—All students are given an opportunity for class and individual work in expression

(a) Class reading.

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

(b) Dramatic interpretation of plays and analytical study of masterpieces in Oratory.

One hour a week during the first two terms of the Sophomore Year.


V. General Rhetoricals

(a) At least one essay, oration or debate must be prepared each term by members of all classes. At least one oration, declamation or debate must be committed to memory or publicly delivered by members of all classes first and second terms.

(b) During the Winter Term instead of regular essay work, all Freshmen are required to hand in each week for inspection by the Professor of English three themes of a hundred words on any chosen subject.


World News

II. In the world

A.     Meetings between the United States, Russian, and Japan were held to come to an agreement on regulating and protecting seals from over-hunting. Treaties were signed limiting the legal hunting range.

B.     The U.S.S. Maine was destroyed in Havana harbor under suspicious circumstances. Tensions escalated, until, two months later, the U.S. and Spain officially declared war on each other, setting off the Spanish-American war.

C.    New York Sun runs famous "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus," editorial.

D.    Peter Pan opens in New York at Empire Theater.

E.     Louisiana adopts new constitution with "grandfather clause" designed to eliminate black voters


Team News

Inter-Collegiate Oratorical Contest

Moscow, April 29, 1898


Whatever may be said in regard to her many defeats in athletics, Whitman closes the year with having taken the most coveted plum of all the intercollegiate contests. On the same day, a few hours before the gathering in the hall, Moscow had defeated the Whitman boys in baseball and her never daunted players said the defeat had come, so Moscow would not feel too bad when Whitman won the contest. At 8 o’clock the G. A. R. hall was packed with Moscow and Pullman people and only a baker’s dozen from Whitman. At 8:30 the orchestral began to play and the three contestants with President Gault as presiding officer, took their seats amid the cheers of the audience. The order of speaking, according to the system of rotation as provided by associations, was, McKinley of Moscow, subject, "Cuba,” Winston of Pullman, subject, Henry George, and Proctor of Whitman, subject, “The Hero of the Northwest.” They all spoke well, and as the last orator took his seat I doubt if the hopes of any were shattered. Of course Whitman was confident. Proctor had never done so well and as he spoke an occasional ripple of applause, although forbidden, would start through the audience. Then came the judges' decision and the work of the committee in making up the grades which are given below.


After what seemed to the waiting audience a long time, President Gault advanced to the front of the stage and said, "I should like to make a long speech; but I have a secret and like most women cannot keep it long, and I suppose you are glad I can't. He then announced that the successful contestant was Mr. Proctor of Whitman. In one voice arose a deafening shout that shook the hall and for several minutes the clapping of hands and cheering was all that could be heard. Afterwards an informal reception was held and the students of the institution mingled together to bestow congratulations on the successful orator and his proud and happy companions.


Now that the time of oratorical contest is again approaching, we hear much in regard to the value of this branch of work. That it has possessed a power and influence incalculable in the past cannot be doubted. From the barbaric peoples to the highest of civilized nations, they have been swayed for good or evil by their orators. The history of every country's great political struggles is in a great measure the history of its orators. Their eloquence has often aroused an indifferent people to a sense of right, and established principles of justice. We need not go to the ancients for illustrations. Modern history is filled with the triumphs of oratory; of which our own country can show not a few. At critical times in her history the orator was needed, and there were those who were able to respond eloquently to the need. But it is often questioned whether present times demand oratory—whether it is practical to become efficient in this line. The statement that the printing press has taken the place of the orator and the wide spread of literature has usurped the place of the public speakers is often heard. In fact oratory, with many, means simply a bad business proposition. They reduce everything to the sordid basis of dollars and cents and believe others are tending the same way. The true value of such a gift, so far from being as supposed valueless, is beyond estimate, when looked at from a right standpoint. It is probably this prevailing opinion that has caused the lack of interest in oratory in the last few years in many schools and colleges. And if the colleges do not produce men trained for public speaking there will be none, for the days of the self-made man have passed. Some months ago, at the Yale-Harvard debate, Chauncey M. Depew, acting chairman, said: There is and always will be just as great a demand for public speaking, and just as great an opportunity for it, as was the case in what is known as the days of the great orators. But the last twenty years of college history has not produced a single famous orator in the United States. This is seen mostly in our courts, upon the political platform and in the decadence of popular oratory in the Senate, in Congress, and in the various halls of legislation in our country." It is true that the public man of today has many hard practical knots to untie, which demand rather a clear reason than impassioned eloquence, yet as a trained orator he is capable of expressing his views in a manner that renders them clear and convincing to others. As long as man continues a social being he will continue to talk in public, as well as private. There probably will never come the time when there will not be great principles to enforce in the halls of legislation, and this falls to the duty of the orator. The demand for pulpit oratory also continues. Were somewhat more attention given to an easy, eloquent, convincing delivery, there would be fewer vacant seats on Sundays, and less napping in those occupied. Then, too, the political platform presents unequalled opportunities for oratory.



The Moscow-Whitman Debate

The First Intercollegiate one in Walla Walla


An intercollegiate debate has been arranged to take place between the University of Idaho, at Moscow and Whitman College on Friday evening, March 25th. It will be the first event of the kind ever to take place in Walla Walla, and among the first intercollegiate debates in the history of the Northwest. The question to be discussed is: “Resolved, that it should be the policy of the United States to encourage further territorial expansion." Whitman has the negative side and is represented by Otto B. Rupp '98, Seth Davies '02 and Wm. M. Proctor ‘01. The success of our team depends upon the hearty co-operation and enthusiasm of the students, and it is important for the good standing of our College not only that we put up a strong argument and if be possible win the debate, but that we show the visiting team that we know how to entertain as well. We have already gained a reputation for hospitality which it is to be hoped we will always maintain. Support the Atheneum, under whose auspices the debate will be held, by your attendance and participation, if you sit on the boys' side in Chapel, or by your influence and College spirit if you sit on the other side. Let us unite our forces and with the blue and gold waving above us, the College yell to give us courage and the honor of the College to maintain, achieve a victory.


Team Results

IV. Debate at Whitman

A.     William Worthington and William Proctor traveled to Weston, Oregon to give a demonstration debate for the Congregational Christian Endeavor Society.

B.     In March, Whitman hosted the University of Idaho team to a debate. The topic was "Resolved: That it should be the policy of the United States to encourage further territorial expansion." The University of Idaho was victorious over the Whitman team of William Proctor, Seth Davies, and Otto Rupp.

C.    In April, teams from Whitman, Pullman, and Idaho met in Moscow. William Proctor took first place with his speech entitled "The Hero of the Northwest," about Marcus Whitman.





The annual contest in oratory is open to all College students. Aside from securing the medal, the winner is also entitled to represent the College in the inter­collegiate contest for a cash prize of $50.




College Contest in Oratory.

                                                 1897—”Wendell Phillips,”       WILLIAM WORTHINGTON
                                                 1898—”The Hero of the Northwest,”  WILLIAM M. PROCTOR

  Inter-Collegiate Contest in Oratory.

                                                 1897—“The Child of Destiny,”            J. A. Coffey       Idaho State University.

 1898— The Hero of the Northwest WILLIAM M. PROCTOR    Whitman College.