1898-1899 Whitman Speech and Debate Team


The Atheneum Society was the basis for the team and may have been helped by Rev. Austin Rice.

We have no pictures prior to 1904.


Whitman News

I.                 Whitman College in 1898-1899

A.     The college added four new faculty members

1.     The college of arts and letters added Professor Jas. C. Cooper as head of the modern languages department and Miss L. A. Loomis as an instructor of Latin and English.

2.     Professor Lovewell was hired as the director of the music conservatory.

3.     Mrs. W. H. Crayne was hired as the lady principle and matron.

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

C.    The debate team was coached by Rev. Austin Rice.


II.               At Whitman College

A.     The art department moved downtown to the Kirkland Building on Main Street.

B.     A code of intercollegiate regulations for sports teams was agreed upon by Whitman, Pullman, and the University of Idaho. Eligibility and amateur status were the most important topics of agreement.

C.    The Pioneer ran advertisements for McKean’s shoe store, M.A. Goldman’s jewelry store, and O.P. Jaycox & Co.


Speech in the English Department News

World News

III.              In the world

A.     The Spanish-American War ended.

B.     America took possession of territories including Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Cuba, and Guam.

C.    The United States annexed Hawaii.

D.    Automobile speed record set-63 kph (39 mph).


Team News

A little less than a year ago was the first intercollegiate debate between the University of Idaho and Whitman College. Plans were then made to have a debate between the two colleges each year. Last year the Moscow debaters came to Walla Walla. This year the Whitman team goes to Moscow. The result of the debate, perhaps, will not be known in time to publish in the December edition of the PIONEER. For the past three years Whitman College, the Agricultural College, at Pullman, and the University of Idaho, at Moscow, have been getting acquainted with each other. Four times a year, either on the campus or the platform, they meet in friendly contest.


That it is a good thing for the Colleges to come in touch with each other is not to be doubted for an instant. Before the Inter-Collegiate Oratorical Association and the Inter-Collegiate Debate were instituted the three institutions had little or nothing in common. They had heard of each other, and that was all. Now they have tried each other and found that it is going to require faithful, earnest work for either College to get at the head and stay there. So far the honors have been quite equally distributed.


These annual contests are going to develop College spirit. They are going to rouse the students to make greater efforts each year and strive hard for the first place. They are going to raise the standard both in scholarship and in athletics. The students will become more earnest in their work and the Colleges will send out men and women who will be an honor to the institutions and 'to the nation.




It is not often that death's silent messenger comes to call away one of our number, but when he does come his withering hand often falls upon the brightest and most promising one. We were, perhaps, not greatly surprised when the death of our friend and fellow student, Seth S. Davies, was announced on February 27th, for he had been a sufferer with that dread disease, consumption. Yet the shock was no less severe because it was not unexpected. It came to all his friends as the message of a personal loss, for by his genial ways and strong personality he had won a permanent place in our affections. We little thought on the 27th of March, 1898, when he took part in the Whitman-Moscow debate, that on the first day of that same month in the following year he would be laid in his final resting- place. Yet so it was, and we who are left to mourn his death can best pay our tribute to his memory by drawing from his life the lessons of perseverance and singleness of aim for which he was noted. The funeral was held at the house on Sprague street where he died. The funeral oration was delivered by Prof. Lyman and music furnished by a male quartette. No recitations were held on the afternoon of the funeral and the college flag was placed at half mast




It is a remarkable fact that all the prizes in oratory at Whitman have been taken in and below the Sophomore year, yet we have carried off more than our share of the honors. Our representative to the inter-collegiate this year is a Sophomore, and we believe that we stand as good a show as ever of winning. While we have every reason to be proud of our orators, nevertheless it is true that if the higher classmen were to go into these contests the College would be represented by a maturer grade of thought. If, however, as some think, the entrance of the higher classes would tend to keep out the younger men, the present condition is probably better so far as the students themselves are concerned.


As to the local contestants, we think that Douglas would command a more immediate and fixed attention if he would develop his voice in its lower registers and cultivate a more masculine force in his delivery. As we know him, he seemed at ease and his natural self, with nothing affected in manner or speech, though contrasted thoughts did not seem to stand out in his mind with clear antithesis. Carl Hauerbach has a sympathetic resonance in his voice which catches immediate attention, and once a hold of his audience he does not let them drop. He works up to his periods well and thrilled us with his feeling, yet he lacked the force which comes from originality in thought and expression. If Guernsey had worked off the angularities of his delivery a little more there can be little doubt that he would have carried off the honors. His oration is full of new and original material, put in a palatable form. His hesitation two or three times made the audience a little nervous, but at the same time he displayed more force than any of the others, probably wasted or rather let go uncontrolled half as much as the others put into their delivery. We have no reason to be ashamed of any of them, but have high hopes of great things from them in the future.





G. W. Wolfe closed the main argument for the negative. He sailed into the commercial argument of the affirmative, and said that the profits of 'commerce could not be claimed as an offset to the cost of the war, since the merchants pocketed that and not Uncle Sam. By acquiring distant territory we have weakened rather than strengthened our military position. Islands will be seized as hostages in time of war. To prevent this we must spend millions to defend our new possessions. In closing, he demanded to know what was going to be done with the Philippines. In rebuttal the affirmative made clear their position on the Philippine question, maintaining that they had not been annexed yet, and would not be unless they were going to be a benefit. That the real question was not expansion, but the benefits of the war. As to the future, the country was able to deal with all problems as she had done in the past, but for the present the benefits were such as to be recognized and acknowledged by everybody.


The negative hammered the cost of the war, the loss of life and the dangers of expansion in a spirited manner. The increase in the army and navy was also dwelt upon as a grave inroad upon our traditional policy. The judges were given their innings, and while they were deliberating, Miss Poe favored the audience with a well rendered vocal solo. The decision of the judges was: Affirmative, two; negative, one. At great danger to their vocal cords, the Idaho boys gave the Whitman yell in equal volume with their own, and showed no partiality in their applause. The team cannot speak too highly of the courteous treatment which they received at the hands of their opponents, and the faculty and students of the U. of I. The trip will long be held in pleasant remembrance. Of those at home to whom special credit is due, and without whose untiring efforts and good advice the team could not have won, we would particularly mention the faithful members of the Atheneum, who helped in gathering material and presenting the other side of the question; to the members of the faculty, whose criticisms were so helpful.





Whitman's colors have still the right to wave in triumph. The northern antagonist has been met and his batteries silenced. The trophies which he carried away on the 20th of March, 1808, have been regained, and now we must meet his neighbor in a similar contest which, we trust, will have as favorable an outcome. On the afternoon of Friday, December 16, the passengers on the train that pulled into Moscow were startled from their seats by an uproar as of a multitude shouting. To them it was simply a noise made by a lot of people who might have been better employed at something else; but to three tired Whitmanites, wearing the blue and gold, that demonstration was not a noise—it was music. '' reki-kiax-- koax-l*;oax'''' was the refrain rendered hastily by a crowd of students from the U. of I. It was the slogan of battle for the Whitman warriors, which made their blood to tingle, and their hearts to warm toward those who had thus royally received them. The bills announcing the debate had Olsen's name spelled "O-l-e-s-o-n," so it was a matter of conjecture, especially among the young' ladies on the reception committee, as to which of the three was the Swede. The odds were ten to one on Worthington. He accepted the role given him and acted his part well. Friday evening the Websteriaii Society gave an informal reception to the visitors. A short program was rendered. Words of welcome and expressions of intercollegiate friendship and appreciation were exchanged, and every thing possible done to make the evening enjoyable.

On Saturday night, the 7th, came the debate. G. A. R. Hall was tastefully decorated for the occasion. The debaters sat at tables draped with the colors of their respective Colleges, and between, gavel in hand, sat R. V. Cozier, U. S. District Attorney, chairman of the meeting. The judges, Judge K K. Hanna, of Colfax, Judge Norman Buck, of Spokane, and Judge (article cut off at this point).


Team Results


A.     Seth Davies, a debater the previous year who was forced to leave school due to ill health, died on February 27 from consumption.

B.     Carl Hauerbach won the annual oratorical contest.

C.    Intercollegiate debate

1.     In December, the team traveled to the University of Idaho to debate “Resolved: That the Hispano-American War has been a general benefit to the United States.” Whitties Robert Oleson, William Worthington, and William Proctor debated on the affirmative and won 2-1.

2.     During a second tournament at Pullman, Whitman debated “Resolved: That it is a benefit to the United States to hold outlying colonies.” Mr. Toten of Pullman won.