1899-1900 Whitman Speech and Debate Team




Austin Rice probably helped out with the team.


Whitman now has two debating societies: Athenaeum and Phrenakosmian. They debate against each other.



Whitman News

I. Whitman College in 1899-1900

A.    Professor Bricker was the new violin teacher at the Conservatory of Music.

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

C.    Robert Olsen was president of Athenaeum first semester. James Rigney was president second semester.

III. At Whitman College

A.    The Ladies' Hall was touched up with a fresh coat of paint, and carpet in the hall.

B.    Memorial Hall was being built, and an anonymous donor gave the college the bell tower. Billings Hall, the new men's dormitory, was also under construction, and opened Jan 2.

C.    Whitman College won the Inland Empire championship in Football, and narrowly missed winning the state title by one point.

D.    The Pioneer ran advertisements for the new Walla Walla Hospital, M.A. Goldman's jewelry store, and Green & Jackson Drug Co.


Speech in the English Department News



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

(a) Class reading.

Freshmen required course. One hour a week during first semester.

(b) Themes—Three a week during second semester

Freshman required course

(c) Dramatic interpretation of plays with lectures on the History of the Drama.

Sophomore course. One hour a week during first semester.

(d) Analytical study of oratorical masterpieces with lectures on the History of Oratory.

(e) General Rhetoricals—At least one essay, oration or debate must be prepared and handed in for criticism during each semester at least one oration, declamation or debate must be committed to memory, rehearsed privately and publicly delivered by members of all classes, during each semester.

II. Rhetoric

(a) A general review of Style and Invention from a standpoint of practical criticism, special attention being given to Oratory and Debate. Genung’s Rhetoric.

Junior course. Five hours a week during first semester.

(b) Literary Criticism—The work will include a course in Prosody, and a practical application of the principles set forth in Johnson’s “Elements of Literary Criticism.’’

Junior course. One hour a week during second semester.

III. ENGLISH LITERATURE—Shaws New English and American Literature.

Senior course. Three hours a week throughout the year.


(a) Anglo Saxon Grammar and Reader—Bas­kerville and Harrison.

Senior course. Two hours a week during first semester.

(b) A course in Old English and Middle English classics, illustrating philological changes from Bede to Chaucer

 Senior course. Two hours a week during second semester.




The Atheneum Debating Society, meeting weekly, furnishes opportunity for pleasant and profitable practice in the important work of debate and oratory. Through the efforts of this society an annual inter-collegiate debate has been inaugurated between Whitman College and the University of Idaho. The first debate took place in Walla Walla, April 11, 1898.


To develop power and taste in oratory still further there has been inaugurated a College Oratorical Associa­tion. This association is a charter member of the Inter­Collegiate Oratorical Association of the States of Wash­ington and Idaho, embracing the Washington Agricultural College, the Idaho State University and Whitman College. The first contest occurred in Walla Walla, May 25, 1897.





Professor HAUERBACH and Miss LOOMIS.


I. Grammar—A general review for those who have completed regular Grammar School work.

First year. Two hours a week throughout the year.

II. Study of Masterpieces—The following works will be used for 1899-1900. They are those recommended by the “Joint Conference of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the United States.” Work in composition and oral expression accompanies this, at least one short theme a week being demanded from each student.

(a) First Year—Cooper’s ‘Last of the Mohicans,” Stevenson’s “Treasure Island,” Coleridge’s ‘Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner,” and others.

Three hours a week throughout the year.

(b) Second Year—Tennyson’s “The Princess,’’ George Eliot’s “Silas Marner,” Addison’s “Sir Rogerde Coverly Papers,” Goldsmith’s “Vicar of Wakefield” and others.

Two hours a week throughout the year.

(c) Third Year—Pope’s ‘Translation of the Iliad,” Books I, VI, XXII, XXIV; Shakespeare’s ‘‘Merchant of Venice,” “Macbeth;’’ Burke’s “Speech on Conciliation,” Webster’s “Reply to Hayne” and others.

Two hours a week throughout the year.

(d) Fourth Year—Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Books I and II: Macaulay’s “Essay on Milton,” Macaulay’s “Essay on Addison” and others.

Two hours a week during first semester.

III. Rhetoric—Practical work in the composition and delivery of essays and orations preparatory for Commencement exercises. Text book, Newcomer.

Fourth Year. Two hours a week during second semester.

IV. RhetoricalsEvery member of the Fourth Year class is re­quired to deliver publicly a declamation during the first semester and an oration during the second semester, after private rehearsals with the Professor of Oratory.



World News

II. In the world

A.    Negotiations were started by the United States to come to an agreement with other world leaders about China. An “open door” policy was eventually agreed upon by the western powers.

B.    U.S. and Germany agree to divide Samoa between them

C.    Carnation processes its 1st can of evaporated milk

D.    Social Democrat Party of America (Debs' party) holds 1st convention

E.    Labour Party forms in England

F.    U.S. Post Office issues 1st books of postage stamps

G.   Associated Press organizes in New York City as non-profit news cooperative



Team News


Our societies should soon be directing their attention to the intercollegiate debates outlined for the year. We find our friends to the North very much enthused over both the subject of debates and the oratorical contest in the spring. They are anxious to meet us.


Our schedule this year for debate is the most promising in the history of our College. We are to meet the U. of Idaho on our own grounds and the W. A. C. at Pullman.


It is the aim of the W.A.C. to arrange what they term a triangular debate between Whitman College, the University of Washington, and themselves, although the plan has not been worked out in the minutia. The one suggested is as follows: That each institution send two teams, and that there shall be three debates on three consecutive evenings. This would give each institution an opportunity to meet both the other institutions with one of its two teams.


Such a meet as this would indeed be a great intellectual treat, giving all who take part an opportunity of hearing two debates besides participating in one. Nevertheless, it has some objections. Such a program would compel each institution to choose two separate teams and prepare and coach these two teams on different questions at the same time. This means a great deal where the societies are small, and if Whitman accepts such a challenge it would compel her to put three teams into the field this year. However, the young men of Pullman who are showing such enthusiasm and enterprise in regard to these contests merit our highest esteem.


In the oratorical contest Whitman scored a great victory. William Worthington, our representative, received highest marks, both in thought, composition and delivery. His oration was the product of much mature thought; it was well balanced, well finished, and made a completed, fully developed production. His style was not ornate, but forcible. In delivery he was direct and true to the interpretation of the thought, descending at times to conversational directness, which made his flights of eloquence more effective and striking. Mr. Worthington is a man whom the College delights to see honored— a hard worker and one who receives his laurels with grace. There was a great improvement in the speaking, especially in delivery,* over the other contests which we have held here. There was less of school-boy oratory about it, being characterized rather by earnestness, directness, and true interpretation of the thought.


The intercollegiate oratorical contest takes place in Walla Walla on May 4th. William Worthington will represent Whitman, and his oration is on William Lloyd Garrison. At present the honors are even, each institution having secured a prize, so the present contest will necessarily result in giving someone the championship in oratory.


The second joint debate between the Athenaeum and Phrenakosmian societies takes place in the College chapel on some near future date. The subject to be discussed is "Resolved, That the Puerto Rico tariff bill is not justifiable." Affirmative, for the Athenaeum, Win. M. Proctor, M. D. Walters and R. Olsen negative, for the Phrenakosmian, H. Bimer Brown, F. Galloway and Wm. Kennell.


W. G. Sumner in a speech before the debating societies of Yale remarked, ' 'that it was curious to note that men graduating between 1850 and 1860 were almost all excellent public speakers, but for the next decade debating was almost entirely dropped.''- Yale News.



AGAIN Whitman College has produced men greater than Napoleon, for her gladiators have met the champions of Moscow and defeated them. The annual debate between Whitman College and University of Idaho was one of the most creditable in which our College has ever participated. The teams were well matched and fought hard. Whitman evinced a broader, fuller, and more comprehensive grasp of the subject. Each man in our team held and fortified his position well and were the more aggressive. Moscow maintained the negative, which is as a rule the most difficult side for the average young debator, for it requires more thinking on the feet and extemporaneous work. The University men held closely to their prepared speeches, not at all times meeting squarely the propositions established by the affirmative. The rebuttal work on both teams was weak. Neither team attempted to epitomize or sum the argument of their opponents, nor did either team make a very forcible summary of their own a counterpoint. The greatest tribute that can be paid to the Whitman team is that she won. The Moscow team spoke earnestly, and showed research and study and used the choicer language.


Whitman Pioneer, Nov. 29, 1900

“We are glad to note the revival of interest in debating. A college student who graduates without having had any drill in public speaking which comes from active membership in a good debating society, has missed an important part of his training. Not only the matter of college spirit, but also the matter of individual benefit, should impel a man into one or the other of the debating societies in the College. We are about to receive challenges from both Pullman and Moscow and every man in the College ought to lend his efforts to the securing of two competent teams. Research and suggestion, are necessary on the part of all that every phase of the questions submitted may be brought to light. Because a man cannot make the team on the first trial is no excuse for staying out of the race. By helping the teams chosen you will better your own chances in the next tryout. Those who are chosen to represent us must feel that they have the united support of the entire student body.”


Whitman Pioneer, Dec. 6, 1900

An article described a debate over the question: “Resolved that the Frye Payne ship subsidy bill, now before the United States congress, should be passed.” There will be tryouts soon, through a series of preliminary debates, and the final debate will occur over the Winter Break. The affirmative was Proctor, Walters, and Chittenden, the Negative was Brattain, Rigsby, Eyre.


Team Results


IV. Debate at Whitman

A. Collegiate debate

1.     Several debating societies organized on campus, holding weekly or bi-monthly meetings. At these meetings, members would debate a topic of interest. There was some tension over whether Whitman needed so many oratory societies.

2.     Arthur Hauerback won the annual oratorical contest.

          B. Intercollegiate debate

1.     In February, Whitties competed for the right to travel to the University of Idaho competition. William Worthington, Ross Brattain, and Elmer Brown won, and debated affirmative on the topic "Resolved: that England is justified in her course of action towards the Boers." Whitman was victorious.

2.     In May, William Worthington competed in the Intercollegiate Oratorical Contest. Worthington presented a speech on William Lloyd Garrison, and scored 1st in thought, composition, and debate.

3.     Worthington's record allowed him to qualify for the regional tournament in Seattle. He competed against teams from Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.