1923-1924 Whitman Speech and Debate Team




Mrs. E. L. Keezel and L. F. Sawtelle


Description: Description: 1912 davis Description: Description: 1919-1920 G 

With William R. Davis, George Maquis, and Walter Eels


Whitman News

I. Whitman College in 1923-1924

 A. The college added eight new members to the faculty

1. William Clement Eaton replaced Professor Samuel Flagg Bemis as temporary head of the history department.

2. Fanny Bartlett French became the Dean of Women.

3. Truman L. Donoho, instructor in romance languages, replaced Major Howard.

4. Russell Blankenship joined the English department as an instructor.

5. In the Chemistry department, Rudolph Pauly came as an assistant and instructor.

6. Muriel Morris came to Whitman as an assistant instructor in political science.

7. Ruth Reynolds became assistant librarian.

8. In the middle of the year, Josephine Battle replaced Miss Popper.

 B. David Gaiser was student body president.

 C. Dr. Stephen Beasley Linnard Penrose was the college president.

 D. The debate coaches were E. L. Keezel and L. F. Sawtelle.

II. At Whitman College

 A. Lyman Hall had just been completed and was in use for the first year as a hall for men.

 B. The local fraternity Tau Delta Sigma was granted a national charter to become part of Sigma Chi.

 C. The Pioneer ran ads for Bur-Bee candies and Fatima cigarettes.

 D. Hair bobbing was all the rage for women-only 1/3 of the women living on campus had not bobbed  their hair by the end of the year.


Description: Description: 1923-1924 Delta Sigma Rho

Speech in the English Department News




Mr. John Brining of Dayton, Washington, offers two prizes, one of fifteen and one of ten dollars, to winners in a speaking contest open to members of the Freshman class. The Contest is held during Commence­ment week. Contestants receive their subjects three hours before they speak. In preparing their speeches they are not permitted to consult any person.     (1915)


THE WILLIAM THOMAS DOVELL PRIZES IN ORATORY.—Alumni members of the Board of Overseers have established two prizes, one of fifty dollars and one of twenty-five dollars, in memory of the late William Thomas Dovell, a member of the class of 1888, upon the following conditions:

The prizes are awarded upon the basis of an oratorical contest to be held during Commencement week, provided that at least four con­testants participate. The contest is open to members of the Sophomore. Junior, and Senior Classes. The Orations are limited to two thousand words. Contestants present their subjects to the head of the English Department for approval not later than the third Tuesday of February. If more than six contestants submit orations, they present them to the head of the English Department not later than April fifteenth for submission to a board of judges on thought and composition who select the six best orations for the Commencement contest The judges on thought and on delivery are selected by a committee consisting of the President of the College and the heads of the departments of English and History.            (1918)



            THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF WHITMAN COLLEGE, an association of which every student of the College is a member, has a general supervision of student activities. Its affairs are managed by an Executive Committee made up of its officers and representatives of the Faculty and the alumni. The chief activities controlled by it are athletics, debate and oratory, the glee clubs, and the publishing of the college weekly, the Pioneer. The dues paid by every student are collected by the Bursar and used for the purpose of the organization.



Courses in Speaking

6.         Oral Composition.— course aims to develop the ability to speak effectively. It supplements Course I in the study of the principles of composition and gives practice in the application of them in speaking. Attention is also given to the formation of right vocal habits. Required of Freshmen. One hour, three terms.


7.         Argumentation and Debate.—The aim of the course is not so much to develop skill in formal debate as to give the student the power to consider disputed questions calmly and logically. Open to students above Freshman year. Three hours, first term.


8.         Public Speaking.—This course is devoted chiefly to the composition and the delivery of occasional speeches and short orations. Open to Juniors and Seniors. Three hours, second term.


9.         Oral Interpretation of Literature.—This course is intended to meet the needs of students who expect to become teachers of literature. Open to Juniors and Seniors. Three hours, third term.


30.       Public Speaking.—A course designed for a small number of students who desire individual attention. The instructor endeavors so far as possible to secure speaking appointments for competent members of the class. Open by permission of the instructor to students above Freshman year.




The John Brining Prices in Freshman Extemporaneous Speaking—

First: HARRIET FRANCES EMIGH, Class of 1926

Second: PALL VERTON REYNOLDS, Class of 1926


The William Thomas Dovell Prizes in Oratory—


Second: GAIL MILLER WILLIAMS, Class of 1924


World News

II. In the world

 A. The United States had yet to recognize the Soviet government.

 B. The possibility of the United States joining the League of Nations and the World Court were points of discussion.

 C. A new law granted Native Americans citizenship.

 D. Benito Mussolini and the Italian fascists got 65% of the vote by taking over the voting machinery in Italy.



Team News

Oregon Agricultural College-Whitman


During vacation, Whitman sent both the negative and affirmative teams to 0. A. C. The question debated was, "Resolved: That the United States should enter the World Court of the League of Nations." Himy Kirschen and Gordon Hannaford upheld the negative, Richard Ayres and Howard Porterfield the affirmative. Both decisions were 3-0 for 0. A. C.




On April 7, John Thomas and Gary Costigan debated the negative case of the question, "Resolved: That the United States should enter the World Court under the Harding Reservations," and lost 3-0. The Whitman affirmative, Glenn Anderson and Harold Mcisaacs could not make the trip because Willamette was unable to produce a negative team.


Washington State College-Whitman


It was planned to have a Freshman men's debate with W. S. C. on February 29, but it was cancelled because the two schools could not agree on the terms of the debate. So Whitman did not have any Freshman debates with other schools.


Extemporary Speaking Contest


The first annual extemporary speaking- contest held under the auspices of the newly formed forensic league occurred at Eugene, Oregon, on November 6 and 7 Richard Ayres, winner of the preliminary contest at Whitman, accompanied by Professor Sawtelle attended the contest. The topics for the speeches were given to the contestants an hour before they spoke and each man was to prepare his speech. Richard Ayres made a very creditable showing, though he was not a winner. Professor Sawtelle pronounced the contest a success and expressed the hope that it would be continued in the future. The official members of this league are the University of Southern California, the University of California, Stanford University, University of Oregon, Oregon Agricultural College, Reed College, Willamette University and Whitman College.


Men's Varsity Triangular Debate


University of Washington, Washington State College, Whitman. "Resolved: That the United States should recognize the Soviet government" was the first question debated this year. Whitman met the University of Washington at Seattle January 17, Gail Williams and Prior Smith upholding the negative, with the argument that the Soviet Government was not dependable enough to warrant recognition. Although Whitman seemed to have the edge on de- livery, they were not able to convince the judges and lost the debate 3-0. On January 18 the Whitman affirmative met the Washington State College in Memorial Hall. Gordon Hannaford of Whitman opened the debate for the affirmative with the arguments that the aid of the United States was needed and that thru recognition we would revive commercial advantages. Himy Kirschen, with splendid delivery, concluded the case by showing that the present administration favors it and that the Soviet government is willing to fulfill political and trade obligations. The negative contended that the Soviet Government was insincere and that recognition would prove another means by which communism could be spread through the United States. However, by clean reasoning throughout, Whitman won 3-0. Professor E. T. Alien of Walla Walla presided.


Washington State College-Whitman

Dual Debate


"Resolved: That the United States should enter the World Court under the Harding- Reservations." The affirmative side was well presented by Elizabeth Warren and Soleil Green. Their entire argument was based on the fact that it would minimize war and was needed in the world. Their refutation neatly tore down the contentions of the negative that it could not prevent war and was no more efficient than a tribunal of arbitration, giving to Whitman the decision two to one for affirmative. Mr. W. C. Eells was presiding officer. At Pullman Agnes Colton and Margaret Trout ably upheld the forensic honor of Whitman, even though they lost by a two to one decision.


Freshman-Sophomore MEN'S DEBATE


The first debate of the school year was held in Memorial Hall at chapel time when the Freshmen met the Sophomores, November 8, in a forensic battle concerning the much debated question of th World Court. The Sophomore team was composed of John Thomas, Gordon Hannaford and Howard Porterfield, who skillfully refuted the contention that the World Court apart from the League could be successful by pointing out that the court would fall apart without the support of the League since it had no power to compel nations to bring forward their cases or abide by the decisions of the court. The Freshman team was Alfred McVay, Howard Manning and George Tonnemaker. The Sophomores had the best delivery and the strongest argument, but Alfred McVay, in his delivery, as well as refutation, proved himself a promising debater.


Debate at Whitman


Greater interest has been shown in debating this year than we have had for several years. Although Whitman has participated in more defeats, yet she has kept the high standard that she has always maintained. This year Idaho did not participate in the Triangular debate with Seattle and Whitman, but her place was taken by W. S. C. Each year a greater number of people have tried out for the debates, and it was noticeable that the greater enthusiasm was found among the Sophomores. Only two experienced varsity debaters and members of Delta Sigma Rho participated so Whitman will have a wealth of material to choose in the upper classes from next year as well as several promising Freshmen who will contest for places next year. Altho Delta Sigma Rho has not been able to carry on any extensive program of public speaking among the high schools, yet it has influenced Public Speaking and debating here to a great extent. Due to the crowded calendar no Freshman- Sophomore debate for girls was held. A great deal of this success was due to the coaches, Mrs. E. L. Keezel and Mr. L. F. W. Sawtelle.


Speakers were well poised and forceful in their rebuttals, refuting squarely the contentions of the negative. The Seattle debaters, despite their oratorical delivery, could not break down the arguments of the affirmative. Mr. George Marquis presided. The same night at Lewiston, Idaho, Fern dark opened the debate by stress- ing the defects of the plan and proving that it would not prevent war. Miss Coble ably closed the debate by outlining the grave danger of the United States becoming seriously involved in the World Court if she entered. Both speakers were complimented on their brilliant refutation that completely demolished the affirmative points. However, the clean, straight-forward presentation of the case by the Whitman Co-eds won for them the high esteem of the audience, which did not resent the decision two to one for the negative. Whitman won the triangular debate, the first for several years. Although Whitman was tied with Washington in the number of points, never-the-less, she won because she was given the two decisions, Washington beat Idaho three to nothing.


23-24 Pio Articles





The proposed topic for the triangular debate to be held by UW, WSC, and Whitman is “The United States Government Should Recognize The Present Soviet Government of Russia.”





The women’s debate team preps for the triangular debate against UW and Idaho. Fern Clark and Fern Coble will represent Whitman at Idaho while Mercedes Dow and Verone Bishop debate at home. They will be debating the US entrance into the World Court under the conditions specified by President Harding.



The women’s debate team win both of the debates mentioned above on 3-0 decisions.





John Thomas and Gary Costigan will debate the word court topic against the University of Wyoming at Whitman on March 15.






Team Results

IV. Debate at Whitman

 A. No Intramural debates were held.

 B. Intercollegiate Debate

1. Whitman took second at the Mens Triangular Debate, held January 17 and 18 with Washington State College and the University of Washington. Gail Williams and Prior Smith lost negative round to them University of Washington, while Gordon Hannaford and Himy Kirshen won their affirmative round against Washington State College.

2. Gary Costigan and John Thomas debated on the affirmative against Wyoming on March 15 and lost.

3. Whitman lost two debates to Oregon Agricultural College. Himy Kirshen and Godron Hannaford debated the negative, while Richard Ayres and Howard Porterfield went affirmative.

4. On April 7, John Thomas and Gary Costigan lost a negative debate to Williamette.

5. Whitman took first place in the Women’s Triangular debate, held February 7 against the University of Idaho and the University of Washington. Mercedes Dow and Verona Bishop beat The University of Washington on the affirmative. Fern Clark and Miss Coble won a negative against the University of Idaho.

 6. In the women’s debates against Washington State College, Elizabeth Warren and Soleil Green won on the affirmative while Agnes Colton and Margaret Troust lost on the negative.

7. On November 11, the sophomores beat the freshman in the annual debate between the two classes. The sophomore team consisted of: John Thomas, Gordon Hannaford and Howard Porterfield. The competing freshmen were Alfred McVay, Howard Manning, and George Tonnemaker.

 C. The newly formed forensic league held their first extemporaneous speaking contest at the University of Oregon November 6 and 7. Whitman’s Richard Ayres competed, although the winner of the contest was a student from the University of Southern California.

 D. During the year, 8 men competed on the team and 8 women.