1924-1925 Whitman Speech and Debate Team




Mrs. E.L. Keezel and Mr. L.F.W. Sautelle

George Maquis helped out


Description: Description: 1924-1925 Edith M

Edith Davis who taught English


Description: Description: 24-25 yearbook extemp picture


Whitman News


I.                 Whitman College in 1924-1925

A.     The college successfully completed a $1.5 million fundraising campaign.

B.     Professor Titus resigned as head of the political science department. Whitman graduate and future college president Chester Maxey was hired to replace him.

C.    Stephen Penrose, the college president, had a successful eye operation.

D.    Roy Keiffer was the ASWC president.

E.     Mrs. E.L. Keezel and Mr. L.F.W. Sawtelle were the debate coaches.


II.               At Whitman College

A.     Most of the news on campus was about the football and debate teams.

B.     Editorials in the Pioneer ranted about the lack of civility shown to the respective sexes and the “quickly deteriorating” quality of Lyman Hall, built just two years previous.

C.    The Pioneer ran ads for the new Legion Theater and for a new “built-in bath.”

D.    The alumni did not approve an effort to change the mascot from the Missionaries to the Wild Cats.


Description: Description: 1924-1925 Debate


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.




6.         Oral Composition.—This course aims to develop the ability to speak effectively. It supplements Course 1 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 or third term.

9.         Dramatic Interpretation and Play Production.—In the first term, this course gives instruction and training in dramatic interpretation; in the second and third terms, in play production. Open to Juniors and Seniors. The enrolment is limited to sixteen students. Three hours, first, second, and third terms.

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 PriEes in Freshman Extemporaneous Speaking—

First:             ALFRED WILLIAM MCVAY, Class of 1927

Second:        STEPHEN BEASLEY LINNARD PENROSE, Jr., Class of 1927


The William Thomas Dovell Prizes in Oratory—

First:             JOHN HAROLD THOMAS, Class of 1926

Second:        FERN LEAH COBLE, Class of 1924





Description: Description: 1924-1925 Freshman-Sophomore Women


Description: Description: 1924-1925 Men's Triangular-Extemp-DSR

World News

·        “Death of Lenin; Stalin wins power struggle, rules as Soviet dictator until death in 1953.”*

·        “The first winter Olympics are held in Chamonix, France.” *

·        “Ho Chi Minh, a member of France's Communist Party, travels from Moscow to Canton (Quangjour), where he becomes an assistant to Maichel Borodin, the Soviet Union's advisor to Sun Yat-sen. From Canton, Ho begins directing rebel activities in his native Vietnam, still ruled by the French. “*

·        “The British release Gandhi from prison” *

·        “Hitler is released from prison after 8 1/2 months of comfort and book writing. He has made a name for himself.” *

·        “New law in the United States effectively ends Asian immigration to the United States. Japan declares May 26, the effective date of the legislation, a day of national humiliation.” *

·        “Via radio, Calvin Coolidge becomes the first U.S. president to put political speechmaking into people's homes.” *

·        “The United States ends its eight-year occupation of the Dominican Republic.” *

·        “Interior Secretary Albert B. Fall and oilmen Harry Sinclair and Edward L. Doheny are charged with conspiracy and bribery in the Teapot Dome scandal, involving fraudulent leases of naval oil reserves.” *

·        “Robert Frost wins first of four Pulitzers.” *


Team News

Forensics held its usual place on the college calendar this year, Whitman participating in three debates. The biggest event was the appearance here of the Oxford University debaters. The annual triangular contests were held. Whitman for the most part was represented by people new to intercollegiate debate but under the capable coaching of Professor Sawtelle, excellent showings were made in all debates.


Oxford Debate

The University of Oxford, England, and Whitman met in the first international debate ever held in Walla Walla on Friday, December 5. The question argued was that of the right of the state to interfere with the rights of the individual, and that such action was the chief evil of the times. The men from the two schools were divided on the teams, Malcolm MacDonald, of Oxford, debating with Himy Kirshen and John Thomas of Whitman. The affirmative was represented by Preston Butler, of Whitman, and M. C. Hollis and J. C. Woodruff, of Oxford. Decision of the audience was taken at the close of the debate. The audience was asked to vote on the question before and after hearing the debate. The trend of the vote was in favor of the negative side of the question. Thirty-two people changed from the negative to the affirmative and 89 changed from the affirmative to the negative. Although only 300 people voted, the High School auditorium was filled to its capacity.


Women's Varsity

The only women's varsity debate held this year was the triangular among the University of Washington, Idaho and Whitman teams, held on January 22. Marian Garrett and Hope Inlow, the first freshmen to debate in a varsity contest in a number of years, upheld the affirmative of the initiative and referendum question. Dorothy Darling and Jeane Collotte were the negative speakers from Idaho. Marguerite Jackson and Agnes Colton were the two Whitman women chosen to debate the other side of the question at Seattle. No decisions were given in either of the contests, so that no comparative basis is possible. Owing to certain dissatisfaction, it is possible that decisions will again be in vogue next year.


Freshman-Sophomore Women

The frosh women's team composed of Lucile Jackson, Ruth Boyer and Emma Van Valkenburg won a unanimous decision over the sophomore representatives on Thursday, January 29. They debated on the question used in women's triangular relating to the value of the initiative and referendum as adjuncts of representative government. The sophomore team was composed of Helen Brekke, Harriet Hood, and Lenore Martin. John Thomas coached the freshman women and Preston Butler the sophomore wranglers.


Men's Triangular

Whitman, the University of Washington and W. S. C. held the annual triangular contest on February 6 and 7, debating on the question, "Resolved: That Congress should he given the power, by a two-thirds vote, to overrule decisions of the Supreme Court that declare Acts of Congress unconstitutional." Gordon Hannaford and Frederick Judy upheld the affirmative of the question in the college chapel on Friday evening, February 6. Maurice Orth and Elwood Hutchinson on spoke for the University of Washington. Whitman's negative team composed of David O'Connor and Alfred McVay met the W. S. C. team, Egerth and Nevitt, at Pullman the following evening. No decision was given in either debate.


Extemporary Speaking Contest

Richard Ayres represented Whitman for the second time at the Pacific Coast Extemporaneous Contest held this year at Palo Alto, California. The subject, used this year was on the power of federal courts to overrule acts of congress. All contestants were given a specific topic from the general subject and had one hour for preparation and gave ten minute speeches. Stanley A. Weigle, Stanford, was winner of the contest this year. Contestants spoke from the Universities of Oregon, California, Washington, Southern California, Stanford, W. S. C., 0. A. C., Willamette and Whitman.


Delta Sigma Rho Gives Cup

The Whitman chapter of Delta Sigma Rho raised money from the student body this past year to purchase a debating cup for an inter-class trophy at Lewis and Clark High School of Spokane. The cup is to have the name of the winner inscribed on it twice a year and it is hoped that it will develop greater interest in the contests.


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. Although 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.


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 delivery, 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 Kirshen, 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.




The much debated question discussed was "Resolved: That the United States should enter the International Court of Justice with the former President Harding's reservations. The debate was held in Memorial Hall March 15. Gary Costigan and John Thomas upheld the affirmative of the question. They pointed out that the world court was practical and the best for all concerned. The two Wyoming men were making a tour of the Northwest debating with fifteen of the foremost colleges and universities. They outclassed Whitman in delivery and the presentation of a satisfactory and convincing argument, as well as brilliant refutation. Whitman lost the decision 3-0. Judge E. C. Mills presided.


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 O. 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.


Women's Varsity Triangular Debate



The live question discussed by the Co-eds in this triangular debate was "Resolved: That the United States should enter the World Court." Mercedes Dow and Verona Bishop, upholding the affirmative of the question won a two to one decision in their favor in the home debate February 7, in Memorial Hall. Miss Dow stressed the need of the World Court today to minimize war and Miss Bishop closed the debate with the economic problem involved in the question and the contention that the World Court was a step in advance. Both 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 stressing 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.


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 lo 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.





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 conceining the much debated question of the 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 powder 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.



Description: Description: 1924-1925 Oxford Debate

Description: Description: 1924-1925 Women's Varsity


Team Results


I.                 Debate at Whitman College

A.     The topic for both regional competition and intramural debate was the world court.

B.     The Whitman team was young, but showed much promise for the future.

C.    Sophomores John Thomas, Gordon Hannaford, and Howard Porterfield, defeated freshmen Alfred McVay, Howard Manning, and George Tonnemaker in the annual sophomore/freshman debates on November 8.

D.    The campus was abuzz about a visit from Oxford debaters. Campus tryouts determined which Whitman students would participate. Two Whitman students and one Oxford debater competed on each side. The negative team of Whitties Thomas and Himy Krisher and Oxford debater Preston Butler won.

E.     Intercollegiate debate

1.     During the Men’s Triangular Debates at Whitman, Gail Williams and Prior Smith lost to UW 3-0 on January 17. Hannaford and Krisher beat Washington State 3-0 on Jan. 18.

2.     During the Women’s Triangular Debates, Mercedes Dow and Verone Bishop beat Seattle 2-1 on February 7 at Whitman. Fern Clark nad Miss Coble defeated Idaho 2-1 in Moscow.

3.     It was a tough year for the young squad with losses to Wyoming, Oregon Agriculture College, Willamette and Washington State College.

4.     Richard Ayres qualified for and competed at the Western Regional Extemporaneous Speaking Contest in Eugene.







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