1925-1926 Whitman Speech and Debate Team






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Director of the Program, George A. Lewis



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Whitman News


I.                 Whitman College in 1925-1926

A.     The college added six new professors. Robert Osgood was the new acting head of the modern language department. Chester Maxey came to Whitman to head up the political science department. Edith Merril Davis was a new assistant professor of English. Grace Robertson was in charge of the dormitories, Esther Bienfang became head of the piano department, and Rowena Ludwigs became an instructor. George A. Lewis came to the college as a teacher of public speaking and English.

B.     Work on Prentiss Hall, which was designed to match Lyman House, began. When it was built, as today, Prentiss was an all-women’s dormitory. All women at Whitman lived in Prentiss for all four years.

C.    Kenneth Fry was the student body president. Hattie Gorden was the vice president, and Bernard Lehrer and William Leonard were the secretaries.

D.    In February, a mumps epidemic ravaged the campus. Nearly 50 students were placed under quarantine. Twenty-seven men and 20 women were afflicted with the disease. Beta Theta Pi lead the fraternities with the most men in confinement.

E.     Whitman participated in the “roaring twenties” like much of the rest of the country. Saddle shoes, soda fountains, ballroom dancing, and theater were all the rage. Calvin Coolidge was president and very few events shook the confidence of the nation. Pacifism was gaining momentum, and physics professor Bratton gave a lecture on the moral imperative to abolish war.


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Speech in the English Department News




THE JOHN~ BRINING PRIZES IN FRESHMAN EXTEMPORANEOUS SPEAKING. Mr. John Brining, of Dayton, Washington, offers two prizes, one of twenty 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 be fore 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 thirty dollars and one of twenty 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. 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, five dollars per term, payable by every student, are collected by the Bursar.



Courses In Speaking

6.         Public Speaking.—This course aims to develop the ability to speak effectively. It includes instruction in the principles of oral composition, training in right vocal habits, and practice in speaking. Sections are limited to fifteen students. 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 Juniors and Seniors, and to Sophomores by consent of the instructor. Four 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. Two 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, and to Sophomores by consent of the instructor. The enrolment is limited to twenty students. Two 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 to secure speaking appointments for competent members of the class. Open by permission of the instructor to Seniors.



World News

·        “Gandhi retires from politics, quits the Congress Party and turns his attention to the evils of alcohol and other drugs. He hopes to transform the world through spiritual power.”

·        “In the United States a coast-to-coast radio network is established. Many homes now have radio receivers.”

·        “In Morocco, a rebellion led by Mohammed ben Abel Krim is crushed by French and Spanish forces.”

·        “Membership in the Ku Klux Klan is at a new high. Forty thousand of them and their supporters march in Washington, D.C.

·        “Immigration to the United States from Italy drops to from 56,246 in 1924 to 6,203. Immigration from Britain is down from 59,490 in 1924 to 27,172.”

·        “The Locarno Treaty attempts to normalize relations between World War I allies and Germany and to secure an understanding about political borders in Europe.”

·        “Nellie Tayloe Ross elected governor of Wyoming; first woman governor elected in U.S.

·        “John T. Scopes convicted and fined for teaching evolution in a public school in Tennessee “Monkey Trial”; sentence set aside.”

·        “Hitler publishes Volume I of Mein Kompf.



Team News


Debate very properly is an activity, which commands a great deal of respect. It is not very interesting from the standpoint of those who look on but from the debater's point of view it is one of the greatest opportunities of college life. It is true that debaters like to have an audience, that they can debate better when they feel that they are influencing a great number of minds, and yet it is also admittedly true that the debater derives a great, personality benefit from the study of debate, irrespective of the audience. He has to work hard but the results are sure. Though students do not attend debates to any great extent they are proud of the men and women who represent Whitman in the contests and do give honor to them. When the squad was chosen from the try-outs in the fall there were four veterans among the men who placed, Gordon Hannaford, Himy Kirshen, John Thomas and Preston Butler. Frederick Judy and George Daughters were also selected for places on the squad. Butler and Daughters will be back next year. Of the women who made the squad there were no Delta Sigma Rho members but all of them had been seasoned by participation in some kind of college forensics. All of these women are now members of the National honor debating society. They are Harriet Emigh, Maurine Hall, Marian Garrett, Harriet Hood, Annie Nevin and Emma Van Valkenburg. All excepting Miss Emigh will return for debate next year. Professor George Henry Lewis has been the coach for both varsity teams. To him is due much of the credit which has accrued to the activity this year.


Men's Triangular


Question: “Resolved: That our national defense be organized under a single department with three coordinate divisions for army, navy and air forces." John Thomas and Preston Butler upheld the affirmative of the question in the college chapel on Tuesday evening, February 16, against the W. S. C. negative team comprised of Mr. Peringer and Mr. Keelan. The Whitman negative team composed of Himy Kirshen and Gordon Hannaford debated the University affirmative team in Seattle. Decisions were by the audiences. Thomas and Butler were awarded the decision here but in Seattle the audience voted in favor of the University team, The University negative team debated at Pullman where they won the decision. This gave the University first place in the triangular with two decisions, Whitman second with one decision and W. S. C. third with none. At this time it was expected that there would be other debates for the men but all prospective debates were cancelled. A tour of California which was hoped for this year may be possible within another year or two.


Women Divide Honors with Pullman

In the women's dual debate with the W. S. C. team on February 19, Whitman won the affirmative decision here and the negative team lost at Pullman. The debate was on the interesting question, "Resolved: That the modern tendency of married women to engage in gainful occupation outside the home is objectionable." Maurine Hall and Harriet Hood debated the affirmative side of the question here and Annie Nevin and Harriet Emigh went to Pullman as the Whitman negative team. At home the debate was well attended due possibly to the appeal of the subject, as well as to general interest in argumentation.


Women's No-Decision Triangular

On Thursday evening, April 8, the question, "Resolved: That the present increased freedom granted youth is leading toward a higher type of personality and character, ' ' was debated by women representing Whitman, the University of Idaho, and the University of Washington, in a triangular schedule. No decisions of any kind were awarded. The Whitman negative team composed of Alice Howard and Marian Garrett debated at the University of Idaho while Annie Nevin and Emma Van Valkenburg upheld the Whitman affirmative arguments here against the women from the University of Washington. Idaho's negative team debated against Washington's affirmative team in Seattle.


College of Pacific Debaters Visit Whitman

On their tour of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California, the College of Pacific women's debate team included Whitman in their list of forty opponents whom they debated on their extensive itinerary. The debate was held in the chapel Tuesday evening, May 4. The question, ' ' Resolved: That Congress should have the power to regulate child labor", was affirmed by the Whitman team composed of Emma Van Valkenburg and Maurine Hall. The visiting debaters were Miss Rosalie Williams and Miss Elizabeth Evans. There was no decision.


Extemporaneous Speaking Contest

Fred Judy represented Whitman in this year's annual extemporaneous speaking contest of the Pacific Forensic League at Pullman on April 10. Although he did not bring home the prize he was reported to have acquitted himself and Whitman very creditably. Mr. Tallmaii of the University of Southern California was the winner; the Washington State College representative took second honors and the speaker from the University of Oregon third. The general subject of the discussions was the tendency of the Federal government to increase its power and responsibility of government and of the state governments to relinquish theirs. Besides the winners and Whitman, Oregon Agricultural College and Willamette University were represented. Stanford was the only member of the league which did not send a speaker. At the annual meeting of the league which was held this year in Spokane April 8 to 10, Professor Davis and Mr. Judy were the Whitman spokesmen.. Professor Davis was elected vice-president of the league for next year. The next extemporaneous speaking contest was set to be held at Corvallis in April or May under the auspices of Oregon Agricultural College.


Greeting to the Whitman Family


ALL HAIL, which by interpretation means my hope that all of you are hale in every sense. Although you may have been gone from the campus for many years, you have not been forgotten. The bonds of a common family life, unite you with the students of today who, with the faculty are enjoying rich advantages which you perhaps never knew. It would be good for us of the present college to have you come back and describe the poverty of life and equipment which characterized your day yet out of which you drew rich blessings by the alchemy of your earnestness. I wish that the alumni could enter more largely into the present life of the campus and make us feel the value of the historical traditions which belong to Whitman College. Each college generation is apt to think of itself as comprising a distinct era in the life of the institution. Yet as a matter of fact, each generation blends so imperceptibly into those which precede and follow it that no one can put his finger on a given moment and say here a new epoch began. To all members of the Whitman Family, whether in old Whitman Seminary or in the little college of the eighties and the nineties or in the fast growing college of recent years, all hail!





WHITMAN has long held a prominent place among the northwestern colleges and universities in forensics. The long hours of work and the subsequent thrill of an intercollegiate debate can only be appreciated by one who has gone through it. Kirshen has debated for four years and is recognized now as the outstanding speaker in the Senior Class.




Team Results


I.                 Debate at Whitman

A.     Professor George Henry Lewis was the coach of a 20 member team.

B.     Henry Kirshen was elected the best speaker of the senior class.

C.    On the varsity men’s team, four debated: Gordon Hannaford, Henry Kirshen, John Thomas, and Preston Butler. Two others were on reserve.

D.    Four women debated on the women’s varsity team with two on reserve: Harriet Emigh, Maurine Hall, Marian Garrett, Harriet Hood, Annie Nevin, and Emma Van Valkenburg.

E.     All debaters were in the national honorary debating fraternity, Delta Sigma Rho.

F.     Freddy Judy competed in the extemporaneous speaking contest in Pullman, which the University of Southern California won.

G.    Intramural debate

1.     The men’s debates were more heavily attended than the women’s.

2.     In the women’s debates, the sophomores versus the seniors debated on “Resolved: That co-education be abolished in colleges of the United States.” Lenore Martin and Mary Walker debated on the affirmative while Betty O’Brien and Sophie Kirshen debated the negative.

H.    Intercollegiate debate

1.     John Thomas and Preston Butler on the affirmative debated Washington State College in Walla Walla on the topic, “Resolved: That our national defense be organized under a single department with three coordinate divisions for Army, Navy, and Air Force.” Whitman lost.

2.     In Seattle, Henry Kirshen and Gordon Hannaford debated the University of Washington on the same defense topic on the negative and won.

3.     At the Men’s Triangular Debates, the University of Washington took first, Whitman second, and Washington State College third.

4.     Annie Nevin and Emma Van Valkenburg debated the University of Washington in Walla Walla on the topic, “Resolved: That the present increased freedom granted youth is leading toward a higher type of personality and character,” on the affirmative.

5.     Alice Howard and Marian Garrett debated the University of Idaho in Idaho on the same youth topic on the negative.

6.     In the Women’s Triangular Debates, all debated well and there was no decision on victories.


Team Results


II.               Debate at Whitman

A.     Professor Lewis coached both the men’s and women’s varsity squads.

B.     Gordon Hannaford, Himy Kirsher, John Thomas, Preston Butler, Fredrick Judy, and George Daughters were on the men’s varsity squad, which held tryouts on December 5.

C.    Tryouts for the women’s varsity squad were held on December 3. Harriet Emigh, Maurine Hall, Marian Garrett, Harriet Hood, Annie Nevin, and Emma Van Valkenburg made the team.

D.    Debate was much more popular at Whitman than elsewhere. The University of Washington adopted the resolution, “Resolved: That life is not worth living,” in the hopes that such an unusual topic would arouse interest in debate.

E.     Intercollegiate debate

1.     The men’s triangular competition debated the resolution, “Resolved: That our national defense be reorganized under a single department with three coordinate divisions for the Army, Navy, and Air Forces.” Whitman’s Thomas and Butler defeated the Washington State team of Peringer and Keelan at Whitman. The Whitman team of Kirsher and Hannaford lost to the University of Seattle. Whitman finished second overall.

2.     The women’s dual debate was a split with Washington State. The Whitman team of Hall and Hood won at Whitman on the affirmative, while Whitties Nevin and Emigh lost on the negative in Pullman. The resolution was “Resolved: That the modern tendency of married women to engage in gainful occupation outside the home is objectionable.”

3.     The women’s team also debated in a triangular, but decisions were not awarded. The topic was “Resolved: That the present increased freedom granted youth is leading toward a higher type of personality and character.” The Whitman team of Howard and Garrett debated at the University of Idaho on the negative while Whitties Nevin and Van Valkenburg debated at Whitman on the affirmative against the University of Washington .

4.     The College of the Pacific women’s debate team passed through Walla Walla on their four state tour of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California. Whitties Van Valkenburg and Hall debated “Resolved: That Congress should have the power to regulate child labor,” on the affirmative.

5.     Fred Judy represented Whitman at the annual extemporaneous speaking contest of the Pacific Forensic League at Pullman. The discussion centered around the tendency of the federal government to take away powers from state governments.

F. Members of Delta Sigma Rho included Verona Bishop, Emigh, Soleil Green, Hannaford, Judy, Kirsher, Howard Porterfield, Thomas, Margaret Trout, Elizabeth Warren, Butler, Garrett, Hall, Hood, Alice Howard, Alfred McVay, and Van Valkenburg. Butler, Judy, and McVay were new members in the fall, officially admitted on January 22. Van Valkenburg, Hood, Emigh, Hall, Howard, and Nevin were admitted on May 7.