The Faculty


Description: Description: 36-37 Coach Ackley

John Ackley

John William Ackley, A.M. Assistant Professor of English, A.B., University of Redlands; A.M., University of Southern California, Instructor, and Director of Forensics

Description: Description: 43-44 EB Davis

Edith Blackman Merrell Davis, A.B. (Mrs.) Assistant Professor English, A.B. Ripon College; started in the English department in 1924 (she taught Latin as an instructor prior to that).

Description: Description: 1931-32 davis 

W. R. Davis, DSR Faculty Advisor


Whitman News


I.                 Whitman College in 1939-1940

A.     Walter A. Bratton was the college president.

B.     Earl Dusenberry was the ASWC president.

C.    John Ackley was the debate coach.

D.    Dick Elles was the team manager.


Whitman Varsity Debaters


Description: Description: 39-40 varsity girls and IM


Description: Description: 39-40 Varsity



Speech Courses within the English Department

ENGLISH 1 or 2. Orientation and Discussion, A writing and speaking course.

ENGLISH 15 or 16. Orientation and Discussion, A public speaking course with a diction emphasis.

ENGLISH 17 or 28. Interpretation of the Printed Page.

ENGLISH 46. Oral Interpretation.

ENGLISH 47. Argumentation and Debate.

ENGLISH 56. Public Speaking.

ENGLISH 57-58. Dramatic Interpretation

ENGLISH 75 or 76. Advanced Public Speaking.




15 or 16. ORIENTATION AND DISCUSSION.—This course aims to train the student in effective communication of his thought on topics related to lectures and assigned reading (described in Course 1 or 2), and other topics in which the class has interest. Speeches are given before the class each week. Attention is given to voice defects and the formation of right vocal habits. Individual direction is given as required. Men and women are organized into separate groups of not more than twenty members each. Required of all freshmen. Correlates with Course 1 or 2.

                                          Three hours, one semester.         E. B. M. Davis, Ackley


27 or 28. INTERPRETATION OP THE PRINTED PAGE.—NOT open to students above the sophomore year. Minimum registration twelve; maximum registration twenty-four.

Two hours, one semester.                           E. B. M. Davis


45.       ORAL INTERPRETATION.—This course aims to develop ability to aloud and to gain through oral interpretation an appreciation of literature. Attention is given to voice training. Open to sophomores.

Two hours, first semester.                           E. B. M. Davis


47.       ARGUMENTATION AND DEBATE.—A study of principles of argumentative discourse and readings in current social, economic, and political questions. Constant speaking before the class is used to illustrate the application of the principles studied to the discussion of problems in the field of reading.

Three hours, first semester.                                   Ack1ey


56.       PUBLIC SPEAKING.—A study of the elements of effective public speaking with frequent practice in speaking before the class. Standard of vocal habits, of delivery, of diction, and of pronunciation are stressed. Minimum registration ten; maximum registration twenty.

Three hours, second semester.                             Ackley



Instruction and practice in dramatic interpretation followed by experience with problems of play production through public performance of several plays. Consideration is given to scene design, stage lighting, costuming, and directing.

Two hours, first semester; three hours, second semester.     E. B. M. Davis


75-76.  ADVANCED PUBLIC SPEAKING.—This course includes training in debate, oratory, extempore and radio speaking. Opportunity for experience in radio speaking is given. Open to qualified juniors and seniors who have had training in at least one course numbered from 27 to 58.

One, two, or three hours, first and second semesters.           Ackley


77-78.  ADVANCED PLAY PRODUCTION.—Prerequisite: Course 57.58. Open to qualified students with permission of the instructor.

One or two hours, first and second semesters.          E. B. M. Davis


The John Brining Prizes in Extemporaneous Speaking of $12.50 each are awarded to the best man and woman speakers in a speaking contest that is open to all members of the freshman class.


The Delta Gamma Reading Prizes of $25, $15, and $10 are awarded at Commencement to the students who read during the year with intelligence and appreciation the largest amount of good literature, apart from their required college work.


The Dovell-Gose Prizes in Oratory of $30 and $20 are awarded at Commencement to students upon the basis of a contest in oratory. The contest is open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors.


The Austin Rice Debate Trophy is awarded to the champion women’s intramural debate team.


The Hugh Elmer Brown Debate Trophy is awarded to the champion men’s intramural debate team.


The John Brining Prizes in Freshman Extemporaneous Speaking—

Susan Louise Hilt, Class of 1942

Edgar Malcolm Adams, Jr., Class of 1942


The Dovell-Gose Prizes in Oratory—

First: William Owen Pugh, Class of 1939

Second: Betty Jean Dykstra, Class of 1941


World News


II.               In the world

A.     Roosevelt became the first president in American history elected to a third term.

B.     “Fantasia” introduced stereo sound to the American public.

C.    The Nazis chose the town of Oswiecim (Auschwitz) in Poland near Krakow as the site of a new concentration camp.

D. “The Spanish Civil War came to an end in March 1939, with the surrender of Madrid and Valencia.”

E. “On May 20th, Pan Am began regularly scheduled air service across the Atlantic.”

F.” Italy and Germany entered into a Pact of Steel.”

G. “The White Paper of 1939 – otherwise known as the MacDonald White Paper – was named for the then British Colonial Secretary. It stated that, since the Balfour Declaration had called only for the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and since there were over 450,000 Jews in Palestine, Britain had met its responsibilities.”

H. The Hatch Act was passed.

I. “The Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Muller discovered the powers of DDT.”

J. “Albert Einstein, the renowned physicist, wrote President Roosevelt a letter outlining the potential of nuclear energy in weapons.”

K. “In a stunning move, the Nazis and the Soviet Union signed a Non-Aggression Pact.”

L. “On September 1st, the Germans attacked [Poland], and on September 3rd, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany.”


In a close play-off debate, Phi Delts Gene Chaney and Dick Turner broke a tie with Betas Paul Webb and Storrs Clough to win the intramural laurels. The question was the varsity isolation issue. A new silver cup, the Ackley Trophy, was originated this year by the four fraternities in honor of "Coach." It will stand in his office until next season when it will be presented to the intramural winners. In the women's intramural series the final schedules had not been held at press time, but the independent women's team of Nancy Libby and Anne Scheuch ranked at the top at the time.


An honorary for freshmen women, Ye Talk Shoppe members live up to their name. The club was organized as a debating society but has evolved to the point where now it is a strong force in formulating opinion and discussing the problems of the women in general. No longer does the club challenge the freshmen men to debates. Now it devotes its bi-monthly meetings to the study of techniques of speaking. Under the able guidance of Miss Maurine Clow, the women take as the subject matter for their talks, debates, extemporaneous speeches and impromptu talks such material as the Women's Self Government rules and the philosophy of dormitory life. The girls who wear the white sweaters with the green and white gavels, the insignia of the honorary, are chosen each fall through trial by fire or since it is a talkers' honorary, more appropriately speaking. The women trying for the group give impromptu talks on subjects prepared by the judges. The dinner meetings are always planned according to a theme of the month such as St. Patrick's Day or Christmas. Oftentimes guest speakers are asked to discuss world affairs or other fields of knowledge.


Description: Description: 39-40 talke shoppe

Team Awards

III.              Debate at Whitman

A.     Intramural debate

1.     The Phi Delta Theta team of Gene Chaney and Dick Turner broke a tie with Betas Pal Webb and Storrs Clough to win the IM competition on the issue of varsity isolation.

2.     A new silver cup, the Ackley Trophy, was originated by the four fraternities in honor of Coach Ackley and was presented to the IM winners.

B.     Intercollegiate debate

1.     The highlight of the season was Whitman’s win in Pullman over Washington State College and Idaho at the triangular debates on the topic of the United States’ stand on strict isolation.

2.     Whitman won seven of the eight triangular debates, making Whitman the first name inscribed on the new Frank Fielding Nalder trophy.

3.     At Stockton, Ed Admas won first in junior oratory. Jack Edwards and Adams also won fourth place in junior debate.

4.     At the Linfield tournament, four teams placed in semis, including Betty Lyman and Sue Hilt in women’s junior debate, while Benedict, Stafford, and Walters placed in extemporaneous and impromptu finals and Betty Jean Dykstra took fourth in oratory.

5.     During the Pacific Forensics League meet in Corvallis, Edwards received fourth place in after-dinner speaking.


Baker Ferguson, '39, wrote to jim hanson sometime around 2001 that ross reid (ultimately a whitman trustee), perhaps the best ever whittie in forensics, had a friend in forensics, weir clark, whose nickname was doctor. when ross was stuck for a bit of evidence, he would quote "doctor weir clark." whether or not he subsequently consulted his authority to receive ex post facto confirmation of his quotation is unknown, if unlikely.