The Faculty


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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


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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).


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W. R. Davis, DSR Faculty Advisor


Whitman News


I. Whitman College 1941-1942

A.      The College added 4 new professors

1.     In the Psychology Dept. Dr. M. Duane Brown

2.     In the Economy Dept. Mr. Irving B. Kravis

3.     In the English Dept. Mr. William White

4.     Mr. Nelson Schrieber was hired on the Conservatory Faculty

B.      Jack Edwards was the Student Body President

C.      Walter Andrew Bratton was the College President

D.      John W. Ackley was the Debate Coach

E.      Jean Zeusler was the women’s debate manager

At Whitman College

A.     The Editors of the Pioneer quit in protest.

B.     Efforts were made to change the existing Point System to allow a new system of major and minor activities to prevent people from devoting too much time to activities. The Point System was eventually replaced with the new system.

C.    There were advertisements in the Pioneer for Camel Cigarettes.

D.    The Student Constitution was changed.


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Department News


English 73-74, Radio Speech is added.



15 or16. ORIENTATION AND SPEAKING. Three hours, one semester.

 E. B. M. Davis. Ackley

The aims, materials, and methods of this course are the same as those of 1 or 2 except that this course aims to train the freshman to improve his ability to speak. Men and women are organized into discussion groups of not more than 20 members each. Students participate in group discussion and frequently make speeches. Attention is given to voice defects and to the formation of good habits. Required of all freshmen. Correlates with Course I or 2.

27 or 28 READING ALOUD. Two hours, one semester. E. B. M. Davis, Ackley

 Not open to students above the sophomore year. Minimum registration twelve;

maximum registration twenty-four.


45. ORAL INTERPRETATION. Two hours, first semester. E. B. M. Davis

1: This course aims to develop ability to read aloud and to gain through oral articulation and appreciation of literature. Attention is given to voice training. Open to sophomores


47. ARGUMENTATION AND DEBATE. Three hours, first semester. Ackley

            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 application of the principles studied to discussion of problems in the field of reading.


56. PUBLIC SPEAKING. Three hours, second semester. Ackley

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



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

            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.


73-74. RADIO SPEECH. One or two hours, first and second semesters. Ackley

            Training in radio speech and in program planning and directing, together with actual experience in broadcasting. Open to qualified juniors and seniors who have had training in at least one course numbered from 27 to 58.


75-76. ADVANCED PUBLIC SPEAKING. One or two hours, first and second semesters. E.B.M. Davis

            Prerequisite: Course 57-58. Open to qualified students with permission of the instructor.


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 73-74. Radio Speech

ENGLISH 75 or 76. Advanced Public Speaking.


The John Brining Prizes in Freshman Extemporaneous Speaking—

Eleanor Mary Thompson, Class of 1944

Wade Burleigh Westfall, Class of 1944


The Dovell-Gose Prizes in Oratory—

Richard Wallace Kilby, Class of 1941

Robert Neil Walters, Class of 1942


World News

I. In the World

A.     On December 7, 1941, the Pear Harbor Naval Station in Hawaii was bombed by the Japanese. The United States declared war that same day.

B.      The Holocaust has definitely begun by 1941.

C.    The Allies win the Battle of Coral Reef and the Battle of Midway, effectively halting the Japanese offensive.

D.    The Nazis invade the Soviet Union, culminating in the Battle of Stalingrad (Volograd) in the winter of 1941-1942.

E.     German forces invade Greece and Yugoslavia.

F.     Germans attack Crete.

G.     Germany attacks the Balkans and Russia.”

H.     “Japanese surprise attack on U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor brings U.S. into World War II”

I.       U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan.”

J.      “Manhattan Project (atomic bomb research) begins.”

K.     “Orson Welles's Citizen Kane premiered.”

L.     “For the first time, penicillin was used to treat a human patient. Penicillin treated infections, and was widely used during World War II”


Intramural Debate

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Intramural debate came into its own this year with not only a large turnout of debaters but of audiences as well. The unusual timeliness of the question added untold interest; Resolved: that the Neutrality Act should be repealed.

The John W. Ackley intramural trophy went again this year to Tau Kappa Epsilon represented by Alan Campbell and Mark Abernathy. The Betas, Gordon Miller and Willis Taylor placed second; and Phi Delts, Bob Burns and Jim Kuhl; the Sigs, Dan West and Wallace McArthur; and the Independents, Oscar Seawell and Alan Crumbaker ranked in that order.

Women's intramural debate finished with a three way tie among the Kappas, Tri-Delts, and Alpha Chis after a particularly hard-fought tourney.

The Kappas were represented by Eleanor Dallam, Brick Coleman, Molly Marsh, and Meredith Emerson; the Tri-Delts by Helen Hurley and Marion Harris; and the Alpha Chis by Eleanor Roberts and Dorothy Corkille. The Independents and Phi Mus placed in that order and had Verna Sinema, Dorothy Crisco, Irene Callen, Vida Langenheder and Ellen Heath, Mary Evalyn Campbell, Carolee Brown, Marybeth Perry debating for them respectively. Delta Gamma contestants were Hi Calkins and Jerrine Talbot.

Because of the three way tie the Austin Rice gavel was not awarded this year.

This year's intramural debate was the proving ground for many of the new varsity debaters and many fine debaters were developed this year. Jean Zeusler capably handled the intramurals as debate manager.


Team News


Varsity Debates

Coach John W Ackley's debate squad turned in a creditable record for Whitman College for the 1941-1942 debate season. Composed largely of lower division debaters, the squad took high honors throughout the Northwest in both men's and women's tourneys. The Pi Kappa Delta meet at Linfield, the Western Association tournament at Ogden, and the Lower Division tournament at Moscow saw Whitman debaters come through with flying colors.


The largest tournament of the year, the Pi Kappa Delta meet at Linfield, was one of the most successful for the squad. Eleanor Dallam and Joan Martin placed second in lower division women's debate, with Vida Langenheder and Irene Callen placing third in the same division. For the men's lower division, Wade Westfall and Danny Henderson placed third and at the same time defeating Idaho's crack team which won the division. Howard Elofson placed in extemporaneous speaking and Bob Brooke and Gordon Scribner participated in direct clash debate; a new form of debating which was introduced this year at Linfield by North Carolina State College. Other members of the varsity squad who attended the meet were Helen Hawkes, Helen Hurley, Don McMurchie, Laurier Bond, Oscar Seawell (actually on the frosh jv squad), Alan Campbell, Mark Abernathy, Gordon Miller, and Willis Taylor.


Especially notable was the Western Association of Teachers of Speech Tournament held at Ogden, Utah. There Wade Westfall took first place in lower division progression discussion and Ed Adams placed second in senior men's interpretation. Bob Waters, Bob Brooke, and Gordon Scribner also attended the meet.


Whitman won the cup at the Lower Division Tournament at Moscow where the dynamic team of Vida Langenheder and Irene Callen went undefeated. The other lower division debaters who brought Whitman's victory were Oscar Seawell, Dan West, Bud Miller, Bill Lawrence, Dave Edwards, Ted Griswold, Wade Westfall, Bob Brooke, Gordon Miller, Dan Henderson, Helen Hawkes, Helen Hurley, Eleanor Dallam, and Joan Martin.


Whitman tied for second place with Idaho in the women's triangulars traditionally held at Whitman with Washington State taking first place. Those who took part were Joan Martin, Helen Coleman, Joyce Miller, Eleanor Dallam, Vida Langenheder, Irene Callen, Helen Hawkes, Helen Hurley, Eleanor Roberts, Dorothy Corkille, Betty Lou Smith, and Harriet Calkins.


The men's triangulars held at Washington State saw Whitman place second again. Ed Adams, Bob Waters, Gordon Scribner, Bob Brooke, Howard Elofson, Don McMurchie, Wade Westfall, Dan Henderson, Alan Campbell, and Mark Abernathy participated. Wade Westfall placed third in the Pan-American progression discussion held at Washington State where the finalists spoke over the radio and competed for a trip to Salt Lake City. Eleanor Dallam and Ted Griswold also attended the discussion.


The Pacific Forensic League meet held at Seattle this year will see three of Whitman's finest varsity debaters competing. Bob Waters is entered in progression discussion, Jack Edwards in after-dinner speaking, and Ed Adams in oratory and extemporaneous speaking.


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 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 John W. Ackley Debate Trophy is awarded to the champion men's intramural debate team.


The Hugh Elmer Brown Debate Trophy is awarded to the man who is adjudged to be the best intramural debater.


Team Awards


IV. Debate at Whitman

A.     The national intercollegiate topic was used for all intramural debates and all national tournaments.

B.     In men’s intramural debate, Tau Kappa Epsilon were once again the champions. There was a three way tie between the Kappa’s, Tri-Delt’s, and Alpha Chi’s for the women’s intramural championship.

C.    Intercollegiate Debate

1.     The Western Association Debate Tournament in Ogden, Utah. Wade Westfall took first place in the freshman/sophomore division of Progressive Discussion and was a semi-finalist in lower division Extemporaneous Speaking. Ed Adams took second place in upper division Interpretation. Bob Waters was a semi-finalist in Impromptu.

2.      At the Men’s and Women’s Triangular Debate Meets held on campus between Washington State College, Whitman, and Idaho, the Washington State College Team won both Men’s and Women’s.

3.     At the Linfield 12th Annual Debate Tournament, 100 teams participated. The Whitman Debate Team had 5 semi-finalists in debate and 1 in impromptu.

4.     At the Inland Underclass Debate Tournament, the team of Laurie Bond and Bob Brooke took first, going undefeated.

5.     Wade Burleigh Westfall and Suella Joan Martin won the Dovell-Gose Prize in Oratory.

6.     The John Brining Prizes in Extemporaneous Speaking were won by Irene Callen and Allan Keith Campbell.

 C. During the year, about 11 people traveled with the team.


Ye Talke Shoppe

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Alumni Writes In

Oscar Seawell called and shared a story which he then sent a printed version a few years later which I, Jim, share with you now:

During a debate trip—possibly to a tournament at Linfield College in January 1943—I remember a late evening adventure near and in a small Oregon town. John Ackley was driving several of us in his car. A policeman pulled us over, and said John had passed a car on a hill—none of us remembered that happening.

At the police station in the next town the policeman phoned a judge. After some delay the judge arrived. A court session was held on the spot—around 10 or 11 p.m. I believe. The policeman apologized profusely to John when he found that this was a college teacher and his students. He asked the judge for leniency on our behalf. The judge decreed a rather small fine, which John paid, and we proceeded on our way.