University Debating Association, Student Life
Title: University Debating
Association, Student Life Records
Quantity: 1 box (0.2 linear feet)
Collection Number: RG
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Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.
Preferred Citation: University Debating Association, Student Life Records (RG 45-01-00). Archives & Special
Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.
Prior to the official establishment of debate as a student activity at the University of
Nebraska, debating clubs were organized as adjuncts to already established student literary
societies. Inter-club and inter-society debates were limited to members of such clubs as the
Palladian Debating Club (est. 1871), the Union Debating Club, the Dellian Debating Club, and the
Maxwell Debating Club. In 1892, the University Debating Association organized with the aim of
opening up debate activities to all students. UNL students competed in intercollegiate debates
and oratorical contests within the state of Nebraska. The first recorded interstate debate was
held between the University of Nebraska and the University of Kansas in 1895.
Scope and Content:
Materials in the collection include records, such as constitutions, minutes, and related
correspondence. Debate programs and announcements for competitions held under the auspices of
statewide oratorical associations include the Nebraska State Oratorical Association, the
University Oratorical Association, the Nebraska Collegiate Oratorical Association, and the
Inter-State Oratorical Association. These programs from various associations include the slate
of orators, officers for the association, and the names of judges on both manuscripts and
delivery. Also included are programs for inter-collegiate debates between Nebraska and Colorado
and one between Nebraska and the University of Kansas. A publication titled Purple and Gold
includes biographical information on participants in the Nebraska Collegiate Oratorical Contest
held in February 1904, along with the text of winning orations.
Debates and debating
University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus) -- History
Box 1. Folder 1. Constitution, minutes, 1894-1899
Box 1. Folder 2. Correspondence, 1893-1899
Box 1. Folder 3. Debate programs and announcements, 1892-1904
Related Materials: Archives & Special Collections Intercollegiate-Debate Seminary (RG 45/02). A detailed
description of selected aspects of the student debate at the University of Nebraska can be found
in the following master's thesis, Debating at the University of
Nebraska, by Donald O. Olson. University of Wisconsin, 1947 (PN 4189,N2 047 1947x).