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Intercollegiate Debate Seminary, Student Life Records

Title: Intercollegiate Debate Seminary, Student Life Records

Creator: Intercollegiate Debate Seminary

Dates: 1871-1941

Quantity: 2 boxes (1.0 linear feet)

Collection Number: RG 45-02-00

Language: English

Restrictions: None

Access and Use: For information on access or copyright, please see our guidelines or email archives@unl.edu.

Historical Records Statement: Please see our statement on historical records and materials.

Preferred Citation: Intercollegiate Debate Seminary, Student Life Records (RG 45-02-00). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

Background Note:

In 1904, due to increased recognition of student debating activities at the University of Nebraska, the University's Board of Regents officially established the University Debating Board as a corollary to the University Athletic Board. Debating rivaled athletics in the widespread public enthusiasm it generated and served as an invaluable civic connection between the University and its constituents.

Professor Miller M. Fogg, who supervised the debate program from 1901-1926, established a four-year course that rejected mere oratorical skills in favor of subject mastery and the application of intellectual inquiry, scientific investigation, and issues of civic interest. Fogg reorganized intercollegiate debate into an innovative "squad" system to which sixteen members were elected each season through an open competition. In addition to training, squad members compiled study materials on designated topics for the intercollegiate debate season and created study guides for the University-sponsored Nebraska State High School Debating League. Debate squad members received academic credit for their participation.

Women were among the most visible and successful collegiate debaters in the early years. However, in 1904, the University Debating Board excluded women from debate squads. In 1941, women were re-admitted to the University's program after it moved from the Department of English curriculum to the newly developed Department of Speech.

The highpoint of the Intercollegiate Debate Seminary occurred in between World War I and World War II. In October of 1927, the Cambridge University debating team came to Nebraska to debate the compatibility of contemporary business ethics and morality. Local press covered the highly anticipated debate, which was attended by over 700 spectators.

Interclass debate and debates between student debating clubs, associations, and fraternal organizations increased in popularity with the success of the Intercollegiate Debate Seminary squads in national and international competition. Student interest in the Seminary led to the development of formal but less rigorous inter-class and inter-club debates open to the general student participation through a variety of student debate clubs and organizations, as well as through the University curriculum.

Scope and Content:

Materials in the collection include records of the University Debating Board. Intercollegiate Debate Seminary materials include program descriptions, annual newsletters and bulletins, debate schedules and announcements, photographs, and newspaper clippings. From 1922 to 1931, the annual newsletter of Debate Seminary was published as a bulletin by the University of Nebraska Department of Extension. Early program descriptions from 1902-1913 include texts of orations, pictures, and biographical information on orators. Most of the newsletters include a review of the previous year's debates and plans for debates the following year, along with announcements and biographical information on orators. The membership lists from 1895-1945 and summary of debates from 1895-1945 are photocopies from Donald O. Olson's master's thesis, Debating at the University of Nebraska.

The reports on the shipping subsidy question were completed by members of the Intercollegiate Debate Seminary or as a part of a class titled "Rhetoric 22." The reports include results of their studies on the following question: "Resolved, That the United States Should Adopt a Policy of Shipping Subsidies."

The Debate Program scrapbook includes newspaper clippings and items such as memberships lists, a list of men who debated at Nebraska between 1931-1941, and a program for a debate between Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. These items are also represented elsewhere in the collection.


Fogg, Miller M

Debates and debating

University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus) -- History

Intercollegiate Debate Seminary

Debates and debating


University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus)

Container List: Box 1. Folder 1. Program descriptions, 1902-1905, 1902-1913 Box 1. Folder 2. Annual newsletters, 1911-1913 Box 1. Folder 3. Annual newsletters, 1914-1917 Box 1. Folder 4. Annual newsletters, 1918-1919 Box 1. Folder 5. Annual newsletters, 1914-1917 Box 1. Folder 6. Annual newsletters, 1922-1923 Box 1. Folder 7. Annual bulletins, 1924-1931 Box 1. Folder 8. Summary of debates, 1895-1945 Box 1. Folder 9. Membership list, 1902-1905 Box 1. Folder 10. High school representation, 1902-1931 Box 1. Folder 11. Debate schedules, 1930-1941 Box 1. Folder 12. Debate announcements, 1907-1919 Box 1. Folder 13. Debate announcements, 1920-1931 Box 1. Folder 14. Reports, Shipping Subsidies, 1911 Box 1. Folder 15. Reunion program, 1923, June 2 Box 2. Folder 1. Newspaper clippings, 1910-1940 Box 2. Folder 2. Newspaper clippings 1902-1905 Box 2. Folder 3. Photographs, 1904-1910 Box 2. Folder 4. Photographs, 1911-1921 Box 2. Folder 5. Photographs, 1922-1931 Box 2. Folder 6. Photographs, 1902-1905 Box 2. Folder 7. Scrapbooks (3), 1902-1941 (see also oversize materials)
Related Materials: UNL Archives & Special Collections files on Intercollegiate-Debate Seminary alumni Emory R. Buckner, University Debating Association (RG 45/01), and Nebraska State High School Debating League (RG 45/03). 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).

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