Nebraska State High School Debating League,
Student Life Records
Title: Nebraska State High
School Debating League, Student Life Records
Creator: Nebraska State High School Debating League
Quantity: 2 boxes (2.0 linear
Collection Number: RG 45-03-00
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Preferred Citation: Nebraska State High School Debating League, Student Life Records (RG 45-03-00).
Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
The Nebraska State High School Debating League was organized in 1908 by Professor
Miller M. Fogg along the lines of his renowned Intercollegiate "Seminary" model at
the University of Nebraska. The Department of Extension administered the League.
Intercollegiate Debate Seminary members and university faculty served as judges for
the league debates, compiled study materials for debates, and published the League's
The stated goal of the League was to "promote, among the secondary schools of the
state, clear thinking and effective expression in preparation for vocation and for
the discharge of the duties of citizenship in a democracy." Debates were judged on
the qualities of subject mastery, argumentative thinking, and oral discussion.
Debate topics were chosen for their current national relevance to an informed
citizenry and included such critical questions as the entry of the United States
into the League of Nations and the value of labor unions. In 1921, Nebraska adopted
the innovative procedure of requiring competitors in the State Championship Debate
to be prepared to argue either side of a proposition.
The debate league was notable for its rapid growth into the largest league of its
kind in the United States, with a membership of over 85 schools. From its inception,
the League counted numerous young women among its most visible and successful
debaters. Significantly, in the early part of the twentieth century, high school
debate was an intellectual activity of a caliber that rivaled student athletics in
Scope and Content:
Materials in the collection include an incomplete set of annual bulletins from 1914
to 1931, debate study materials, photographs, and newspaper clippings. Study
materials compiled by members of the University of Nebraska Intercollegiate Debate
Seminary for the annual statewide debate championship were published by the
Department of Extension. The study materials evolve from simple bibliographies of
suggested reading materials to comprehensive, separately published handbooks.
Debates and debating
University of Nebraska (Lincoln campus) --
Box 1. Folder 1. Annual bulletins, 1903-1932
Box 1. Folder 2. Annual contest study materials, 1923-1924 1929-1935
Box 1. Folder 3. Announcements, 1928-1935
Box 1. Folder 4. Lists, districts, directors, judges, debators, 1926-1935
Box 1. Folder 5. Lists, participating high schools, 1927-1933
Box 1. Folder 6. Debate round programs, 1926-1935
Box 1. Folder 7. Debate results, 1928-1937
Box 1. Folder 8. Minutes, 1928-1934
Box 1. Folder 9. Correspondence, 1927-1932
Box 1. Folder 10. Blank forms, questions, ballots, reports, 1925-1933
Box 1. Folder 11. Articles, University Extension News, 1927-1934
Box 1. Folder 12. Correspondence, protest, 1926-1932
Box 2. Folder 1. Newspaper clippings, 1912-1938
Box 2. Folder 2. Photographs, 1927-1929
Box 2. Folder 3. Photographs, 1930
Box 2. Folder 4. Photographs, 1932
Box 2. Folder 5. Photographs, 1934
Box 2. Folder 6. Photographs, 1935
Box 2. Folder 7. Photographs, undated
Related Materials: UNL Archives & Special Collections files on Intercollegiate Debate Seminary alum
Emory R. Buckner, University Debating Association, Records (Archives RG 45/01), and
Intercollegiate Debate Seminary, Records(Archives RG45/02). 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).