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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

Dates: 1908-1935

Quantity: 2 boxes (2.0 linear ft.)

Collection Number: RG 45-03-00

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: Nebraska State High School Debating League, Student Life Records (RG 45-03-00). Archives & Special Collections, University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries.

Background Note:

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 newsletters.

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 its popularity.

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) -- History

Container List: 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).

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