Guide to the Speech Communication Department Records
1918-1996

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Oregon State University. Dept. of Speech Communication.
Title: Speech Communication Department Records
Dates: 1918-1996 ( inclusive )
1930-1975 ( bulk )
Quantity: 1.25 cubic feet, including 3 photographs (2 boxes)
7 microfilm reels
Collection Number: RG 181
Summary: The Speech Communication Department Records document speech instruction at Oregon State University; speech, debate, and drama activities, especially during the 1920s through 1950s; and the activities of Earl W. Wells as a faculty member and department chair. Speech courses have been taught at Oregon State since its establishment in the late 1860s. The Speech Department was founded in 1920; Earl Wells was department chair from 1952 to 1962.
Repository: Oregon State University Libraries
Special Collections & University Archives Research Center

121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-4501
Phone: 541-737-2165
Email: archives@oregonstate.edu
Web: http://archives.library.oregonstate.edu

Languages: Materials in English. 

Historical Note

Courses in elocution and speech have been taught at Oregon State University since its founding in the 1860s. During the 1890s, these were taught by the Department of Elocution and later by the Department of Public Speaking. The Department of Public Speaking and Dramatics was established in 1920, as the first Speech Department in Oregon, and grew quickly during the 1920s. Courses in "speech correction" were added in the mid-1920s. When higher education in Oregon was re-organized in the early 1930s, responsibility for speech degrees was transferred to the University of Oregon and several faculty moved to establish the program. However, the service department at Oregon State continued to offer courses in debating, extempore speaking, oratory, voice and diction, and radio speech and coordinated an extensive program of forensics and dramatic activities for students.

In 1965-1966, the Speech Department was one of the first departments to offer an undergraduate degree in the new School of Humanities and Social Sciences. In 1970, the department name was changed to Speech Communication.

C.B. (Charles Buren) Mitchell joined the faculty of Oregon Agricultural College in 1920 to head the new Department of Public Speaking and Dramatics. Earl W. Wells joined the department at about the same time (1921); he was instrumental in developing the forensics and public speaking program and coached orators who gained national prominence. Wells served as Speech Department Chair from 1952 until his retirement in 1962.

Content Description

The Speech Communication Department Records document speech instruction at Oregon State as well as speech, debate, and drama activities. The Records include orations and speeches, correspondence, reports, organization records, course materials, committee minutes, a scrapbook, and several photographs. Of special note are records of the Oregon State chapter of Delta Sigma Rho, the national honorary society for students in speech communications, and an Institute on Advanced Communications Skills for junior and senior high school English and Speech teachers offered at OSU in summer 1967. The photographs are of the Institute's participants.

The collection includes substantial materials pertaining to forensics and dramatic activities at Oregon State including orations and speeches; annual reports for debate squads during the 1930s through 1950s; and annual activities reports detailing the number of students participating, results of forensics competitions, plays performed, and number of attendees at dramatic productions. Materials pertaining to speech pathology and the Department's clinical activities, especially during the 1930s-1950s, are included in the records.

A significant portion of the microfilmed records (Subgroup 1) consist of the correspondence of Earl W. Wells and document Wells' activities as a faculty member and department chair and his participation in national, regional, and state-wide professional organizations. Some of C.B. Mitchell's correspondence is also included.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation :  

Speech Communication Department Records (RG 181), Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Speech Communication Department Records are arranged in two subgroups: 1. Microfilmed Records, 1921-1969 and 2. Paper Records, 1918-1996. The microfilmed records consist of 9 series: I. Orations, 1921-1962; II. Speeches, 1923-1948; III. Debates, 1930-1956; IV. Army Specialized Training Program, 1943; V. Intercollegiate Forensic Association of Oregon, 1932-1962; VI. Activities Reports, 1928-1958; VII. Correspondence of Earl W. Wells, 1922-1967; VIII. Reader's File, 1931-1969; and IX. Report on the Forensic and Dramatic Activities at Oregon State College, 1938.

The paper records (Subgroup 2) are arranged in 10 series: I. Correspondence, 1952-1985; II. Delta Sigma Rho Records, 1920-1975; III. History of the Speech Department, 1918-1989; IV. Minutes of Speech Department Meetings, 1959-1970; V. National Defense Education Act (NDEA) Institute in English: Advanced Communication Skills, 1965-1968; VI. Committees, Organizations, and Conferences, 1933-1989; VII. Publication, 1940-1996; VIII. Reports, 1949-1974; IX. Scrapbook, 1964-1970; and X. Subject Files, 1948-1961.

Acquisition Information :  

The records were transferred to the University Archives in several accessions from 1970 through 2005.

Future Additions :  

Additions to the collection are expected.

Related Materials :  

The Speech Department Photographs (P 088) include images of students who participated in speech and debate activities, faculty, and facilities. The Effie L. Wagner Scrapbook of the Women's Debate Tour documents the 1928 Women's Debate Tour of several colleges and universities in the western United States. The Special Collections & Archives Research Center's holdings also include the Drama, Debate, and Oration Scrapbooks for 1920-1963. Two compilations of Oregon State's achievements in intercollegiate oratorical competition for 1920-1945 by Earl W. Wells are available in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center's Vault Collection. Extensive documentation of theater and dramatics programs are available in the University Theater Records (RG 180), University Theater Photographs (P 112), and C.B. Mitchell University Theater Scrapbooks. General information about the Speech Department is available in the Memorabilia Collection.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Subgroup 1:  Microfilmed Records, 1921-1969

Subgroup 1 consists of microfilmed Speech Department records documenting speech, debate, and drama activities; the work of Earl. W. Wells as faculty member and department chair; and department administration. The records are primarily for the 1930s thru 1950s and include correspondence, reports, speeches, and orations.

Container(s)
Description
Series I: Orations, 1921-1962
Series I consists of the texts of orations given at contests by Oregon State students as well as students from other regional colleges and universities.
Reel
1 1921-1930
1 1931-1932
1 1932-1933
1 1933-1934
1 1934-1935
1 1935-1936
1 1936-1937
1-2 1937-1938
2 1938-1939
2 1939-1940
2 1940-1941
2 1941-1942
2 1942-1943
2 1943-1944
2 1944-1945
2 1945-1946
2 1946-1947
2 1947-1948
2 1948-1949
2 1949-1950
2-3 1950-1951
3 1951-1952
3 1952-1953
3 1955-1956
3 1956-1957
3 1957-1958
3 1958-1959
3 1959-1960
3 1960-1961
3-4 1961-1962
4 31: Oratorical Contest Speeches, 1931-1948
Series II: Speeches, 1923-1948
Series II consists of speeches presented by Oregon State students at forensics competitions.
Extempore Speeches, 1923-1938
Reel
4 1923-1931
4 1931-1932
4 1932-1933
4 1933-1934
4 1934-1935
4 1935-1936
4 1936-1937
4 1936-1937
4 1937-1938
After-Dinner Speeches, 1938-1948
Reel
4 1938-1939
4 1939-1940
4 1940-1941
4 1941-1942
4 1942-1943
4 1943-1944
4 1944-1945
4 1945-1946
4 1946-1947
4 1947-1948
Reel
4 50: Auto Accident Prevention Contest, 1935
Contest for freshmen extempore speaking.
Series III: Debates, 1930-1956
Series III includes reports of each debating season for the 1930s through mid 1950s documenting the members of the men's and women's debate squads, the number of debates each squad participated in, and the number of debates that were won by Oregon State squads. The series also includes information about the participation of Oregon State squads in the annual West Point Debates.
Reel
4 51: Season Reports for Debate Squads, 1930-1956
4 52: Radio Debates, 1937
4 53: West Point Debates, 1947-1951
Series IV: Army Specialized Training Program, 1943
Series IV consists of syllabi, correspondence, and related materials pertaining to speech training in AST 111.
Reel
4 54: General
Series V: Intercollegiate Forensic Association of Oregon, 1932-1962
Series V consists of documents of the Intercollegiate Forensic Association of Oregon, which included representatives from colleges and universities throughout the state. The Association sponsored forensics contests and activities.
Reel
4 55: Directories, Bulletins, and Minutes
Series VI: Activities Reports, 1928-1958
Series VI consists of annual reports of dramatics and forensics activities at Oregon State, including the number of participating students; results of forensics competitions; plays performed; and number of attendees at dramatic productions.
Reel
4 1928-1929
4 1929-1930
4 1930-1931
4 1931-1932
4 1932-1933
4 1934-1935
4 1935-1936
4 1936-1937
4 1937-1938
4 1938-1939
4 1939-1940
4 1940-1941
4 1941-1942
4 1942-1943
4 1943-1944
4 1944-1945
4 1945-1946
4 1946-1947
4 1947-1948
4 1948-1949
4 1949-1950
4 1950-1951
4 1951-1952
4 1952-1953
4 1953-1954
4-5 1954-1955
5 1955-1956
5 1956-1957
5 1957-1958
Series VII: Correspondence of Earl W. Wells, 1922-1967
Series VII consists of correspondence received and sent by Earl W. Wells in his role as a Speech Department faculty member as well as department chair. The series also includes some personal correspondence for Wells, such as that for the Corvallis Rose Society.
Reel
5 85: Miscellaneous Current, 1961-1962
Miscellaneous Past, 1922-1961
Reel
5 86: Volume I, 1922-1933
5 87: Volume II , 1935-1940
5 88: Volume III , 1940-1950
5 89: Volume IV , 1950-1961
5 90: Radio and Television, 1954-1958
5 91: Publishing Companies, 1927-1937
5 92: NDEA Brochure Copy, 1966-1967
Speech Faculty, 1954-1962
Reel
5 1954-1955
5 1955-1956
5 1956-1957
5 1957-1958
5 1958-1959
5 1959-1960
5 1961-1962
5 100: President Jensen, 1962
5 101: C.B. Mitchell's Personal Correspondence, 1925-1943
Colby - Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1952-1961
Reel
5 1952-1953
5 1953-1954
5 1954-1955
5 1955-1956
5 1956-1957
5 1957-1958
5 1958-1959
5 1959-1960
5 1960-1961
5 111: Equipment - General, 1956-1961
5 112: Speech Aptitude and Proficiency Test, 1948-1952
5 113: Speech Correction Extension Vol. I, 1927-1950
5 114: Western Speech Association Vol. III, 1950-1960
5 115: American Association of University Professors, 1946-1962
5 116: American Forensic Association, 1958-1961
5 117: American Red Cross, 1936-1947
5 118: American Speech and Hearing Association, 1936-1963
5 119: Century Club, 1936-1957
5 120: Committee on Disaster Preparedness and Relief, 1936-1946
5 121: Clinical Staff, 1948-1955
5 122: Committee on Scholarship, 1938-1940
5 123: Committee on Teacher Selection, 1940-1948
5 124: Corvallis Boy Scouts, 1936-1938
5 125: Corvallis Camp Fire Girls, 1937-1941
5 126: Corvallis Rose Society, 1958-1960
5 127: Corvallis Summer Recreation and Educational Program, 1935-1937
Delta Sigma Rho
Reel
5-6 128: Volume I, 1926-1949
6 129: Volume II, 1951-1955
6 130: Volume III, 1955-1961
1 131: Democratic Party, 1955-1960
6 132: Educational Activities Committee, 1951-1955
6 133: Faculty Council, 1957-1961
6 134: Future Farmers of America, 1936-1960
6 135: Franklin Parent - Teachers Association, 1931-1932
6 136: Faculty Men's Club, 1957-1962
6 137: Graduate Division, 1960
6 138: Inland Empire Education Association, 1928-1930
6 139: Intercollegiate Forensic Association of Oregon, 1931-1961
6 140: Liberal Arts Division, 1949-1962
6 141: Order of the Spoon, 1929-1939
6 142: Oregon High School Extempore Speaking and Interpretation Contests, 1925-1932
6 143: Oregon High School Speech League, 1942-1951
6 144: Oregon Speech and Hearing Association, 1949-1962
6 145: Oregon Speech Association , 1931-1950
Series VIII: Reader's File, 1931-1969
Series VIII consists of department correspondence arranged as reader's files. The correspondence documents the administration of the department, primarily during the 1950s and 1960s.
Reel
6 146: Bulletins: Business Office , 1956-1957
Business Office, 1956-1960
Reel
6 147: 1956-1959
6 148: 1959-1960
Colby - Dean of Liberal Arts, 1946-1952
Reel
6 149: 1946-1950
6 150: 1950-1951
6 151: 1951-1952
Faculty - Other, 1950-1959
Reel
6 152: 1950-1951
6 153: 1951-1952
6 154: 1953-1954
6 155: 1954-1955
6 156: 1955-1956
6 157: 1958-1959
Lemon - Dean of Administration, 1951-1954
Reel
6 158: 1951-1952
6 159: 1953-1954
Miscellaneous, 1948-1959
Reel
6 160: 1948-1950
6 161: 1951-1952
6 162: 1952-1953
6 162: 1952-1953
6 163: 1954-1955
6 164: 1955-1956
6 165: 1958-1959
6 166: Self Evaluation Report II, circa 1960
6 167: Other Institutions, 1951-1952
6 168: Physical Plant, 1950-1953
President Strand, 1931-1952
Reel
6 169: 1931-1951
6 170: 1951-1952
Zeran - Dean of Education, 1952-1961
Reel
6 171: 1952
6 172: 1961
Chronological Reader's File, 1963-1969
Reel
6 September 1963
6 October 1963
6 November 1963
6 December 1963
6 January 1964
6 February 1964
6 March 1964
6 April 1964
6 May 1964
6 June 1964
6 July 1964
6 August 1964
6 September - October 1964
6 November 1964
6 December 1964
6 January 1965
6 February 1965
6 March 1965
6 April 1965
6 May 1965
6 June 1965
6 July 1965
6 August 1965
6 September 1965
6 October 1965
6 November 1965
6 December 1965
6 January 1966
6 February 1966
6 March 1966
6 April 1966
6 May 1966
6 June 1966
6 September 1966
6 October 1966
6 December 1966
6 January 1967
6 February 1967
6 March 1967
6 April 1967
6 May 1967
6 June 1967
6 July 1967
6 August 1967
6 September 1967
6 October 1967
6 November 1967
6-7 December 1967
7 January 1968
7 February 1968
7 March 1968
7 April 1968
7 May 1968
7 June 1968
7 July 1968
7 August 1968
7 September 1968
7 October 1968
7 November 1968
7 December 1968
7 January 1969
7 February 1969
7 March 1969
7 April 1969
7 May 1969
7 June 1969
7 December 1969
Series IX: Report on the Forensic and Dramatic Activities at Oregon State College, 1938
Series IX consists of a report documenting the speech, debate, and drama activities of the department during the 1920s and 1930s.
Reel
7 240: Report on the Forensic and Dramatic Activities at Oregon State College since the Establishment of the Department of Speech, Fall 1920 to Spring 1938

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Subgroup 2:  Paper Records, 1918-1996

Subgroup 2 consists of Speech Communication Department Records in paper form documenting the curriculum, policies and procedures, faculty, and student activities of the department. Of special note are records of Delta Sigma Rho, the national honorary society for students in speech communications, and the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) Institute in English on Advance Communications Skills held at Oregon State in 1967.

Container(s)
Description
Series I: Correspondence, 1952-1985
Series I consists of correspondence received and sent from the department and documents the policies and procedures of the department, facilities, faculty, and courses. The fall letter to the Speeech Department from Earl W. Wells, Department Chair, introduces new and returning faculty, summarizes department policies and procedures, and lists advising responsibilities.
Box
1 Fall letter to members of Speech Department, 1952-1961
1 Policy and Historical, 1955-1967
1 General Speech Department Correspondence, 1968-1985
Series II: Delta Sigma Rho Records, 1920-1975
Series II consists of records of the Oregon State University chapter of Delta Sigma Rho, the national honorary society for students in speech communications. The records include constitutions, correspondence, membership lists, initiation rituals, and financial records.
Box
1 Account ledger and finances, 1931-1947
1 Correspondence, 1920-1934
1 Correspondence, 1954-1972
1 Initiation rituals, 1941-1967
1 Membership lists, 1929-1953
1 Procedures and constitutions, 1966-1975
1 Sample membership cards, 1932-1953
Series III: History of the Speech Department, 1918-1989
Series III consists of research notes on the history of the department compiled by Thurston Doler. The notes include correspondence as well as photocopies from the Beaver yearbook. Several short essays on the history of the Speech Department are also part of the series.
Box
1 Research notes, 1918-1989
1 Essays, 1966-1982
Series IV: Minutes of Speech Department Meetings, 1959-1970
Series IV consists of minutes of department meetings and compilations of the minutes of the Executive Committee and the Department Staff. These compilations consists of copies of the minutes that have been clipped and re-assembled by topic. A list of topics is in the front of the first folder for each. The Executive Committee minutes include materials relevant to the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) Institute at OSU in 1967.
Box
1 Department meeting, 1959-1960
1 Executive committee, 1964-1970
2 folders
1 Staff meetings, 1964-1970
2 folders
Series V: National Defense Education Act (NDEA) Institute in English: Advanced Communication Skills, 1965-1968
Series V consists of the records of an National Defence Education Act (NDEA) Institute in English on Advance Communication Skills offered at Oregon State University. The 8-week course, from June 26 through August 18, 1967, was attended by 32 junior and senior high school English and Speech teachers. The program focussed on the multiple and interdisciplinary aspects of human communication skills. The records include the proposal, plan of operation, and final report; course materials; correspondence; brochures and clippings; lists of participants; and a group photograph of the participants.
Correspondence, 1966-1967
Box
1 Dr. Milton Valentine's NDEA Institute correspondence, 1966-1967
1 Exhibit requests, 1967
1 General correspondence, 1967-1968
1 Participant and alternate rejection letters, 1967
Course Materials, 1965-1967
Box
1 Psychology of Reading, undated
1 Various courses, 1965-1967
Finances, 1966-1968
Box
1 4 Column Book, 1967
1 Dr. Valentine's expenditure receipts and related correspondence, 1966-1968
1 Stipend information and related correspondence, 1967
Box
1 Newspaper clippings and brochures, 1967
1 Participant lists, 1967
1 Participant group photograph, 1967
2 prints and 1 120 negative
Reports, 1965-1967
Box
1 Plan of Operation, 1967
1 Proposal for NDEA Summer Institute in Advanced Communication Skills, 1965-1967
1 Final Report, 1967
1 Schedules, 1967
Series VI: Committees, Organizations, and Conferences, 1933-1989
Series VI consists of the records of department committees, student organizations, and conferences and includes materials pertaining to forensics at Oregon State during the 1930s-1950s.
Box
1 Curriculum Committee, undated
1 Dramatics Committee, 1959
1 Executive Committee, 1969-1970
1 Oregon High School Drama Conference, 1959-1963
1 Oregon Speech Association, 1960
Forensics, 1933-1954
Box
1 Associated Students, Forensic Division - accounting ledger, 1934-1949; ,
1 Intercollegiate Forensic Tournament of Champions, 1950-1952
1 Pacific Forensic League events, 1933-1954
1 Philosophies Committee, undated
1 Seminars Committee - School of Humanities and Social Sciences, 1961
1 Speech Chair Search Committee, 1988-1989
1 Television Committee, 1958
Series VII: Publications, 1940-1996
Series VII includes the program for the Model United Nations of the Far West 40th annual session; clippings; and a newsletter to theater departments at Oregon community colleges regarding a theater festival.
Box
1 Model United Nations 40th Annual Session conference book, 1990
1 Newspaper Clippings, 1940-1996
1 Oregon Community College Festival newsletter, 1977
Series VIII: Reports, 1949-1974
Series VIII consists of reports, primarily from the 1950s and early 1960s, documenting the academic programs and activities of the Speech Department.
Box
2 Accreditation - Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools, 1960
2 Annual Reports, 1957-1962
2 Biennial Reports, 1956-1962
2 The Philosophy and Future of Drama at Oregon State College, circa 1961
2 Policies and Procedures, 1960s-1974
2 Report on Extempore, Impromptu, Experimental, and Discussion at Oregon State College, 1949-1950
2 Report on the Model United Nations of OSU, 1964
2 Speech Screening Test, 1954-1960
2 Text Evaluation, circa 1962
2 Student Speech Activities at Oregon State College, undated
2 A Statement on Operational Principles for the Department of Speech, undated
2 Future Quarters for Department of Speech at Oregon State College, undated
Box
2 Series IX: Scrapbook, 1964-1970
2 folders
Series IX consists of a scrapbook assembled by the Speech Communication Department documenting Oregon State University theater productions, KBVR-TV programs, workshops, department faculty news, campus free-speech regulations, and a performance by a visiting San Francisco Mime Troupe. The scrapbook is predominantly newspaper clippings; it also includes brochures and flyers. The scrapbook was originally housed in a three-ring binder.
Series X: Subject Files, 1948-1961
Series X consists of materials documenting speech courses and activities pertaining to live television. The series also includes biographical information for Paul Knoll, a Speech Department faculty member from 1927 until his death in 1957.
Box
2 Biographical file on Paul X. Knoll, 1948-1957
2 Speech 111 course materials, undated
2 Television - live, 1961

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Subjects

    • Corporate Names :
    • Delta Sigma Rho.
    • Oregon Agricultural College--Students.
    • Oregon State College--Students.
    • Oregon State University--Students.
    • Subject Terms :
    • College and school drama, American--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • College orations--Oregon State College.
    • Debates and debating--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • Drama--Study and teaching--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • Forensics (Public speaking)
    • Oratory--Societies, etc.
    • Oratory--Study and teaching--Oregon.
    • Speech therapy--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • Speech--Study and teaching--Oregon.
    • Student activities--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • Women--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Photographic prints.
    • Scrapbooks.
      • Other Creators :
      • Mitchell, C. B. (Charles Buren), 1886-1955.
      • Wells, Earl W. (Earl William), b. 1898.
      • Delta Sigma Rho. Oregon State College Chapter.
      • Oregon State Agricultural College. Dept. of Public Speaking and Dramatics.
      • Oregon State College. Dept. of Speech.
      • Oregon State University. Dept. of Speech.

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