First Annual North Carolina Debate Championships: a Window into the History of Debate at Davidson

45 years ago this week, March 24-25, 1972, the First Annual North Carolina Debate Championships were held at Wake Forest University. As A. Tennyson Williams, Jr., then Director of Debate at WFU, explained in a letter sent to debate team coaches and instructors around the state:

“Every debate school in North Carolina is invited to enter 2-man switch-side teams in varsity and/or novice (first year debaters) competition. There will be six rounds of eliminations beginning at the semi-final level (if there are enough teams to merit semi’s) in both divisions. Each school may enter 1 or 2 teams in each division. Please try to provide one qualified judge per 2 teams… I hope you will be able to enter some teams. North Carolina Championships could be an effective tool for building support for debate in the state and within your school.”

Davidson College has a rich tradition of debate, or as it was sometimes known, forensics. Eumenean and Philanthropic Literary Societies, founded in 1837, held both internal debates based on members’ research and formal debates with each other. Although the exact formation date of the official Debate Club on campus is unknown, Davidson students began competing in intercollegiate debate competitions in the 1890s and helped found the Intercollegiate State Oratorical Association in 1890.

A photograph of some debaters on the balcony of Philanthropic Hall circa 1915, from Roy Perry’s scrapbook.

The Debate Club was most active between 1909 and the beginning of World War II, before fading out as student interest waned for the next few decades. The Davidsonian reported on a string of debate wins in April 1924, pointing out that between 1909 and 1924, the college debate teams had entered thirty matches and won twenty of them. The headline of the April 17, 1924 edition of the paper read “Davidson Debaters Down Emory Stars at Queens,” and the lead story crowed about the college’s success:

The rebuttal showed Davidson’s superior strength… It was here that the debate was cinched and even the consensus of opinion of the audience was that Davidson had added another victory to her string of intercollegiate debating wins.
Earlier that month, The Davidsonian reported that Davidson and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill “met in what is believed to be the first inter-collegiate debate conducted in a foreign language in North Carolina. The entire debate was in Spanish.” Davidson debaters lost that one, but the volume of newspaper coverage demonstrates student body interest in the Debate Club.

The 1917-1918 debate teams, standing on the steps of Old Chambers. These student teams won debates with Lafayette College and Roanoke College.

However, despite all of the early interest in debate, much of this activity centered around extracurricular clubs and societies and was not necessarily supported by classroom work. The study of rhetoric had been offered from the beginning days of the college, although specific speech and debate courses did not get offered until 1912, when Archibald Currie, who also taught Latin, Greek, mathematics, political science, economics, and education, led the first course in public speaking. After 1920, Dr. Currie dropped his broad Renaissance man duties and retained only his appointments in political science and economics, and the public speaking course was dropped until the 1950s and then offered sporadically until the hiring of Jean Springer Cornell in 1971.

Jean Cornell with members of the debate team in 1976. From left to right: Nancy Northcott (Class of 1977), Eric Daub (Class of 1979), Maria Patterson (Class of 1979), Jimmy Prappas (Class of 1980), and Ellen Ogilvie (Class of 1978).

Jean Cornell taught speech and debate at Davidson from 1971 until 1987, and directed the department of forensics that would develop into part of today’s Communication Studies interdisciplinary minor. Cornell earned a BA from Ohio Wesleyan University, a MS in journalism from Northwestern University, and a MA in speech from University of Arizona, and taught speech and debate at the University of Arizona at Tucson and Scripps College before coming to Davidson. Cornell served in a leadership role in Delta Sigma Rho – Tau Kappa Alpha (the honorary forensics organization), coordinated Mecklenburg and the surrounding counties’ Bicentennial Youth Debaters in 1976, and served as the editor for the Journal of the North Carolina Speech Communication Association.

Cornell would be prove to be an extremely effective debate team coach, and it was she who received the letter in early 1972, asking for Davidson to join the First Annual North Carolina Debate Championships. The Davidson and Wake Forest teams won nearly all of the honors at these championships, with Davidson’s novice team of Les Phillips and Paul Mitchell (both Class of 1975) taking second place, and the varsity pairing of John Douglas (Class of 1974) and Rick Damewood (Class of 1975) tying for third with a team from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Phillips won first place honors individually in the novice division, and Douglas placed third individually for the varsity division. Both divisions debated the national intercollegiate topic of 1972: “Resolved: That greater controls should be imposed on the gathering and utilization of information on U.S. citizens by government agencies.”

Score sheets from the First Annual North Carolina Debate Championship in March 1972.

In late fall 1972, Cornell sent a memo to John M. Bevan, then Dean of Academic Affairs, detailing the debate program and its need for greater funds:

“Needless to say, the weak need not and do not apply. We have had the number one students in the freshman, sophomore, and junior classes as debaters… Due to our limited budget, several of the Extended Studies students have not been able to debate in these tournaments, and we have had to decline invitations to such prestigious schools as Princeton and Dartmouth… In two years (spring, 1974) we should have the manpower and proficiency to have our own tournament for neighboring high school students. Who knows what else we might do? Maybe even become a real power in college debate.”

Four members of the debate team stand behind trophies they won in 1975. From left to right: Gordon Widenhouse (Class of 1976), Paul Mitchell (Class of 1975), Mark Gergen (Class of 1978), and Randy Sherrill (Class of 1978).

Cornell built a successful debating program, and during the 1970s, Davidson was ranked consistently in the top 20 teams in the “small school” category nationally, and occasionally cracked the top 10. During the 1970s, Davidson debaters won their match-ups roughly 55-60% of the time, and Cornell grew the program through special debate workshops prior to the academic year, as well as through course credits. As part of her work coaching the Davidson debate team, she helped plan the North Carolina Debate Championships in 1978 when they were held on our campus.

Members of the 1976 debate team pose together for the picture. Back row, left to right: Steve Smith, Mark Gergen, Coach Jean Cornell, Robert Enright, and Mike Daisley; middle row: Unknown, Gordon Widenhouse, unknown, unknown; front row: Randy Sherrill, Ellen Ogilvie, Nancy Northcott, and Maria Patterson.

Jean Cornell retired from Davidson in 1987, moved to Arizona, and passed away in November 2015. Today, the Mock Trial Association carries on the tradition of hosting debate competitions, and the Communication Studies department has expanded its range of academic offerings beyond speech and debate to focus on interpersonal communication, public communication, and mass communication, but still hosts the Speaking Center.

Deans of Students

For the first decades of the college, faculty carried not only teaching duties but also most administrative tasks as well. They took on being bursar and librarian, registrar and supervisor of buildings and grounds. Over time, the college began hiring staff to relieve faculty of extra duties but the transition went slowly.

In 1920, the college created the first Dean of Student position and it was filled by a faculty member.  Mark Edgar Sentelle, Davidson class of 1894, continued to teach religion and philosophy classes for the 21 years (1920-1941) he served as Dean. Initially, the Student Life office consisted of the Dean and a secretary, Dorothy Finlayson, he shared with the college treasurer. Sentelle joined the faculty in 1903. Fellow professor, Ernest Beaty described his career in the September 1941 Alumni Journal:

Mark Sentelle in 1922

Mark Sentelle in 1922

As a member of the faculty, he soon evidenced such sense of judgment in dealing with men that this special talent was immediately put into use. President Henry Louis Smith (1901-1912) requested Dr. Sentelle to handle student absences, and this he did for some time, drawing up absence regulations under which the College functioned for years. In 1910 President Smith again turned to Dr. Sentelle, asking him to  head up a committee on supervision of scholarship. Dr Sentelle soon had in effect regulations which served notice that Davidson College would not give indefinite residence to students who were not keeping up the Davidson standard of work, whether failure to do so were due to an unfortunate lack of preparation or to culpable slothfulness.

Beaty went on to note that it was

natural then, that upon Dr. Sentelle’s election as Dean in 1920, the enforcement of both absence and supervision regulations should be centered in his office. Hence, year after year, the big ‘Doom Book of Absences’ has reposed in the Dean’s office, and excuses of infinite variety have been poured into his ever receptive, but not always ‘acceptive’ ears.

Bailey in 1949 with a student. It is not clear if any of this books on his desk is a "Doom Book of Absences."

Bailey in 1949 with a student. It is not clear if any of this books on his desk is a “Doom Book of Absences.”

Upon his retirement in 1941, another active faculty member took on the role of Dean of Students. John Crooks Bailey, Davidson class of 1920, continued his courses in Greek and Religion during his 2 tenures as Dean (1941-1954, 1958-1961). The office he inherited had focused heavily on discipline and regulations and had consisted of the Dean and a secretary. Bailey began to interact with the social side to students as well.

By 1941, the college had a YMCA secretary, a new college union, and later a chaplain. Bailey was also a member not only of the honorary fraternities Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa but of a social fraternity Kappa Alpha.  Ernest Beaty deened him qualified to be a dean because of his “unusual alertness in the observation of facts and persons and a marvelous keenness in analyzing them” along with “a fine vein of humor, that saving virtue which makes life attractive” ( and presumably visits to the Dean’s office a little less uncomfortable).

 

Dean Bailey provides a good example of how his office dealt not only with students but also with their parents. In a 3-page memo to parents and guardians of Davidson Freshman written in August 1960, he included “A Word to Mothers” admonishing them to “let your son and his roommate have the satisfaction of doing their own unpacking unsupervised and let them arrange things in the way they want them. Their arrangement may be different from what yours would be, but they are the ones who will be living there.”  He further noted — with underlining,

Our experience leads us to think that most boys are secretly, if not openly, embarrassed when their mothers insist on staying in the dormitory rooms to supervise unpacking and to arrange the rugs, etc.

Dean's warning to mothers.

Dean’s warning to mothers.

Presumably, fathers in 1960s were less interested in their offspring’s accommodations.

Serving between Bailey’s years was a familiar Davidson face, Samuel R. Spencer, class of 1940 and future president. Spencer had already served on the faculty in 1941-1943 as a professor of military science. He kept up the dual faculty-dean role by teaching in the history department while Dean.

Sam Spencer as Dean of Students with President John Cunningham in the background.

Sam Spencer as Dean of Students with President John Cunningham in the background.

The next Dean of Students broke the mold by not being a Davidson graduate (Furman instead) and not teaching. Instead, Richard Burts (1961-1970) spent his 9 years solely as a dean and then became college registrar from 1970 to 1985. During his tenure, the Dean of Students office added an assistant to the dean and advisor to fraternities, extending the social role of the office.

Dean Burts engaging with students

Dean Burts engaging with students

When he started as Dean, all his students looked like the young men in the photo but shortly after his arrival, the first African and then African-American students joined the student body adding the issues of integration to his work.

William Holt Terry, Davidson class of 1954 replaced Burts and added the challenges of co-education to those of integration. In 1977, the office added Sue Ross as the Assistant Dean of Students. Her successor, Paula Moore, hired in 1985 was the first black assistant dean.  During his tenure (1971-1994), the Dean of Students office expanded to oversee Residence Life, Careers, College Union, Chaplain’s office, Student Health and Counseling, and Community Service. By 1994, the Student Life had 43 full and part-time staff covering student — and still parental– activities and concerns.

Counseling Will Terry style -- well before cell phones and Facebook.

Counseling Will Terry style — well before cell phones and Facebook.

 

Dean of Students Office -deans and administrative assistants, c1983

Dean of Students Office -deans and administrative assistants, c1983

Tom Shandley, the most recent Dean of Students came in 1994 and will retire in 2017. Like Will Terry, Shandley has seen the issues Student Life faces expand along with more staff. Mark Sentelle, even as a philosophy professor, likely never dreamed of addressing gender-integrated housing, therapy animals, sexual harassment policies or nutrition guidance.  All the deans have met with students over academic pressure, alcohol violations, health concerns, and roommate conflicts. Ironically, even as colleges have stepped back from “in loco parentis” roles, the work of the Dean of Students has expanded. Students face a more complex world and expect that co-curricular activities will enhance the academic experience.  Sadly, few records remain for the earliest deans ( the Doom books are long gone) but the records the archives does hold await exploration and discovery. The history of Davidson’s  six Deans reveal the changing roles college governance, the changing nature of college students, and the context of college experience in American culture.

Issues change but face to face meetings remain constant.

Issues change but face to face meetings remain constant. Tom Shandley with SGA President Warren Buford

Sherlock Holmes: London’s most famous Detective

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

If you’re a sleuth yourself, and/or a fan of detective novels, you’re no doubt familiar with the name of, arguably, London’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes is a fictional detective, created by the Scottish author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Doyle, born in Edinburgh, studied in Jesuit schools for ten years, and finished his education by studying medicine at Edinburgh University.  Some of his professors at the University became models for his later literary characters, including Sherlock Holmes.  Although trained as a physician, Doyle was not particularly successful in private practice, and often wrote stories while waiting for his few patients.  He wrote historical novels, essays, poetry, autobiography, and works on spiritualism and the supernatural, but his most successful works were the detective stories featuring Sherlock Holmes and his comrade, Dr. John Watson.  Holmes and Watson solved crimes that even Scotland Yard could not resolve.  Holmes was introduced in 1887 in “A Study in Scarlet,” published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual, and the address of 221B Baker Street became a part of the London landscape, even though it was then a fictional address.   Sherlock Holmes Adventures illus 1The characters of Holmes and Watson were instant successes, and stories of their adventures began to appear in the Strand Magazine.  By 1890 Doyle had left his practice of medicine and concentrated his entire time to writing.  Doyle eventually tired of his character, and killed him in “The Final Problem” published in 1893.  But the public would not accept Holmes’ death, and Doyle resurrected him in 1903.

Numerous Sherlock Holmes clubs, called the Baker Street Irregulars, formed with many famous names on their rosters.  Sherlock Holmes stories have been translated into more than 50 languages, and have been adapted into many genres such as plays, films, television series, and cartoons.Sherlock Holmes Memoirs illus 1

The library’s Rare Book Room houses two first edition volumes of the Sherlock Holmes stories,

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, published in London in 1892 by George Newnes, and The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes,

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

published by Newnes in 1894.  Both volumes are beautifully illustrated by Sidney Paget.

The Death of Sherlock Holmes

The Death of Sherlock Holmes

Thanks to Mr. Wilbur Fugate, class of 1934, for these wonderful volumes.

19 Years Ago Today: March 1, 1998

19 year ago, on March 1, 1998, the Davidson College men’s basketball team won the Southern Conference Tournament and received their first NCAA bid in twelve years. As the following season’s programs put it, “Davidson added the one achievement missing from an otherwise successful run through the ’90s.” This Southern Conference win also marked the first NCAA bid under Bob McKillop, head coach of the men’s basketball team since 1989. As March Madness approaches, this week’s post provides a peek into that exciting Southern Conference win, 19 years ago today.

Davidson’s coaches celebrate the win. From left to right: administrative assistant Sean Sosnowski, Assistant Coach Jason Zimmerman, Head Coach Bob McKillop, Assistant Coach Steve Shurina, Assistant Coach Matt Matheny.

Davidson faced off against Appalachian State at the Greensboro Coliseum for the title game on the 1st, after defeating The Citadel in a semifinal game on February 28th. The 1998 tournament marked the third appearance of the Wildcats in the SoCon final in five years, but the team had ended up on the losing side of the bracket in their previous trips.

The Davidsonian ran a story detailing the Davidson men’s squad’s win over App State in the March 17, 1998 issue.

The SoCon final was a close game, with Davidson winning 66-62. Senior Staff Writer Micheal J. Kruse (Class of 1999) covered the SoCon win in a few articles published in the March 17, 1998 issue of The Davidsonian, including one entitled, “With dancing Davidson in NCAA’s, recognition for school,” that served notice to basketball fans that Davidson was entering the big leagues:

“Attention all college basketball fans, casual or die-hard: Davidson College. Take Note.

It’s in Davidson, N.C., which is about 15 miles north of Charlotte. It’s the eight-ranked liberal arts college in the country according to the most recent U.S. News and World Report, Due to an exceptionally large freshman class this year, enrollment is slightly over 1,600 students.

It is not Denison. It is not Dickinson. The name is Davidson.”

Fifth-year senior Mark Donnelly holds the 1998 SoCon trophy aloft. Donnelly scored 13 points in the final game against Appalachian.

While the moment of glory was brief – Davidson entered that year’s NCAA tournament as a #14 seed in the South Regional, and fell in the first round against #3 Michigan, 80-61 – this trip to the championship marked the men’s basketball team’s emergence as the small school with a lot of heart. Bob McKillop’s teams would return to the dance in 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Team picture of the 1998 men’s basketball team after winning the Southern Conference Tournament.

This year’s team played their final home game of the season last night (a win over St. Bonaventure), and have one more away game before heading to the Atlantic 10 Championship next week. Let’s wish the Wildcats luck!

Then and Now

An offer to provide a brief history of a newly renovated building on campus provided the perfect invitation to do a little visual comparisons.  The newly renovated building started life as a post office and now houses IT staff.

Mail time in the 1960s

Mail time in the 1960s.

Students traditionally filed over at 11am to pick up their mail.  The 1958 post office boasted air conditioning – with a unit visible in the upper left.   To get in all the boxes for students and towns people, narrow halls were necessary.

Newly renovated space for IT

Newly renovated space for IT

No narrow halls now. Instead the floor plan offers flexible spaces, brighter colors and we hope better air conditioning.  Coming back, it made sense to check out changes in the library.

Little Library main floor

Little Library main floor

Opened in 1974, the library featured display cases and shelves of books and magazines as well as study tables.

Little Library main floor in 2017

Little Library main floor in 2017

In 2017, the library still has magazines but they share space with dvds. There are fewer book shelves and more computers.

Library's social study space in 1977

Library’s social study space in 1977

Students could chose between a balcony overlook or getting closer to the windows.  President’s portraits overlooked the students.

Same space in 2017

Same space in 2017

Newer furniture — some of it on wheels. White boards and new art on the walls compete with the views and computer cords drape across it all.

The view out this window has changed with the new Wall Academic Center.

Dave Grant teaches in the dogwood dell outdoor classroom

Dave Grant teaches in the dogwood dell outdoor classroom

Instead of a spread of dogwood trees and a circle of benches, students now have an urban-vibe terrace between the wings of the Wall Center.

Davidson goes urban

Davidson goes urban

The view from the front of the library changed as well. Richardson plaza has art while the landscaping by large planters has given way to open spaces.

Low-key version of the plaza

Low-key version of the plaza

A more formal plaza

A more formal plaza

Dogwoods tried to thrive in these planters but mostly didn't

Dogwoods tried to thrive in these planters but mostly didn’t.

Fewer bricks, more grass

Fewer bricks, more grass

The new building has special features including a “green” wall with living plants but in some ways, even with new technology, science labs look like science labs.

Science in the mid-20th century

Science in the mid-20th century

21st century lab - just beginning to be used.

21st century lab – just beginning to be used.

The new building did have a major change reflecting student choices. Students aren’t drinking well water these days but they are carrying a variety of water bottles everywhere.

Drinking fountain circa 1924

Drinking fountain circa 1924

Fountain with water bottle filling option

Fountain with water bottle filling option

Finally, what about leisure time? — Couches are still popular and TV’s got bigger

Ovens Union lounge

Ovens Union lounge

Alvarez Union lounge area

Alvarez Union lounge area

–But table tennis and foosball are still nearby.

Max Beerbohm

The Happy Hypocrite

The Happy Hypocrite

MaxBeerbohm was born on August 24, 1872 in London, and is noted for both his wit and his talent as a caricaturist.
His only art classes were those he took under “Mr. Wilkinson” in the day school he attended between 1881 and 1885. He attended Merton College, Oxford, and there met Oscar Wilde who introduced him to other literary and artistic figures of the time. He was not a great student, and left Oxford in 1894 without getting a degree, but he had by then already made a name for himself as a humorist. One of his pieces of fiction, The Happy Hypocrite is represented in the holdings of the Rare Book Room.

The Happy Hypocrite, by Max Beerbohm. New York: The John Lane Company [1915]. Gift of Dr. H.M. Marvin.

The Happy Hypocrite

The Happy Hypocrite

While at Oxford, “Max” as he signed his drawings, began being known for his caricatures, done in pen or pencil with watercolor tinting. Thirty-six of his drawings were published by the Strand Magazine in 1892. In 1913 The Times called him “the greatest of English comic artists,” and his caricatures were widely published in magazines and exhibited in galleries. Collections of his caricatures are located in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Tate Collection; The Victoria and Albert Museum; and the University of California. The Rare Book room is fortunate to have some of his volumes of caricatures including:

A Peep into the Past Title Page

A Peep into the Past
Title Page

A Peep into the Past facsimile

A Peep into the Past
facsimile

A Peep into the Past, by Max Beerbohm. [New York: M. Harzof], 1923. Facsimile of the manuscript followed by the printed text. Limited edition of 300 copies printed on Japanese vellum. Gift of Dr. H.M. Marvin.

A Survey, by Max. London: W. Heinemann [1921]. First edition, limited to 275 numbered and signed copies. 51 tipped-in mounted plates of caricatures in half-tone. Our copy is number 4. Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Richard Huddleston.

from A Survey "I do wonder what the young gentleman saw in me!"

from A Survey
“I do wonder what the young gentleman saw in me!”

A Survey

A Survey

Limited edition info and signature

Limited edition info and signature

From Things New and Old

From Things New and Old

Things New and Old Additional print

Things New and Old
Additional print

Things New and Old/ by Max Beerbohm. London: W. Heinemann, 1923. First edition, limited to 380 numbered and signed copies. Our copy is number 226. Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Richard Huddleston.

The Chameleon’s Color: The Story of a Short-Lived Student Literary Magazine

This week’s blog highlights a short-lived student-run literary magazine: The Chameleon. The Chameleon, which ran from 1926 through 1930, was born out of the Davidson Monthly, first published in 1870. In the 1880s the Monthly became Davidson College Magazine, and then morphed into The Chameleon in 1926.

The first issue of The Chameleon, May 1926.

The first issue of The Chameleon, May 1926.

The first issue, put out in May 1926, showed a magazine in transition – no single editor was named, but editorial duties were credited to the Blue Pencil Chapter of Sigma Upsilon, which was the local chapter of a southern literary society. By the November 1926 issue, Holcombe M. Austin (Class of 1927), who had had a short story published in that first Chameleon issue a few months prior, was installed as editor. Austin penned the first “Cham’s Colors” editorial, which explained the impetus behind the shift in the publication and its goals:

Last spring an alumnus, three years graduate, when he had finished reading the red-covered pamphlet, the ‘official, licensed magazine’, sent to him from his alma mater, commented, “Why the boys don’t believe in the kind of stuff that’s in here. This wild thing is just a half-baked imitation of the green-backed radical type of magazine. I know that the thinking men in The College aren’t in sympathy with this kind of thing.”

In attempting escape from the brand “collegiate” the college magazine has wandered afield, lost its way, and with that scarified its value as a student publication.

THE CHAMELEON would be otherwise, would be distinctly Davidson, distinctly student… CHAM wants on his pages the color of student opinion and thought.

Holcombe M. Austin's full editorial in the first issue of the new Chameleon, November 1926.

Holcombe M. Austin’s full editorial in the first issue of the new Chameleon, November 1926.

The Davidsonian covered the release of the December 1926 Cham in their December 16 issue, explaining that “various types of criticism received concerning the first number of this magazine have aided materially in molding the form of this edition.” The story went on to explain the recurring design scheme of The Chameleon:

The Chameleon will begin its policy of changing colors every issue with this edition. The cover of this number being a light blue, the name of the magazine and the usual cut being printed with dark blue ink and shaded with silver. This combination will make as striking an appearance as the jacket in which the first edition was enclosed.

The first three covers of the new run of The Chameleon, showing the repeated design.

The first three covers of the new run of The Chameleon, showing the repeated design.

The cover design of The Chameleon followed this pattern from November 1926 until February 1930. In the December 1936 issue, editor Holcombe M. Austin expanded upon the purpose of the magazine:

The cry of every college editor, the cry, for that matter, of every editor who pilots a magazine of literary pretensions, is for the distinctive, “the original.” Not that the bizarre or extreme is demanded, but when there comes to the editor’s desk a short story or essay through strangely characteristic style or curiousness of subject matter achieves the unusual, his heart is filled with gladness. He clasps the manuscript to his bosom and gives praise… CHAM is looking forward to spring raiment. Then, as now, color without, and so help him students, within!

After this editorial no others were published in the magazine until what would be its last issue in February 1930. In that issue, which also featured a new cover design, editor-in-chief Robert F. Jarratt (Class of 1930), explained the changes to the magazine and hinted at its uncertain future:

Ever faithful to the connotation of its name, the CHAMELEON again changes… During it’s life the CHAMELEON has the Quips and Cranks, and the Davidsonian, both grow to maturity. While the CHAMELEON instead of growing stronger with the passing years, has deteriorated with age…

For the past few years there have been constant changes in the CHAMELEON, all due to the efforts of the editor to strike upon a combination that will be pleasing to the members of the student body, and also reflect the best of student body literary efforts. What few changes that will be made this year, are only tentative efforts to hit upon this combination. Whether they are effective will be demonstrated by their performance.

The cover and editorial of the February 1930 issue.

The cover and editorial of the February 1930 issue.

Unfortunately, The Chameleon‘s redesign did not save it, and the February 1930 issue was its last. College humor magazines The Yowl and Scripts ‘N’ Pranks sprung up in 1935 and 1936 to fill the gap, and Davidson College was without a strictly literary student-run magazine until Hobart Park began in 1978.

Extracurricular

There’s an irony in the heading Extracurricular.  The Davidson Encyclopedia has 4 new entries on student extracurricular activities –in that they were written as curricular requirement. Students in a first year writing class on Leisure and Play spent weeks last fall learning about Davidson history through the lens of out of class experiences.

They worked in teams around 4 topics: honorary fraternities, independent student organizations,  oversight or coordinating boards, and political engagement.  Each group focused on a subset of organizations developing brief histories and sharpened their archival skills finding photographs and scanning Davidsonians.

The activity planning boards group wrote about the Interfraternity Council (once known as the Pan-Hellenic Council and now part of Patterson Court Council), the Publications (now Media Board) and the Union Board (still functioning as the Union Board).  They discovered stories of streaking and frolics, self-selection controversies and literary magazines.

Frolicing with flowcharts in 1992

Frolicing with flowcharts in 1992

Research around honorary fraternities focused on the sciences, economics and music with Sigma Pi Sigma, Gamma Sigma Epsilon and Omicron Delta Epsilon and Phi Mu Alpha. Unexpected stories uncovered for this group included Davidson’s role in publishing a chemistry journal (serious work but with a few chemical jokes added in),  our first female professor in economics,  outdoors experiments on Chambers lawn, and the tradition of interfraternity sings.

ODE in 1966

ODE in 1966

Changes in student social life and service activities in the 21st century made some of the experiences of around independent student groups intriguing for our student researchers. Anyone remember Lingle Manor, Alpha Phi Omega or any of the co-ed eating houses:

Lingle Manor the building, home once to Lingle Manor, the student organization.

Lingle Manor the building, home once to Lingle Manor, the student organization.

Today’s students found more in common with the political and social groups. Although only one group, the College Republicans, still exists, the concerns of the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and Just Peace continue in new expressions.

20021204_001

You are invited to explore these new encyclopedia entries and the intersection of the history of extracurricular life and current writing curriculum.

Revolution, 1967 and 2017

Revolution 2017, a multidisciplinary campus-wide initiative that focuses on revolution, broadly conceived, marks the 100th anniversary year of the Bolshevik Revolution. As we begin a year of courses and events related to revolution, let’s look back at a campus visit from a Russian embassy staff member 50 years ago.

In February 1967, Davidson invited Dr. Alexi Stepunin, then first secretary of the cultural division of the Soviet Embassy in D.C. to campus. In many ways, Dr. Stepunin’s visit was revolutionary – he was an campus to discuss the Russian Revolution, and his presence at Davidson was in opposition to the North Carolina Speaker Ban.

An article in the February 3, 1967 Davidsonian announces Stepunin's visit.

An article in the February 3, 1967 Davidsonian announces Stepunin’s visit.

The ban, in effect from 1963 to 1968, prevented state supported colleges and universities from inviting speakers who were “known member[s] of the Communist Party;” “known to advocate the overthrow of the constitution of the United States or the state of North Carolina;” had plead “the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States in refusing to answer any question, with respect to communist or subversive connections, or activities, before an duly constituted legislative committee, any judicial tribunal, or any executive of administrative board of the United States or any state.” While Davidson College, as a private college, was not subject to this law, Davidson faculty members strongly opposed the law and made their opinions publicly known by authoring a position paper.

Draft of the Speaker Ban as H.B. 1395, 1963.

Draft of the Speaker Ban as H.B. 1395, 1963.

This paper, put out by the Davidson College AAUP (American Association of University Professors) stated why the faculty felt the ban would have a negative impact even on schools not bound to follow it:

“Our opposition to this law is permanent, and it is strictly a grass-roots operation… it needs to be stressed in this connection that a great part of our concern lies in the fact that this law endangers the quality of private institutions as well as public ones. To take Davidson College as a case in point, her vitality depends in a number of ways upon the quality of the state University, as is evidenced by the fact that nearly a fourth of our faculty has advanced degrees from this University.”

Statement before the Governor's Commission on the Speaker Ban Law, Davidson College AAUP, September 9, 1965.

Statement before the Governor’s Commission on the Speaker Ban Law, Davidson College AAUP, September 9, 1965.

The Davidson faculty had other concerns besides the special relationship between UNC and Davidson – as the statement goes on to explain:

“The law is harmful to the University in another way as well. The free flow of ideas is inherently bound up in the very functioning of the University. The law does inhibit the free flow of ideas, else there would have been no reason for its passage in the first place. Thus the second hard fact of the matter is that the law not only demoralizes the faculty; it directly impedes the efficiency of their educational effort.”

Jesse Helm's reaction to the Davidson AAUP statement,

Jesse Helm’s reaction the conversations going on at Davidson, January 26, 1965.

Jesse Helms, then Executive Vice President at WRAL-TV and later a long-serving U.S. Senator, did not much like the rumblings emanating from Davidson College. He focused one of his WRAL-TV editorials on the faculty:

“Something over a week ago, there came from the campus of Davidson College the beginning gurgles of what no doubt will shortly be a river of pious nonsense swirling around the ankles of North Carolina legislature. The one-track minds of another group pf college professors had produced another resolution condemning the state law which bans communist speakers from state-owned college campuses… Davidson College was a poor place for this season’s flood of screwball resolutions to begin.”

It was into this environment that Alexi Stepunin stepped when he visited Davidson early in 1967. His main address while on campus discussed the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and provided a “historical outline” of the Soviet Union from 1917 to 1967.

The February 10, 1967 issue of The Davidsonian covered Stepunin's visit in three short stories on the front page.

The February 10, 1967 issue of The Davidsonian covered Stepunin’s visit in three short stories on the front page.

We too will be looking back at 1917 this year, as well as many other revolutions before and since as the Revolution 2017 initiative spans across multiple courses and public events. May the courage of the 1960s Davidson faculty in defending the “free flow of ideas” within education guide our actions this year!

The Golden Cockerel Press – First Books

Golden Cockerel logoThe Golden Cockerel Press was established in London in 1920. It had three owners during its history, but the most notable was Robert Gibbings, under whose leadership it became known as one of the fine private presses. Beautiful typefaces, handmade paper, woodcuts and engraved illustrations…all are represented in our Golden Cockerel Press editions, and Davidson can thank Dr. Harold Marvin, class of 1914, for donating to us many of the beautiful limited edition volumes he collected. Here are images of the first 9 volumes from the press, printed from 1921-1922, all from our collection.
The Golden Cockerel Press’s first printed volume was A. E. Coppard’s Adam & Eve & Pinch Me.

Adam & Eve. The first book of the GCP

Adam & Eve.
The first book of the GCP

Terpsicore & Other Poems

Terpsicore & Other Poems

Book number two was Terpischore & other poems by H.T. Wade-Gery.

Signs & Wonders

Signs & Wonders

Signs & Wonders, by John Davys Beresford, was book number three.

Number four, another work by A.E. Coppard, was Clorinda Walks in Heaven.

Clorinda Walks in Heaven.

Clorinda Walks in Heaven. Dust Jacket.

Clorinda Walks in Heaven.
Dust Jacket.

Book number five was Kanga Creek, written by Havelock Ellis. Our copy is signed by the author.

Kanga Creek, with author's signature.

Kanga Creek, with author’s signature.

The Puppet Show, title page.

The Puppet Show, title page.

Puppet Show, Golden Cockerel’s book number six, was written by Martin Armstrong. Another A. E. Coppard book was publication number seven, Hips & Haws: Poems.

Hips & Haws, cover.

Hips & Haws, cover.

Hips & Haws, title page.

Hips & Haws, title page.

Another book of poetry, number eight, was Gipsy-night, and other poems, by Richard Arthur Warren.

Gipsy night.

Gipsy night.

Masques & Poems.

Masques & Poems.

And, book number nine, was Masques and Poems by Peter Quennell.