The Department of Public Speaking and Dramatics was established in 1920, as the first Speech Department in Oregon, and grew quickly during the 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.
C.B. (Charles Buren) Mitchell joined the faculty of Oregon Agricultural College in 1920 to head the new Department of Public Speaking and Dramatics. As department head, he established and developed the dramatics and forensics programs at Oregon State. 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. Elizabeth Barnes also joined the faculty in the early 1920s (1922) and was the main force behind the theater program until her retirement in 1946.
The Drama, Debate, and Oration Clippings Scrapbooks document speech, debate, oratory, and dramatic activities at Oregon State University from the 1920s to early 1960s. The scrapbooks include clippings, arranged chronologically, from the Barometer campus newspaper and the local Corvallis newspapers as well as newspapers published in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere in Oregon. The clippings announce the results of speech and debate events; profile students participating in speech and drama activities; and includes announcements and reviews of dramatic performances at Oregon State.
The collection consists of 4 volumes. These are for 1920-1930 (volume 1); 1930-1937 (volume 2); 1937-1955 (volume 3); and 1959-1962 (volume 4). Loose clippings for 1962-1963 are included in a separate folder in the front of the 4th volume. Many of the clippings, especially in volumes 3 and 4, are detached from the scrapbook pages.
It is likely that the scrapbooks were assembled by the Speech Department.
Drama, Debate, and Oration Clippings Scrapbooks (MSS Drama), Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.