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Finding Aid: Austin College Reveille

Biographical Note

The Athenaeum Society and the Philennoian Society were rival literary societies on campus during the 1890s to the beginning of the 1900s. The faculty of Austin College first brought up the organization of two literary societies in hope that it would cultivate the art of public speaking and stimulate desire for pure reading and clear writing. The Athenaeum was one of the original two literary societies. Students were required to join one of the two literary societies and attend meetings. The purpose of the societies was to promote education in rhetoric. Those who could not bring themselves to associate with either literary society were forced to attend a class in rhetoric in addition to their regular studies. The literary societies created a friendly rival environment that became one of the most intense and widespread activities. They organized formal debates, essay readings or recitations, and oratorical and debate contests. They also participated in statewide speech competitions. Not only did the literary societies provide campus entertainment, they also prepared students for life.

Austin College

 

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