Oratorical Association Follows Tradition In Choice Of Orators
By bringing well-known observers of international events such as H. V. Kaltenborn, H. R. Knickerbocker and Jan Masaryk here at a time when eyes in the United States are focused on Europe more than in perhaps 20 years, the Oratorical Association is keeping in step with a tradition started with birth of the organization in 1854.
Original forebear of the present association was the Student Lecture Association, organized in 1854. In 1912, the group was changed to the Oratorical Association.
Throughout the 85 years of its existence the annual lecture series of the association has been marked by timeliness of the lecturers in relation to current events.
Many of the speakers and their topics, when listed now, easily recall a ghostly historical parade. Included among the lecturers were Ralph Waldo Emerson, Horace Greeley, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Thomas Nast, Mark Twain, Edward Everett Hale, Bret Harte, Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, Horace Mann and Presidents Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson.
More recent speakers include Will Rogers, Lowell Thomas, Mrs. Ruth Bryan Owen Rohde, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Alexander Woollcott, Thomas Mann and Admiral Richard E. Byrd.
Among general topics have been ethics, literature, travel, history, politics, foreign affairs, humor and science. Some of the early specific subjects were abolition, reconstruction after the Civil war, the Atlantic cable, civil service and Darwinism.
First meetings of the association were held in various local churches. Then in 1873, University Hall was dedicated and made available for public gatherings and was used until construction of Hill auditorium.
Student Lecture Association
University of Michigan - Oratorical Association
Ann Arbor - History
Ann Arbor News
Ruth Bryan Owen Rohde
Richard E. Byrd
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Henry Ward Beecher
H. V. Kaltenborn
H. R. Knickerbocker
Edna St. Vincent Millay