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The Boylston and Lee Wade Elocution contest was a brilliant success. The selections were well chosen and splendidly delivered. More than once the climax of a brilliant speech sent shivers down the spine. But the contest was in one sense lacking. It accomplished little in the development of public speaking at Harvard. In Professor Packard's course the point is emphasized that good speaking is not only delivery, it is a combination of good thinking and good delivery.
Since both the Lee Wade Prize and the Boylston Prizes were rewards for elocution, and not for public speaking, not one of the contestants would endanger his chance of winning by delivering a selection of his own. Obviously the cause of public speaking is without incentive, and at the same time with but slight opportunity. Harvard is offering no reward to the man who trains himself to combat with adequate weapons the empty but high sounding verbiage of the Longs and the Coughlins. The situation is easily remedied.
The stipend for the Boylston Prize, in institution of one hundred and nineteen years standing, is increasing. The first prize could well be increased to sixty dollars, the second to forty, and the third to thirty. The Lee Wade Prize, though unquestionably a praiseworthy institution as if stands, is nevertheless a duplication. It could be used much more effectively as a reward to the man who can create his own speech, write it, and deliver it, a premium would be placed on intelligent thinking as well as effective delivery and an incentive offered to the student to perfect himself in logical arrangement of a speech as well as in acting ability. The fact that the Lee Wade Prize is a memorial might suggest that those concerned would be loath to change it. On this score it should be remembered that the memorial would not lose its effectiveness if used to the best purposes of the University.
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