Interest in the art of speaking well has been increasing very considerably of late among undergraduates. In 1891 there was but a single course in Public Speaking at Harvard, attended by about 90 men. At present five courses are being given in Public Speaking with at attendance of over 400 men, not to mention two courses in the Divinity School and four courses in the Summer School.
Another step toward increasing the facilities for public speaking is found in the oral work which is being added to the regular written class-work in English A this year. But perhaps the most interesting development is that of the Speakers' Club.
The Speakers' Club was founded four years ago with the purpose of discussing college activities and of affording chances to speak to such men as are interested in doing still more work than in provided for in college courses. It' is not connected, however, with the department of Public Speaking, any more than the Dramatic Club is connected with certain courses given on the English Drama. Although the discussions held by the club are limited to matters of college interest, at many of the meetings addresses are made by well-known outsiders. Last year some of the person who spoke were Professor Crossly of Brown University, president Jordan of Leland Stanford University, Mr. Lyman Abbott, and Mr. W. J. Bryan. The meeting of the club tonight, open as it is to all members of the University, affords an opportunity for men who realize the advantages of practice in public speaking to meet others with similar convictions. The instruction given the University in this subject is by its very nature limited. Excellence in this art can only come four continued practice outside of the class room. In making such opportunities, and in making them attractive, the Speakers' Club has a definite function in the University.