Proposed Debate Plan Cancelled Through Failure to Find Platform Opponents for Noted Reformer

Thomas Mott Osborne '84, famous prison reformer, will speak in Peabody Hall. Phillips Brooks House, at 8 o'clock Monday night. His subject will be "The Purpose of Prisons" and the lecture will be open to all members of the University.

The efforts of the Harvard Christian Association, under whose auspices the lecture is being given to obtain an opponent to debate with Mr. Osborne have not succeeded.

It was hoped that Sanford Bates, Commissioner of Prisons in Massachusetts, would be able to meet the famous reformer on the platform, but he declined as he was forced to leave for Jackson, Miss., yesterday.


An effort was also made to obtain Captain Ainsley Armstrong, Captain of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, to clash with Mr. Osborne, but Captain Armstrong also declined. He said that he agreed with Mr. Osborn's aims and would not debate with him.

Osborne Founded M. L. W.


"In talking with a prisoner recently released from a New York prison,' Captain Armstrong wrote, "he told me of many improvements for which Mr. Osborne was entitled to credit."

Mr. Osborne is especially famous as the founder of the Mutual Welfare League, which he organized in 1911 when he was warden of Sing Sing Prison. He first spent a week in Auburn prison as a convict under the name of "Tom Brown." and the knowledge gained thereby, coupled with the results of years of study of prison reform, caused him to organize the Mutual Welfare League among the prisoners.

All his life Mr. Osborne has been a reformer. A native of Auburn, N. Y., he entered journalism immediately after his graduation from college. From the office of President of the Auburn Publishing Company, he jumped into polities; and though his advocation of reform cost him the lieutenant governorship of new York, he was elected Mayor of Auburn in 1903. His two years' administration was marked by inform and progressive measures.

In 1911 Mr. Osborn became very much interested in the prison situation and in 1913 he was appointed chairman of the New York Commission on Prison Reform. A year later he was made warden of Sing Sing.

His two years of wardenship at Sing Sing were stormy and exciting. He was indicted for alleged "mismanagement" but the case was dismissed promptly. The return of Warden Osborne to Sing Sing was marked by a frantic demonstration by the prisoners among whom he was always extremely popular