Club that met weekly or bi-weekly in Storrsville, Massachusetts, to debate questions of local, national, and international interest including religion, abolition and slavery, human nature, penal reform, the lure of the West, intemperance, and war and peace. Single minutebook includes two versions of the constitution, proposed and debated questions, the teams, the outcome, and notations of any additional activities that took place during the formal meetings.
The collection is open for research.
Background on Storrsville Lyceum Debating Society
Storrsville was a section of Dana, which was among the Western Massachusetts towns abolished in 1938 to allow the Swift River Valley to be flooded, thereby creating the Quabbin Reservoir to provide Boston with water.
The Storrsville Lyceum Debating Society (also known as Union Literary and Debating Club of Storrsville, and later, Ciceronean Debating Club) met usually weekly or bi-weekly between January 11, 1842 and February 16, 1846 at sites in Storrsville (Massachusetts) and Dana Center, usually school houses, to debate questions proposed by a Committee of Arrangements and agreed upon in advance.
The questions are reflective of both the broad interests of the members and the issues of the day. They range over matters of local, national, and international interest; religious and ethical considerations; abolition and slavery; education; politics and law; human nature; penal reform; the lure of the West; intemperance; and war and peace.
The society produced a paper, The Storrsville Talisman, edited by Lewis McIntyre, from October 10, 1842 until March 20, 1843, at which time it appears to have ceased, following a meeting of the society for which the debate question was, "Is it advantageous for the Lyceum that the editorial department should be filled with sectarianism?"
The minutes consist of a single minutebook, chronicling the activities of the society from its first meeting January 11, 1842, until interest waned and the last recorded meeting was held February 16, 1846. They indicate the question proposed for the next meeting, the question debated on the evening at hand, the teams, and the outcome, as well as any additional activities that took place during the formal meeting. Two versions of the constitution are included, signed by all who wished to be members.
Acquired from Donald Howe, 1960.
Processed by Linda Seidman, September 1985.
Encoding funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Cite as: Storrsville Lyceum Debating Society Minutes (MS 16). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.