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Special Collections Online at The University of Tennessee

University of Tennessee Debate and Forensics Team Scrapbooks

 Collection
Identifier: AR-0801

The first scrapbook in the collection contains photos, news clippings and informational pamphlets from 1980-1982. This specific scrapbook details the time of coach Dr. Dorothy “Didi” Sorenson and her graduate assistant coaches Hank Gentry and Sue Paquette. News clippings within this scrapbook detail the team’s rise from 83rd place nationally to 23rd. The second scrapbook in the collection documents the years 1982-1983 and the arrival of the new debate coach, Russ Church, under whom, according to news clippings, the team rose from 23rd place to 10th place in 1982. This scrapbook also contains documentation of the debate team receiving a budget cut from $9,000 to $5,000. This scrapbook also contains news clippings detailing a second place victory for the team in a Gatlinburg tournament in February of 1983, and a Forensics award sheet for 1982-1983. Following the second scrapbook is a folder containing five loose Polaroid photographs of debate team members. The third scrapbook, fourth item overall, documents the 1983-1984 season of the forensics team. During this time, a national debate tournament was held at the University of Tennessee, which Dartmouth won. The topic of this tournament was whether or not the producer of hazardous waste should be held responsible in the case of an injury due to that hazardous waste. This scrapbook also includes photos and a tournament result booklet. The fourth scrapbook, fifth item overall, contains photographs, news clippings and booklets from the 1984-1985 debate season. Several news clippings detail two British students coming to the University of Tennessee to debate the CIA’s use of censorship. These same students then debated US politics. News clippings also detail the University of Tennessee’s forensics team placing 8th nationally in May of 1985, as well as a sheet of the team’s accomplishments. Following this scrapbook is a folder which contains loose news clippings and photographs from 1984-1985. The last scrapbook in this collection is from the 1985-1986 season and contains news clippings detailing the team’s rise in rankings as well as several letters complimenting their success as well as an award sheet.

Dates

  • 1980-1986

Conditions Governing Access

Manuscript and University Archives collections are stored offsite, and a minimum of 24 hours is needed to retrieve these items for use. Researchers interested in consulting any of the collections are advised to contact Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright interests in this collection remain with the creator. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library.

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Abstract

The University of Tennessee Forensics Debate team, now known as the Tennessee Speech and Debate Society, is the student-run and alumni-funded speech and debate team on the University of Tennessee campus. Beginning in the 1800s, the organization can be traced back to both the Chi Delta Literary Society, founded in 1836, which dedicated itself to public discourse, as well as the Barbra Blount Literary Society which empowered young women to become advocates to those around them. This collection includes five scrapbooks which detail what is referred to as the Intercollegiate debate years, specifically from 1980-1986. This collection details the reign of two coaches, Dr. Dorothy “Didi” Sorenson and Dr. Russ Church, who helped the University of Tennessee climb the college debate team rankings both locally and nationally.

Biographical/Historical Note

The University of Tennessee Forensics Debate team, now known as the Tennessee Speech and Debate Society, is the student-run and alumni-funded speech and debate team on the University of Tennessee campus. Beginning in the 1800s, the organization can be traced back to both the Chi Delta Literary Society, founded in 1836, which dedicated itself to public discourse, as well as the Barbra Blount Literary Society which empowered young women to become advocates to those around them. After operating under coaches Dr. James Russell and Norma Cook until 1980, Dr. Dorothy "Didi" Sorenson was hired and led the team alongside graduate assistant coaches Hank Gentry and Sue Paquette, where they rose in the rankings from 83rd in the nation to 23rd in April of 1980. The team was then coached by Dr. Russ Church beginning in 1982, when the team eventually rose to being ranked 8th nationally, despite their budget nearly being cut in half.

Repository Details

Part of the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville Repository

Contact:
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knoxville TN 37996 USA
865-974-4480