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Personal Paper

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This record book of the early debating societies at Marshall Academy and early Marshall College (Diagnothian Literary Society and Erodelphian Literary Society) is important for multiple reasons: (1) it is the earliest primary source on Marshall Academy (1855-1857) housed in the Marshall Archives that mentions student names; (2) it definitely confirms that there were female students at Marshall Academy before 1858; (3)it contains the only known three handwritten issues of the Marshall College Gazette (early college newspaper) for 1879. From the minutes of the debating societies we have extracted a student list for 1855-1857, a student list for 1861, and a list of the debate topics. Also found in the record book are the constitution and by-laws of the debating society, which show they were well organized and had a library which was managed by a society librarian. It had an initiation fee, fines for “non-performance” and for missed attendance. The lists show that Marshall Academy students were from the prominent and influential families of the counties of Western Virginia. This book contains a scanned image of every page from the record book, with a verbatim transcription on the opposite page. There are numerous footnotes which identify the students in the records.