Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Brigance mss., ca. 1930-1959, consist of lectures and speeches, correspondence, writings and notes used for research, published and unpublished articles, manuscripts and audiovisual materials of Wabash College professor William Norwood Brigance, teacher, scholar and leader in the Speech Association of America. In his thirty-eight years at Wabash College, "Briggie" taught generations of Wabash students how to be more effective when they spoke and, through his textbooks, he taught thousands more in American high schools and colleges.

As editor of the pioneer book series: History and Criticism of American Public Address, and as editor of the Quarterly Journal of Speech, he gave direction to the scholarship in the field of communication, and as President of the Speech Association of America, he guided the profession through its expansion in the postwar years. The Brigance Forum is an annual public lecture or debate held in his memory. Family, friends, former students whom he taught, and those who continued the tradition of Speech at Wabash after him, have, through their contributions, endowed this program as an ongoing memorial to William Norwood Brigance. In addition, The William N. Brigance Speakers Bureau Award was established by May and James Ching, Class of 1951, in his honor. This award goes to the Wabash student who has done the most for the Speaker's Bureau during his college career.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Lectures and Speeches; II. Correspondence; III. Writings; IV. Flyers, Convention Programs and Pamphlets; V. Newspaper and Periodical Clippings; VI. Notes; VII. Business Documents; VIII. Printed Materials; IX. Educational Materials; X. Memorabilia; XI. Audiovisual Materials; XII. Biographical; XIII. Miscellaneous.

Correspondents in the collection include: Bower Aly; Paul S. Bachman; Paul D. Bagwell; John W. Black; Bill Clark; Morris Cohen; Rupert Cortwright; Lionel Crocker; F.S. Crofts; Kenneth W. Dean; Fratelli Alinari; Wilber E. Gilman; Giles Wilkeson Gray; Sara Stinchfield Hawk; Hubert Humphrey; Theodore R. Kennedy; Magdalene E. Kramer; Maggs Brothers Ltd.; James H. McBurney; Lee Meriwether; Nelson Heath Meriwether; C.W. Prentice; Loren Reid; Paul J. Richer; John F. Schultz; C.K. Thomas; Lester Thonnsen; Carl Van Ness; Robert M. Vogel; W.H. Lowdermilk & Co., Booksellers; Russell H. Wagner; Karl R. Wallace; Andrew T. Weaver; Sigmund Weiss; Allen S. Wilbur; W. Hayes Yeager; Doris Yoakam; Harold P. Zelko.

Writings consist of typescript copies of book reviews, essays, and unpublished manuscripts and articles, much of which was presumably used by Brigance for research and in determining what he would include in the Quarterly Journal of Speech or other publications of which he was a part. There is also a draft of Brigance's Ph.D. dissertation which he would eventually publish as well as informational documents often used in describing the goals and/or memberships in a particular association.

Flyers, Convention Programs and Pamphlets reflect Brigance's participation in a wide array of events where he either spoke or participated. Newspaper and Periodical clippings are mostly general and arranged chronologically; some however were used for specific research interests and have been labeled accordingly. Business Documents consist of contracts and agreements between Brigance and various publishing companies. Printed Materials consist of published periodicals, articles and other written materials which were used by Brigance in his research; most notably there are the printed materials, organized by chapters, of Brigance's highly acclaimed textbook, Speech: Its Techniques and Discipline in a Free Society.

Educational Materials consist of hearing and communication skills examination results, student hearing testing booklets as well as two of Brigance's grade books. Memorabilia includes Civil War maps and a small "Dr. Miles' Joke Book." The Audiovisual series consists of photographs of Jeremiah Sullivan Black as well as photographs and carbon copies of some of Black's letters, used by Brigance while completing his dissertation research. This series also contains photographs from the set of an unidentified filming at Universal Studios as well as audio recordings of two of Brigance's speeches. Biographical materials include essays and testimonials about W. Norwood Brigance.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2008

Collection size: 9,000 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.