|In 1950, Grace Hartzell Douma
composed a thesis on the history of Coe College. The thesis was
submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin. The
history covers the years between 1851 and 1901. The document is
206 pages long. Unfortunately, a number of pages have gone
"Literary societies played the highly important role on the Coe campus
that they did on so many other college campuses during the latter half
of the century. On many campuses the literary society was the
only extra-curricular activity sponsered by the school...
Alpha Nu was the first literary society at Coe. It was organized
in January, 1882 for the men on campus. Within the next year a
group of young women formed a similar organization and named their
society after Mr. T. M. Sinclair, a Coe
patron who had died in
1881. In 1885, a second society for men, the Olios, was
established, but another group for the women was not formed until nine
years later. This was the Carleton Society.
The general purpose of a society was to provide experience in
declamation, composition, oratory, debate, parliamentary tactics,
presiding over assemblies, keeping minutes, keeping accounts, and
managing funds. The officers of a given society varied somewhat,
but in general they included a president, vice-president, secretary,
treasurer, critic, and curator. Some societies also had a
chaplain and a "prosecuting attorney," (123-124).
For full text of Grace Hartzell Douma's thesis entitled Coe College 1851-1901, click here.