Abstract

This essay investigates the ways that some teachers colleges not typically considered in traditional histories of the Speech field reconfigured aspects of elocution or the performance arts through their teaching practices. Focusing on San Jose State Teachers College in the early decades of the twentieth century when Speech was emerging as a discipline, this analysis demonstrates how some speech teachers refashioned and democratized the teaching of oral reading, particularly the oral reading of poetry. In so doing, this study reveals the gendered nature of our standard histories while broadening our understanding of how teachers colleges fit into the disciplinary split between Speech and English.

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