Notable Visitors


Year / Month
Visitor Event Description

1920 April 24

William Jennings Bryan
American politician and one of the best known orators and lecturers of the era

William Jennings Bryan, 1920
    Photo from the Library of Congress


Speaker: Bryan addressed a packed house in the North Hall Auditorium, delighting the crowd with one of his famous speeches on the prohibition movement

1920 October

Davies Light Opera Company

Performance: of "Girofla-Girofla," by the Davies Light Opera Company, opened the Lyceum season to a large and enthusiastic audience. Henry Davies, who led the company, has appeared in more than 900 operas, with leading organizations in America including Hammerstein's Grand Opera Company of New York. [sponsored by the Lyceum Program]

1921 February

Katharine Ridgeway
the chautauqua circuit's "Queen of the Platform"
(Katharine Ridgeway was the stage name of Katharine Hunt)

Reading: Ridgeway spent the evening reading various prose, storytelling, and plays [sponsored by the College Lyceum Program]

1921 October

Hadley Concert Company
musical group

Performance: The program consisted of vocal solos, vocal duets, concert songs, violin solos, and piano solos, and took place in the Normal School auditorium

1922 February 13-14

Dr. E. H. Longbrake
(Elijah Hull Longbrake, 1878-1962)

E. H. Longbrake, 1922
         Photo from The Student Voice


Lecture Series: In his three lectures, given in the North Hall auditorium, Dr. Longbrake discussed some of the most persistent problems of the age. In the first, titled "Whither Bound," he talked about the future; the second was titled "Has Christianity Failed," and the last "The Power of the Emotive Ideal." [sponsored by the Christian Organization]

1922 April

Dr. Edith Hale Swift
pediatrician from Harvard Medical School, special commissioner of the YWCA in Europe in 1918; an interesting note on Dr. Swift is that she was born just across the river in Cottage Grove, Minnesota (in 1878)

Lecture Series: Dr. Swift gave four lectures on social hygiene to the women at the Normal School; she was active in public work, including child health

1922 September 17

Dr. Payne
a renowned lecturer who had traveled the world

Lecture: "Wonderful Italy," Dr. Payne lectured in the Normal School auditorium, showing lantern slides and providing "exact, vivid" descriptions of of historic sites and buildings, such as palaces and cathedrals

1922 October

Du Moulin-Axtell
musical performance

Concert: This concert was one of the best entertainments ever performed at River Falls at that time; personnel of the concert company were: Helen Protheroe Axtell, soprano; Theodore Du Moulin, cellist; and Rose Du Moulin, pianist [sponsored by Lyceum Course]

1925 April

Sherwood Eddy
author, leading American Protestant missionary, and educator; he spent 15 years as a missionary in the Far East (China, Japan, Philippines) and Near East (Turkey, Palestine, Iraq, Egypt)

Lecture: Dr. Eddy focused on social, international, and religious views during his presentation in the Normal School auditorium

1925 October 22

C. Edward Clarke Concert Company

Concert: "A most interesting groups of songs, cleverly presented" by Rachel Steinman Clarke, violinist, and Earl Victor Prahl, pianist [sponsored by the People's Lecture Course]

1925 December 10

Dr. I. M. Cochran
Carleton College professor and famous interpreter of plays

Performance: Professor Cochran presented the play "The Man of the Hour" at an assembly; his "expressions and his ability to captivate the audience were ever present" [Mutual Lyceum and Chautauqua System]

1926 October

Frederick G. Coan
lecturer, missionary, author of "Yesterdays in Persia and Kurdistan"

Speaker: Coan spoke on the topic of the Awakening of the Near East; his main focus was his missionary work in Persia (Iran) and the girls school he helped to establish in that area

1926 November

E. Ruth Pyrtle
president of the Nebraska Department of Elementary School Principals

National Education Week: Pyrtle, a prominent educator of the time, spoke as a part of National Education Week; she was also a member of the Normal School Board of Regents

1926 November, December

J. Stitt Wilson
orator and platform speaker; leading Christian Socialist politician in the early 1900s; mayor of Berkley, California, from 1911-1913
J Stitt Wilson

Lecture Series: Wilson spoke during a three-day series on the topic of "Constructive Christian Democracy"

1926 December

I. M. Cochran
lecturer, entertainer, play interpreter, and head of the Department of Public Speaking at Carlton College (Northfield, Minn.)

Performance: The nationally famous lecturer, entertainer, and interpreter of plays visited River Falls to judge a local oratorical contest and to present the play, "The Fortune Hunter"

1927 January

Two Million Dollar Chorus
musical group

Performance: Vocal artists, dancers, six famous end-men all entertained at the normal auditorium, with the chorus thrilling the audience with popular songs, such as "Sweet Adeline," "When You Were Sweet Sixteen," and "Will You Love Me In December As You Did In May"

1927 February

P. H. McKee
state secretary of YMCA

Visit: McKee came to River Falls to speak to local YMCA men; he also met with the YMCA Cabinet and talked with interested men about joining [sponsored by the YMCA]

1927 February

Dr. F. J. Gordan
district superintendent of the Methodist Church in Rice Lake, Wis.

Speaker: Gordon spoke about personal relationships

1927 May

Dr. A. J. Flute

Lecture Series: Dr. Flute, a widely traveled man of noted ability, gave a series of lectures on the River Falls campus: the first based on travel, the second discussed the poetry of Japan and China--he said that the Japanese and Chinese had a greater love for poetry than any other people--and the final talk was on the geography of China.

1927 September

P. G. W. Keller
Eau Calire superintendent of schools

Speaker: Keller was the principal speaker for the River Falls State Teachers College's opening day; he encouraged a positive teaching environment and stressed character as the purpose of education

1927 November

Rolf Lium
President Coolidge's "Black Hills Pastor" was another chautauqua circuit favorite

Lecture: Lium spoke about his experiences the summer before, when preached to President and Mrs. Calvin Coolidge; he lectured on the characteristics of the president, who he described as having straightforward simplicity as his outstanding characteristic

1928 January

Arthur Rugh
head of the student movement of the YMCA in China

Lecture: In a lecture on Human Relationships, Rugh emphasized that we are living in an age of confusion and are uncertain about the way to go in almost every field concerning human relationships; Rugh lectured three days and discussed the possibilities of religious experiences and the consciousness of God, as well as our responsibilities and opportunities connected to current world situations and a new appreciation of the value of Bible study

1928 February

Bacban S. Tija
native of India

Speaker: Tija spoke at the YMCA meeting, emphasizing that American Christianity does not include tolerance as it does elsewhere and asked for a mutual understanding of all peoples

1928 April

North Dakota Concert Band
musical ensemble

Performance: The band played under the direction of John F. Howard, former director of the Teacher's College Band at River Falls.

1928 November

Dr. Edith Hale Swift
physician, and lecturer with the American Social Hygiene Association of New York City

Lecture Series: Dr. Swift delivered a series of talks on social hygiene/cleanliness 

1928 November

Mr. Hunt 

Speaker: Mr. Hunt spoke to the men of the college at an assembly; he told them that college men must instruct themselves to build valuable characters, no student is capable of taking charge of a group of children until he can control himself

1929 March

The Stratford Players
theater group

Performance: of "Julius Caesar," was the first of its kind held in River Falls and the turn out was huge with the theater filled to capacity; the Shakespeare Group included Miss Claire Brucen, Ernest Hansen, Miss Mary Bruning, Richard Irving, Niles Bennett, and Martin Wells

1929 March

Karl Musser, secretary of the American Guernsey Cattle Club;
D. D. Tenney, president of the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce;
George B. Humphrey, head of Animal Husbandry at UW in Madison;
Gavin McKerrow, secretary of Wis. Guernsey Breeders' Association

Guernsey Picnic: 3,000 visitors attended the picnic and heard the nationally known speakers; arrangements were made to take care of the large crowd including restrooms, food, parking, etc., while the College provided the music