Of the College for the first three-quarters of a century the Literary
Societies were a constitutional part. Accordingly, no history of Wake
Forest that omitted a comprehensive account of them would be
complete. Fortunately the records and documents relating to them are
preserved, and little that is essential is left to conjecture.1 They give a
vivid moving picture of successive generations of able young men in
all the joyousness and enthusiasm of youth as they come in constant
stream upon the stage, play their parts and pass off as if under some
divine compulsion. No one can contemplate the changing scene
without much admiration and satisfaction, since it provides the first
appearance of many who on other scenes of action in church and state
were to play noble parts.
The student of government might find in the records of these
Societies as good examples of democracies as ever existed. Their
members were in full charge of their organizations and without
direction or interference from outside. They chose their own form of
government, elected their own officers, established such rules and
regulations as seemed to them necessary for their welfare, and
enforced them with proper penalties. If they made mistakes they were
able to correct them. They exacted certain fees and required the
performance of certain duties; they required a strict accounting in all
financial matters; they imposed such a discipline as made for the
development of the members socially, morally and intellectually, and
fitted them to take places of leadership in
1 For the Euzelian Society the transcribed minutes for these years fill two large
volumes and part of a third, about 1,500 pages; part of the original records are also
preserved. For the Philomathesian Society the minutes of these years are contained
in one volume and part of another, with larger folios than those of the Euzelian
records. The minutes of both Societies and a list of their members for the year 1835
are found in the Wake Forest Student for February, 1910, XXIX, 384 ff. There is a
"Short History of the Literary Societies," by Dr. T. H. Pritchard, in the Wake Forest
Student, I, 60 ff.
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