The Golden Age of the Literary Societies 383
were no longer sufficient to provide for the Society enterprises, such
as the Wake Forest Student, nor for the social functions, such as
receptions at commencements and anniversaries as in former years,
which were surrendered for the most part to the fraternities, and were
radically changed into conformity, so far as permitted by the
regulations of the Trustees and faculty, with the standards and ideals
of the national fraternities.15
The following, under the heading, "what is Wrong with the Literary
Societies?" is found in the "Open Forum" of the Old Gold and Black of February 2,
1929. "The indifferent attitude on the part of the student body and the lack of
interest shown in any forensic contests on Wake Forest campus tend to prove that
the literary societies will soon come to an end unless a general interest is revived in
some way or other.... The point we are interested in is how the Societies are going to
exist and carry on their work unless they are given some consideration financially.
When membership was compulsory this was no problem, because every student
contributed to their support. But at the present time only those who are especially
interested in the work have to bear the burden which rightfully belongs either to the
College or the whole student body. The membership has become so small that they
can no longer meet the necessary expenses without borrowing large sums each year.
This money has to be paid back the next year by an even smaller group, because the
membership gets smaller each year. Are the literary societies any less important
than any other activity of the college, that they receive no support? Every
organization which represents the college is financed by the college except the
literary societies. . . . The trouble lies in the fact that the majority of the student
body care nothing about the activities of the contests. It is ever discouraging to
those who attempt to represent the college in this capacity when only a few of the
students or the faculty give their support."
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