The earliest form of the Debate Team at the College of William and Mary, Philomathean Literary Society, was already raising funds to furnish a hall in 1896. Though certainly fulfilling many functions as a group, such as maintaining a library for the use of its members, the literary society also fulfilled a debating function; the 1901 Colonial Echo shows two orators and two debaters among its officers , and a 1911 Flat Hat describes a debate at one of the meetings of the literary society: "In the debate: Resolved, That the Right of Suffrage Should not be Granted to Women. Mr. J. L. Tucker upheld the affirmative, while Mr. W. W. Somers defended the negative side. Much interest was displayed by the suffragists and anti-suffragists of the audience, and smiles were frequently seen as one of the debaters scored a telling point".
- "College Song" book of sheet music with note on front "Proceeds to be applied to furnishing the halls of the Phoenix and Philomathean Literary Societies of the College."
- 1901 Colonial Echo
- "PHILOMATHEAN OPEN MEETING: The First of the Season, and Creditable, October 31 1911 Flat Hat
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