In her senior oration "The Achievements of Our Age," Mary Ann Humrich discusses the many technological advances of the nineteenth century. In particular she argues that the electric light bulb, matches, electric automobiles, and the introduction of table manners revolutionized the era. She concludes her oration and wrote that "'The past is sublime but the present is sublimer.'"
In her senior oration "The Development of Science from Superstition," Elizabeth Anna Low discussed the origins of modern scientific thought. Low argued that science originated from superstitious pracitices of early civilizations. She explained that, "To us, they seem absurd and ridiculous, and yet, to astrology, freed from its superstitions and prejudices, modern astronomy owes in part the firm basis on which it rest to-day." In conclusion, Low asserted that Americans must furhter distance themselves from such superstition in order to further scientific scholarship.
In a letter to Dickinson College Historian Charles Coleman Sellers, Persis Longsdorff Sipple described the beginnings of coeducation. According to Persis, her father went to President McCauley and told him that he had "four daughters, who soon be ready to enter college somewhere. He finally prevailed upon him to make the decision to allow girls to be included in the student body." Thus, Persis and her sister Zatae entered the College in 1884.
A parody on the Junior Oratorical Contest was written in 1886, and taunts Zatae Longsdorff's participation in it. One of the main features of this "event" isÂ Zatae singing the opening song, "Wait Till the Clouds Roll By." For the purposes of this parody, her oration is renamed from "Hand Workers vs. Head Workers" to "Head Work Verses Pony Work," and that she is labeled as "Our Pride When Absent." Zatae is finally mentioned in "Dramatis Personae" as stating, "I'm a Co-ed; I want a medal."
The 1891 July Dickinsonian further comments on Jessica Longsdorff's performance for the Senior Oratorical Contest. Her oration was written on "The Uncrowned," which is about paintings from the French Revolution. The Dickinsonian proclaims that hers was "one of the best orations of the evening."
The event of the Junior Oratorical Contest of 1891 was documented in the July issue of the Dickinsonian. Minnie Mack was the first speaker, who chose her subject to be "Woman's Work and Woman's Wages," which stirred much interest in those listening. She spoke on the "great injustice done to women, who...very often performing the same labor as men, yet received much less compensation." Minnie Mack then further comments on the changing times, how now women are more fitted for "mechanical or professional work" than the chief role of adorning a house.
The July 1886 Dickinsonian shows that Zatae Longsdorff was a participant in the Junior Oration Contest. The Dickinsonian states that it could hardly be called a contest because of the fact that "the members of the class organization...refused to take any part whatever in it when the two persons outside of the organization had made known their intention of contesting." One of these two people is of course Zatae Longsdorff. Despite the protests against much of the Junior class participating, the Dickinsonian states that "the contest as a whole was good."
This oration analyzes whether or not women should be permitted to study and practice law. Low argues that since procured positions within the medical field, philanthropic organizations, newspapers and academia, "humanity has been lifted up during the period in which she has been permitted to play her legitimate part in the drama of human life." However, she argues that woman's work is not done and that women must continue to fight for equal acess as men will not freely give up their power within closed professions, particularly the law.