MA 2




0.21 linear feet (1 small document case)


Organized in 1906, the Forum / Ethical Culture Club was essentially a meeting for the free discussion of any topic of interest. Composed of meetings records, a constitution and a club history.

Historical Note

The Forum was organized in Brookings, South Dakota in January 1906. It was then called the Ethical Culture Club; according to one of its historians. It held its original meetings on Sunday and "was to be a substitute on a basis of liberal theology for church going". These early days notwithstanding, the Forum, as it became known after October 14, 1910, was essentially a meeting for the free discussion of any topic of interest. Topics included, child labor laws, the establishment of a public library, promotion of a league to enforce peace, and the use of metric measures. Many of these topics, particularly the building of a library, actually became calls to action.

The Forum was made up of members of both the college and the town with the majority being drawn from all parts of the College. According to William Powers, Forum historian, the outside membership has been distributed among different professions, including clergymen. Membership seems to have only been limited to men, with the added provision that all members were expected at some time to present a paper.

Governance of the organization was made up of a president, vice president and secretary treasurer who made up the executive committee. There were also two standing committees for programs and for membership.

Content Notes

Composed of miscellanies from both the era of the Forum and the time of the Ethical Culture Club. Materials from the latter era consist of the record of meetings from the years 1908-1910. Material for the latter years includes the minutes of meetings, a copy of the constitution, some miscellaneous materials and a history of the club written by William Powers.

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South Dakota State University Archives and Special Collections, Hilton M. Briggs Library, Brookings, South Dakota.


Copyright restrictions apply in different ways to different materials. Many of the documents and other historical materials in the Archives are in the public domain and may be reproduced and used in any way. There are other materials in the Archive carrying a copyright interest and must be used according to the provisions of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. The Archive issues a warning concerning copyright restrictions to every researcher who requests copies of documents. Although the copyright law is under constant redefinition in the courts, it is ultimately the responsibility of the researcher to properly use copyrighted material.