The Washington Literary Society Records document the history of one of two Lafayette College debating clubs, from its establishment in 1830 as the Philomathean Society at the Germantown Manual Labor Academy in Pennsylvania, to its being renamed the Washington Literary Society. This occurred shortly before the Academy was moved to Easton in 1832 to form Lafayette College. Records document the society to its dissolution in 1923. Debating clubs were the first form of extra-curricular activity to appear on the Lafayette campus in the 19th century and functioned in some ways as precursors to the future Greek system. In addition to debating, these clubs sponsored oratorical contests, enrolled honorary members, and created the college’s first libraries. The records contain minute books, programs of debates, essays, constitution and by-laws, financial records, library records, a roll book and visitor’s register, and publications. Of particular interest are the essays, which serve as early examples of students’ writings.