Ronald Eugene Shields, 1984 Dissertation – “Marjorie Gullan: Speech Teacher, Lecturer, Public Reader, and Pioneer in Choral Speaking (Scotland, England)”

A copy of the 1984 dissertation by Ronald Eugene Shields, Louisiana State University. entitled “Marjorie Gullan: Speech

Teacher, Lecturer, Public Reader, and Pioneer in Choral Speaking (Scotland, England), can be downloaded at:

Marjorie Gullan: Speech Teacher, Lecturer, Public Reader, and Pioneer ” by Ronald Eugene Shields (





“Historians of oral interpretation and speech education acknowledge Marjorie Gullan as a pioneer figure. However,

they limit their discussion to Gullan’s activities as a pioneer in popularizing choral speaking and neglect her other

professional involvements as a speech teacher, lecturer, and public reader. This study traces Gullan’s career from

the earliest years in Scotland to her death, and illustrates the interdependence between her experiences as a speech

teacher and her experiments with choral speaking as an educational and artistic technique. Born in the late nineteenth

century, Gullan witnessed the waning days of elocution, and throughout her lengthy career, which extended into the

1950’s, she encouraged the revival of verse-speaking and the inclusion of speech courses as part of the standard

curriculum in the public schools and teacher training institutions. As the author of eight textbooks and anthologies;

a pioneer and practitioner of choral speaking with the Glasgow Nightingales and the London Verse Speaking Choir;

the sponsor of a professional speech journal entitled Good Speech and later called Speech News; the president of the

Speech Fellowship, an association formed to promote speech training in the schools; a popular lecturer and public

reader; and a successful teacher in the public schools, teacher training colleges, and in her own private studio and

schools in Scotland and England, Gullan’s diverse activities contributed to her lifelong goal, the promotion of speech

training in the schools and the advancement of the spoken word.”




George Fairfull-Smith, May 2024.