The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest

The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on the NASSP National Advisory List of Contests and Activities for 2014-2015.


NASSP Student Contests and Activities Page



The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest is open to all students attending home schools, public, parochial, or private high schools who are in their freshman, sophomore, junior or senior (grades 9 through 12) year of study.

History of The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Oration Contest

In 1945 an Ohio SAR member, Douglass G. High, originated this creative exercise in a Cincinnati Senior High.  Two years later the NSSAR assumed National sponsorship.  Douglass G. High passed away in 1952.  In 1953 the National Society attached his name to the contest title as a memorial.   He was the first Chairman on the NSSAR Oration Committee, serving in this capacity for five years.

In honor of a Florida SAR member, this Oratorical event was renamed the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Oration Contest.  For many years this Compatriot has shown an active interest in the welfare of youth and has been a creative promoter of this contest.  The contest is designed to explore the influence of the Revolutionary war on present day America.


Purpose Of The National Contest

The preliminary rounds of the contest are held by Chapters and/or State Societies of the Sons of the American Revolution to select one winner from each participating state.  In regions (SAR Districts) where no State Society sponsors an entrant, an SAR District entry is permitted.  Prizes may be awarded to winners of Chapter and State Society (or District) competitions.  The State or District sponsor is responsible for informing the contestant how expenses of competing at the National Level will be made.  For example, travel, hotel for two evenings and meal expense.

The National Society competition between State Society winners is held during the NSSAR's National Congress in June/July.


The National Rumbaugh Orations Committee is currently attempting to raise the level of scholarship awards for our national winners.  Please consider contributing to the Orations endowment by accessing the fillable form "The Dr. Joseph Warren Medal".  Our youth thank you for giving them this increased opportunity for education.  You can download the form here.


Rules of the Rumbaugh Oration Contest

For further information about the contest, do one of the following

See a list of our Previous National Winners

Official Rules of the The Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest

  1. The contest will be held in preliminary round(s) by state societies and/or chapters of the Sons of the American Revolution to select one winner from each participating state.  In districts where no state society sponsors an entrant, a district entry is permitted.  Each participating state society or district should provide information regarding the contest to senior high school, parochial, private and home-schooled speech and/or history teachers and principals or counselors as early as possible.
  2. The contest is open to all students of the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes (Grades 9 - 12) in the public, parochial, private and home schools within the jurisdiction of the sponsoring state society or district.
  3. The oration must be original of not less than five minutes or more than six minutes.  The subject shall deal with an event, personality, or document pertaining to the Revolutionary War and show a relationship to America today.  The oration must be essentially the same as the submitted manuscript.   Notes and props (including military uniforms) may not be used in the presentation.
  4. The state society or district establishes the date and deadlines for its contest allowing adequate time to submit its winner as an entrant in the national competition.  (Four weeks before the start of NSSAR Congress)   Form A & B, which can be found below, (National) must be received by the National Chairman by the deadline.
  5. Before the chapter winner competes in the state contest, a copy of the oration, a photograph and biographical sketch of the entrant, and the completed Form B should be mailed to the state chairman following the chapter contest.  Form A (State) will be sent by the Chapter Chairman to the State Chairman.
  6. At Congress the NSSAR will furnish awards and give recognition to all orators who participate in the national preliminary and final contests.
  7. Expenses involving lodging, meals, and transportation to, at, and from the NSSAR Congress may be borne by the sponsoring state society or district.   Chaperon for the entrant may be provided by the state society or district.
  8. During the presentation of orations at chapter, state-district, or national contest, no applause is permitted until all orators have finished speaking.
  9. During the contest, no private videotaping or flash picture taking will be allowed.
  10. By action of the 1985 Congress, all judges in the Joseph S. Rumbaugh Historical Oration Contest must be members of the SAR.  The judges will sel