Nobel Prize Winners With Fraternity and Sorority Affiliations

Today’s post about Nobel Prize winners with Greek-Letter Organization affiliation is thanks to the research of Ashley Martin, Director of Communications at Delta Upsilon.

Ashley’s career in fraternity communications began at Zeta Tau Alpha where she spent seven years. She had a short stint at Delta Sigma Phi before being hired by DU. She served as President of the Fraternity Communications Association, 2013-2015. In 2016, she was  awarded the Marilyn Simpson Ford Distinguished Service Award. The award is named for the long-time editor of the Arrow of Pi Beta Phi. How fitting that Martin is an alumna of the Butler University chapter of Pi Phi. 

The awardees are in alphabetical order, with the category and year of award, followed by GLO affiliation.

Luis Walter Alvarez, Physics, 1968, Phi Gamma Delta

Christian B. Anfinsen, Chemistry, 1972, Delta Upsilon

Kenneth  Arrow, Economics, 1972, Sigma Phi Epsilon

John  Bardeen, Physics, 1956, Zeta Psi

John  Bardeen, Physics, 1972, Zeta Psi

Barry Barish, Physics, 2017, Sigma Alpha Mu

George Wells Beadle, 1958, Physiology/Medicine, FarmHouse

Michael Bishop, Medicine, 1989, Lambda Chi Alpha

Norman E. Borlaug, Peace, 1970, Alpha Gamma Rho

Ken  Brockman, Peace, 2005, Tau Kappa Epsilon, UN IAEA award

Pearl S. Buck, Literature, 1938, Kappa Delta

Owen  Chamberlain, Physics, 1959, Theta Chi

Donald J. Cram, Chemistry, 1987, Lambda Chi Alpha

Charles Gates Dawes, Peace, 1925, Delta Upsilon

Bob Dylan, Literature, 2016, Sigma Alpha Mu – almost (lived in the house and accepted the bid, but was never initiated)

Robert F. Engle III, Economics, 2003, Beta Theta Pi

John Franklin Enders, Medicine, 1954, Delta Kappa Epsilon

William Faulkner, Literature, 1949, Sigma Alpha Epsilon

William Alfred Fowler, Physics, 1983, Tau Kappa Epsilon

Robert Horvitz, Medicine, 2002, Alpha Epsilon Pi

John St. Clair Kilby, Physics, 2000, Acacia (honorary)

Martin Luther King, Jr., Peace, 1964, Alpha Phi Alpha

Paul Lauterbur, Medicine, 2003, Phi Kappa Tau

George C. Marshall, Peace, 1953, Kappa Alpha Order

Stanford Moore, Chemistry, 1972, Phi Kappa Sigma

Toni Morrison, Literature, 1993, Alpha Kappa Alpha

Dale Mortensen, Economics, 2010, Beta Theta Pi

Kerry B. Mullis, Chemistry, 1993, Sigma Chi

Marshall W. Nirenberg, Medicine, 1968, Pi Lambda Phi

Linus Pauling, Chemistry, 1954, Delta Upsilon

Linus Pauling, Peace, 1962, Delta Upsilon

Lester Bowles Pearson, Peace, 1957, Delta Upsilon

Edward C. Prescott, Economics, 2004, Delta Upsilon

Stanley B. Prusiner, Medicine, 1997, Alpha Epsilon Pi

Edward Mills Purcell, Physics, 1952, Phi Kappa Sigma

Adam G. Riess, Physics, 2011, Phi Delta Theta

Frederick Chapman Robbins, Medicine, 1954, Phi Gamma Delta

Theodore Roosevelt, Peace, 1906, Delta Kappa Epsilon

Elihu Root, Peace, 1912, Sigma Phi Society

Francis Peyton Rous, Medicine, 1966, Phi Kappa Psi

Juan Manuel Santos, Peace, 2016, Delta Upsilon

William F. Sharpe, Economics, 1990, Theta Xi

Thomas A. Steitz, Chemistry, 2009, Delta Tau Delta

George H. Whipple, Medicine, 1934, Beta Theta Pi

Woodrow Wilson, Peace, 1919, Phi Kappa Psi

Woodrow Wilson, Phi Kappa Psi

Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged | Leave a comment

GLO Thoughts on a Rainy Day

I started thinking about writing a post about three hours ago. It’s the first day in weeks, maybe months, where I have sat at my desk and done nothing. It’s raining hard and by now I would have been on one long walk with the dogs, but neither of them is willing to venture out in a downpour. I’ve been thinking about a heartfelt sympathy note I received and the memorial service we had for a dear uncle last week and the loss of a Pi Phi friend earlier this month, and the birth of a grand-niece on Valentine’s Day.

Today, someone on twitter posted my least favorite graphic – the “Truth about Greek Life,” except that it isn’t. As Abe Lincoln said, “Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.”

And then I opened my copy of the 20th edition of Baird’s Manual of American College Fraternities to do some research. In it is a note written in 1987 by my dear Alpha Gamma Delta friend Nann Blaine Hilyard. She is also a P.E.O. and the reason that I am a P.E.O. today. Funny how life works.

A note written in 1987. It lives in my 1990 edition of Baird’s Manual.

Nann is always sharing info with me. In fact, she has supplied the name of the first woman I will profile for my #amazingsororitywomen series in March. She was reading a book (she is an avid quilter and reader ) and came across the fact that the book’s subject was a sorority member. Her note sent me on a quest to find out which organization it was. Come back on March 1 to see who I am profiling.

This week Nann also sent me this GLO humor cartoon and a link to an eBay auction. The auction was for an Alice Bird Babb spoon. She asked if there were six other spoons in the set, for the other P.E.O. founders. My answer was that I did not think so. I am fairly certain that Alice Babb was the only founder immortalized in sterling silver spoons.

A 1903 ad from the P.E.O. Record. The spoon has a likeness of Alice Bird Babb on it.

Posted in Fran Favorite | Leave a comment

Was Abe Lincoln a Fraternity Man? A Question on Presidents’ Day

Was Abraham Lincoln in a fraternity? The answer is no. Lincoln did not attend college. One could be a lawyer in those days, 150+ years ago, by reading the law. That is what Lincoln did. Given that the Civil War was raging and the American fraternity system, still in its infancy, was at a virtual standstill during the war, honorary membership was not offered to him. Perhaps he would have been asked by one of the fraternities after the war’s end, but Lincoln died and that possibility became moot.

Beta Theta Pi claims two men who had direct ties to Lincoln, according to these posts which appeared on Beta’s facebook page:

Schuyler Colfax, DePauw 1854, was an energetic campaigner against slavery and helped found the Republican Party. He was, thus, a dear friend to President Lincoln. Colfax, the eventual vice president to Ulysses S. Grant, was the Speaker of the House during the latter half and end of the Civil War. He was sought after often by the wartime president for counsel, and as a Lincoln biographer noted, “The president rarely took any step affecting the interests of the nation without making his intentions known to and consulting with Mr. Colfax.” In fact...As Speaker of the House, it was Colfax who announced the final tally of the vote on the 13th amendment, thereby abolishing slavery. His voice shaking, ‘On the passage of the Joint Resolution to amend the Constitution of the United States (which required a constitutional majority of two-thirds affirmative), the ayes have 119, and the noes 56.’ Colfax and his wife were invited by Lincoln to join him in the presidential box on the fateful evening of his assassination. They couldn’t attend as they were heading to California, to which the president said, ‘How I would rejoice to make that trip, but public duties chain me down here, and I can only envy you its pleasures.’ It was the last time the two ever spoke.

2. Beta Founder and successful attorney John Reily Knox, Miami 1839, was part of the Electoral College when Lincoln ran for president in 1860 and, as such, cast his vote for Lincoln in the quest for his first term in office.

This bust of Abraham Lincoln resides in Morris Library on the Southern Illinois University campus in Carbondale. It is a copy of one sculpted in 1908 by Gutzon Borglum. The original marble bust is in the crypt of the U.S. Capitol.

This bust of Abraham Lincoln in Morris Library on the Southern Illinois University campus in Carbondale. It is a copy of one sculpted in 1908 by Gutzon Borglum. The original marble bust is in the crypt of the U.S. Capitol. (Photo courtesy of Morris Library)


Fraternity men who have served as President of the United States

Thomas Jefferson, Flat Hat Club (F.H.C. Society), College of William and Mary*

Rutherford B. Hayes, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Honorary member

James Garfield, Delta Upsilon, Williams College

Chester Arthur, Psi Upsilon, Union College

Grover Cleveland, Sigma Chi, Honorary member

Benjamin Harrison, Phi Delta Theta, Miami University and Delta Chi, University of Michigan

William McKinley, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Mount Union College

Theodore Roosevelt, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Delta Phi, Harvard University

William Howard Taft, Psi Upsilon, Yale University

Woodrow Wilson, Phi Kappa Psi, University of Virginia

Calvin Coolidge, Phi Gamma Delta, Amherst College

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alpha Delta Phi, Harvard University**

Harry S Truman, Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Delta Gamma, Honorary member

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Tau Epsilon Phi, Honorary member

John F. Kennedy, Phi Kappa Theta, Honorary member

Gerald R. Ford, Delta Kappa Epsilon, University of Michigan

Ronald Reagan, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Eureka College

George H.W. Bush, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Yale University

Bill Clinton, Phi Beta Sigma, Honorary member***

George W. Bush, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Yale University

The list of Vice Presidents who are fraternity men 


National Panhellenic Conference women who have served as First Lady

Lucy B. Hayes, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Ohio Wesleyan College, Honorary member

Grace Goodhue Coolidge, Pi Beta Phi, University of Vermont, charter member 

Lou Henry Hoover, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Stanford University

Barbara Pierce Bush, Pi Beta Phi, Texas A&M, Alumna initiate (post-White House years)

Laura Welch Bush, Kappa Alpha Theta, Southern Methodist University


National Pan-Hellenic Council women who have served as First Lady

Eleanor Roosevelt, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Honorary member


* The Flat Hat Club was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1750.  It is believed to be the precursor of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, which was established at the same institution in 1776. The modern F.H.C. Society was revived at the College of William and Mary in May, 1972. The Flat Hat is also the name of the college’s student newspaper.

** Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon at Harvard University, also known as the “Dickey Club.” However, the national organization did not recognize the chapter because of the chapter’s stance on dual membership.

*** Bill Clinton became a member of Phi Beta Sigma in 2009, in his post White House years. He became a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a now co-ed service fraternity while at Georgetown University. It was an all-male fraternity when he joined as a college student.

Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Kappa Kappa Gamma and P.E.O.

Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, the Monmouth Duo. were founded at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Pi Phi was founded in 1867 and Kappa in 1870. By the late 1870s, their Alpha Chapters were forced off campus due to anti-fraternity sentiment. That both organizations exist today is an amazing story and one I’ve told on many occasions.

Photo by Melisse Campbell, a Kappa Kappa Gamma

On January 21, 1869, P.E.O. was founded at Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Libbie Brook, one of the founders of I.C. Sorosis, Pi Beta Phi’s name at its founding, enrolled at Iowa Wesleyan with the express purpose of establishing a second chapter of her women’s fraternity. On December 21, 1868, her plan came to fruition. Legend has it that several of a group of seven friends was asked to join Libbie’s group, but they decided to start a society of their own. Those seven women, Hattie Briggs, Franc Roads, Alice Bird, Alice Coffin, Ella Stewart, Mary Allen, and Suela Pearson, settled on the star for their emblem. 

In the early years, the rivalry was intense between those who wore the arrow and those who wore the star. Chapters of both organizations competed for members at Belden’s Seminary in Mount Pleasant, the Jacksonville Female Seminary in Jacksonville, Illinois, the South Iowa Normal School, and Nebraska Methodist College at York.

Those who wore the key of Kappa Kappa Gamma had never been in competition with those who wore the star and therefore there were no memories of any rivalry. In fact, Kappa Kappa Gamma founder Anna (Elizabeth) Willits (Pattee) was a member of P.E.O. Her chapter, Chapter E in Monmouth, was organized on December 6, 1900. Two of the seven charter members of Chapter E had lived in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and two others had heard about P.E.O. from their time living in towns which had chapters. The four met and talked of organizing a P.E.O. chapter.  When the Organizer of P.E.O.’s Supreme Grand Chapter visited the Monmouth women  “there was a terrific electrical storm, rain descended in torrents, the floods came, but this did not dampen the intense interest of these sisters, nor has that interest lessened through the years. Anna Willits Pattee was initiated into P.E.O. sometime after Chapter E’s founding.  She died in 1908 and she was the first member of Chapter E to enter Chapter Eternal. 

Anna Elizabeth Willits (Pattee)

Four years before the founding of P.E.O. Chapter E, Illinois, in Monmouth, this appeared in the November 1896 P.E.O. Record

From the November 1896 P.E.O. Record

When this letter was written, there was only one collegiate chapter of P.E.O. in existence, the chapter at Iowa Wesleyan. In 1902, it became the second chapter of Alpha Xi Delta.

It is also interesting to note that Sue Baker, P.E.O.’s current President of International Chapter, is a Kappa Kappa Gamma. And I would be remiss if I did not offer a shout out to my friend Kylie Towers Smith, Kappa’s Archivist, who is a member of the Ohio State Chapter’s board. She will preside at the Convention of Ohio State Chapter during P.E.O.’s Sesquicentennial year. (Extra points if you know that a Delta Zeta founder was the first President of P.E.O.’s Ohio State Chapter – see the link in the header above for additional posts about the P.E.O. Sisterhood,)

Posted in Kappa Kappa Gamma, P.E.O., Pi Beta Phi | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Fraternity and Sorority Members Competing in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

I know of only a handful of fraternity men and women who are competing  in the 2018 Winter Olympics.  Additions (or corrections) to this list are very welcomed as it isn’t always easy to find this information. To see the list of fraternity men who have won Olympic medals at previous Winter Olympic games.

Sophie Caldwell, Tri Delta (Dartmouth) is competing in cross country skiing.

Julia Marino, Alpha Chi Omega (University of Colorado-Boulder) is competing in snowboarding.

Brita Sigourney, Pi Beta Phi (University of California-Davis) will compete as a freestyler women’s halfpipe.  BRONZE MEDAL WINNER!

In addition, there are Commentators, Journalists, etc. who are on the ground in South Korea.

Christine Brennan, Chi Omega (Northwestern University), USA Today Sports Editor

Savannah Guthrie, Pi Beta Phi (University of Arizona and past P.E.O. Scholar Award winner), NBC commentator

Tom Hammond, Kappa Alpha Order (University of Kentucky), commentator

Todd Hays, Pi Kappa Alpha, (University of Tulsa), coach of the Canadian Bobsled team

Dan Hicks, Sigma Phi Epsilon (University of Arizona), commentator

Samantha Johnson, Delta Zeta, a former chapter president, (Ball State University), intern (former Chapter President)

Hoda Kotb, Delta Delta Delta (Virginia Tech), NBC commentator

Lindsay Wyskowski, Delta Phi Epsilon, Media for U.S. Olympic Committee


Competing in the Para-Olympics

Kendall Gretsch, Alpha Omicron Pi (Washington University), Nordic Skiing

Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged | Comments Off on Fraternity and Sorority Members Competing in the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Playing GLO Catch Up

After I published the last post, I remembered some of the things I meant to include, so technically, I am still playing GLO catch up. Thanks for reading along and indulging.

The minute it was posted, I realized that I forgot to acknowledge cartoonist Mort Walker’s death. Lyn Harris, Chi Omega’s Archivist sent me the photo she snapped while touring Kappa Sigma’s HQ recently. Walker originated the Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois comic strips and his fraternity brothers and experiences often made their way into the comic strip. He served as president of the Kappa Sig chapter at the University of Missouri. A bronze statue of Beetle Bailey is on campus.  

Photo taken by Lyn Harris, Chi Omega’s Archivist on a tour of the Kappa Sigma HQ.


Barry Hinson, Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s basketball coach, is an alumnus of FarmHouse Fraternity. He recently celebrated his 300th career win.


I learned that Carol Coordt, Kappa Delta’s 2nd Alternate NPC Delegate and a reader of his blog has attended every Kappa Delta convention since her first in 1963. She is Kappa Delta’s Sis Mullis or maybe Sis Mullis is Pi Phi’s Carol Coordt. Impressive stats from two impressive women!


The Grammys have come and gone, but this is an interesting tidbit about a Phi Mu alumna.

And yet another interesting tweet about a mother and daughter who share NPC bonds.


Last week at Pi Beta Phi’s College Weekend, I had to smile knowing that the women who were leading the session I sat in on were members of Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Xi Delta. It’s NPC love at its best. And here is another indication of NPC women spreading the love of our organizations.


Hank Nuwer tweeted that February 4 was the  one year anniversary of Tim Piazza’s death at Penn State’s Beta Theta Pi house. Later this month on February 24, it is will mark the 40th anniversary of the death of Chuck Stenzel at the Klan Alpine house at Alfred University. Eileen Stevens turned her grief into making college students aware of the consequences of hazing. If only every new member of every fraternity on every campus had to see the grief and despair of a parent who has lost a child to senseless and dangerous hazing activity then perhaps it would stop. My heart breaks for the parents who are left to pick up the pieces of these unlawful acts.


Over the weekend, I learned that a Pi Phi friend, Julie Geiger (Shannon) Mercer passed away. She was an alumna of the University of Kentucky chapter. We became Pi Phi Directors together in 1993. The world will be a little less bright. Last summer, I drove to Clarksville, Tennessee, for lunch with Julie and two other Pi Phi friends. I am glad I spent six hours in the car. The two hours with Julie and friends was worth every minute. My condolences to her husband Evan and her family and friends.

Julie is on the right in this picture taken in Clarksville in April 2017.

Posted in Fran Favorite | Comments Off on Playing GLO Catch Up

February Barges In – GLO Style

I blinked and January turned in February. This weekend, sorority women are meeting in Atlanta for the Coalition for Collegiate Women’s Leadership (Former SEPC) meeting. It is the largest conference of female undergraduates in the United States. Ginny Carroll, found of the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation tweeted:

Next week, GLO leaders will meet in Indianapolis for AFLV Central. The Association of Fraternal Leadership & Values  stimulates “the growth and development of fraternity/sorority councils, chapters, and members by promoting leadership, educational, and values based experiences and resources for student leaders, their advisors, and the larger fraternal market.” Joe Biden, former Vice President and Syracuse Law School alumnus, will be speaking on Friday, February 9.

And it’s another weekend for GLO sponsored educational forums for their respective members. It’s hard to leave one of these events without being inspired by the crop of current and emerging leaders of our organizations. It is too bad the media can’t meet some of the young men and women attending these events. All too often we are judged by the ones who show dishonor and contempt for our founding values and not by the many who live our values every day.


Condolences to Sigma Chi on the loss of Significant Sig and Order of Constantine Sig Jon Huntsman, Sr., an initiate of the University of Pennsylvania chapter. He attended Penn on a Zellerbach scholarship.


Belated congratulations to Senator Robert Dole, Kappa Sigma, on receiving the Congressional Gold Medal.

It’s good to see the GLO umbrella organizations taking a stance on this issue. More than 100 years ago, three states were seeking to do the same thing. Read about it here as reported by a Delta Tau Delta member.

Yesterday, Alpha Phi members and their friends and relatives were wearing red to support women’s heart health. File under a day late and a dollar short.





Posted in Kappa Sigma, Sigma Chi | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on February Barges In – GLO Style

“Your Chapter Is Not Yours . . . It Is In Your Keeping.”

“People support what they help to create,” and “Your chapter is not yours . . . it is in your keeping,” were two of the gems said by Sarah Ruth “Sis” Mullis, a legend among Pi Phis at the organization’s College Weekend in St. Louis. Her words of wisdom were said during an after-dinner panel discussion between three Grand Presidents. Mary Tatum and current Grand President Paula Shepherd were the other two participants.

I was lucky enough to sit with her during breakfast on Sunday. My daughter, an alumna initiate who is now serving as a chapter advisor, joined us, too. I first met Sis when I was a chapter advisor for the University of Michigan chapter. I found out I was pregnant with said daughter just after that Regional Workshop took place three plus decades ago.

Sis personifies lifelong commitment. She has attended every Pi Phi convention since 1962, shortly after she became a member of the Pi Phi chapter at the University of South Carolina. At that convention, she met Pi Phi legends Amy Burnham Onken and May Lansfield Keller. It was the last convention they attended. She is our link to them. She is a retired pharmacist and throughout her career she served Pi Phi in many capacities. She served her term as Grand President while she was Director of Pharmacy for Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.

While making sure I had correct information about her professional life, I came across a Georgia Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists press release about Sis being awarded the organization’s Service to Society Award for 2012. It read, in part, “The professional accomplishments of this individual are many but it is her personality; her spirit and love of life that resonates with those who have had the fortune to work with her. To know her is to be constantly reminded of the importance of humor in helping us to cope with the many challenges of healthcare and life,” and “She truly cares for people; she inspires us with her outgoing personality; she warms us with her good humor and constant smile; and she leads us by example.” Those two statements are true of her life in Pi Beta Phi and we are blessed to call her one of our own.


Sarah Ruth “Sis” Mullis, a Pi Phi legend (Photo by Erika Michalski)




The mystery of the Art Deco fraternity jewelry has been solved, thanks to my Kappa Alpha Theta archivist friend, Noraleen Young. The bar-pin cost $3.50 in 1932, equivalent to about $60 today.  I also learned that Alpha Delta Pi has one of the items in their collection. 

The tie bar with the Pi Beta Phi crest

A necklace with the Alpha Tau Omega crest.

The 1932 Balfour Blue Book which was printed in black and white.

A close-up of the items

Posted in Alpha Delta Pi, Delta Gamma, Fran Favorite, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on “Your Chapter Is Not Yours . . . It Is In Your Keeping.”

What If @BettieLocke Had Taken the Phi Gam Badge?

When Bettie Locke, the first female enrolled at Indiana Asbury University (now DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and one of five women in her class, was offered a Phi Gamma Delta badge to wear she could have accepted it. The badge would not have come with membership rights and responsibilities nor would it have signified a dating relationship as later tradition would have it.

Had she said “Yes, how kind, thank you,” would Kappa Alpha Theta members be celebrating 148 years of sisterhood today? Maybe, maybe not.

Sometimes it is just one small action that changes everything.

An earlly Kappa Alpha Theta badge (courtesy of Kappa Alpha Theta)

Instead of the badge, the Phi Gamma Delta chapter gave her a silver cake basket, inscribed with the Greek letters “Phi Gamma Delta.”  With encouragement and prodding from her father, a Beta Theta Pi alumnus, and her brother William, a Phi Gamma Delta, Locke made plans to start her own fraternity.  She and Alice Allen, another female in the first coeducational Asbury class, studied Greek, parliamentary law and heraldry with an eye towards founding a fraternity for women.

In late 2016, the family of Carole Cones-Bradfield, great granddaughter of Bettie Locke Hamilton, stopped by Theta’s headquarters a tour. Carole recently passed away, and she generously donated many items to the Theta archive that belonged to her great-grandmother. CEO Betsy Corridan is pictured holding Bettie’s famous Theta cake basket. On the left is Dane Hartley, great-grandson of Bettie Locke, a DePauw alumnus, and a Phi Gamma Delta. He was Carole Cones-Bradfield’s cousin. On the right is Landis Bradfield, Carole’s husband.

On January 27, 1870, 148 years ago today, Locke stood before a mirror and repeated the words of the Kappa Alpha Theta initiation vow she had written.  She then initiated Alice Olive Allen, Bettie Tipton, and Hannah Fitch.  Five weeks later, Mary Stevenson, a freshman, joined the group.  Badges larger than the current Kappa Alpha Theta badges were painstakingly designed by the founders and made by Fred Newman, a New York jeweler.  Contrary to popular belief the badge was not patterned after a kite. The original badge was intended to be “something near enough to the Phi Gamma Delta badge to suit Betty Locke and yet slenderized to give it individually,” according to the 1956 history of the organization.  The badges were first worn to chapel services by the members of Kappa Alpha Theta on March 14, 1870.

Years later, an Alpha chapter member, Edna Rising wrote of visiting Olive Allen, in whose home two of the Theta founders lived.  Allen related that some male students did not want the females to enter any student activity and daubed mud on chapel seats, hung hoop skirts over the lights, and put silly signs up on campus.

Kappa Alpha Theta’s extension was quick.  Locke’s father had a friend who was a trustee at Indiana University in Bloomington.  The friend had a daughter, Minnie Hannamon, who was college age.  In April, a letter was written to Hannamon, and Locke visited Bloomington in early May.  On May 18, 1870, Locke installed Kappa Alpha Theta at Indiana University with the initiation of the three charter members, Hannamon, Lizzie Hunter and Lizzie Harbinson.  

The next three chapters were short-lived.  In December of 1870, a chapter was established at Cincinnati Wesleyan University, an experiment that only lasted six months. A chapter at Millersburg College, a women’s college in Kentucky lasted from April 13, 1871, through January 22, 1872, and one at Moore’s Hill College in Indiana lasted five years.  

Northwestern Christian College, today known as Butler University, became home to the Indiana Delta chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta on February 27, 1874.  When Kappa Alpha Theta changed the naming system of chapters, it became the Gamma chapter.  Two members of the chapter at Indiana University, assisted in the formation of the chapter.  The chapter was inactive from February 25, 1886 through November 3, 1906.

The Epsilon chapter at Wooster College was known as Ohio Alpha when it was chartered on May 12, 1875.  The chapter ceased to exist in 1913 when the college administration ordered all the fraternities to close.

The four Kappa Alpha Theta Founders


Posted in DePauw University, Fran Favorite, Kappa Alpha Theta, Phi Gamma Delta | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on What If @BettieLocke Had Taken the Phi Gam Badge?

Help Needed to Solve a Jewelry Mystery

Two tie bar pins, 400 miles apart. One is in the Pi Beta Phi Archives in St. Louis. The other is in Columbus, Ohio in the Delta Gamma’s Frances Lewis Stevenson Archives.

The Delta Gamma tie bar also has a matching necklace.

Little is known about who sold these tie bars and if other designs were available. Was it perhaps a Balfour design? Was it one of the tie-bar convention favors Lloyd G. Balfour provided to the GLOs who were his clients? In a pre-Etsy world, was it something a lone jeweler sold to members in a selected area?

The tie bar with the Pi Beta Phi crest

Another archivist friend sent me this picture of a similar necklace with an Alpha Tau Omega crest on it. She added, “Do you think that these items were marketed as favors for guests at formals? Hence, the women’s crests on the tie bars, and the men’s crest on the necklace.” Maybe that’s it!

A necklace with the Alpha Tau Omega crest.

A friend who is knowledgable about antiques sent this message: 

Fran – these geometrically themed necklaces/tie bars were made during the Art Deco period, circa 1930s. The silver and colored enamel versions were often imported from Czechoslovakia. Jewelers could purchase them in bulk and then customized them by attaching various crests and other organization logos. (These crests very well could have been made by Balfour.)

Another reader sent this note:

I’ve definitely seen these in various jeweler catalogues including Balfour. Stock base, upon which you ordered your choice of coat of arms.

The mystery of the Art Deco fraternity jewelry has been solved, thanks to my Kappa Alpha Theta archivist friend, Noraleen Young. The bar-pin cost $3.50 in 1932, equivalent to about $60 today.  I also learned that Alpha Delta Pi has one of the items in their collection. 

The 1932 Balfour Blue Book which was printed in black and white.

A close-up of the items




Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Help Needed to Solve a Jewelry Mystery