CELEBRATE THE CENTURY
The Centennial History of Alpha Omicron Pi 1897-1997
.dedicated to all who now are,
or may ever be in time to come,
sworn members of this fraternity...
Editor Virginia (Ginger) Anne Banks. Pi Kappa Art Director Mary McCammon Williams, Phi Historian and Archivist Nancy Moyer McCain, Rho
Research Assistant/Archives Coordinator Colleen Lynn Caban, Rho Omicron Celebrate the Century Book Chairman: Marion Grassmuck Clouse, Chi
Editorial Assistant: Mariellen Perkinson Sasseen, Alpha Delta
Writers: Edith Huntington Anderson, Beta Phi; Marion Grassmuck Clouse, Chi; Elizabeth Romine Coffey, Chi Lambda; Margaret (Peg) Kramer Crawford, Iota; Wilma Smith Leland, Tau; Nancy Moyer McCain, Rho; Mary Louise Filer Roller, Alpha Pi; Kay Hansen Sutherlin, Theta
Editor Emeritus: Carolyn Huey Harris. Lambda Sigma
Celebrate the Century Book Coordinator: Margaret (Peg) Kramer Crawford, Iota Executive Director Melanie Nixon Doyle, Lambda Sigma
Centennial Celebration Committee Chairman: Nancy Anderson Clark. Rho
The profile of Jessie Wallace Hughan, Alpha, is excerpted from a comprehensive biography written and copyrighted by Wilma Smith Leland, Tau. We thank Wilma's daughter, Nancy A. Po- land, Kappa, for permission to reprint parts of the biography and for assistance in preparing it for publication here.
"The History of Alpha Omicron Pi by the Grand Historian" by Stella George Stern Perry is reprinted from To Dragma, Summer 1973.
Much of the information contained in the section "1896-1899" was taken from "An Early History of Barnard College" (To Dragma. Sum- mer 1995) by Nancy Moyer McCain, Rho.
Sara Blane Cotham, Chi Lambda
Jeanne Hays Crippin, Beta Lambda
Donna Hare Cunningham, Gamma Delta Nancy Beasley Curtis, Kappa
Ruth Young Davis, Theta
Georgia Peterson DeClark, Sigma Iota
Mary Brooksbank Denny. Theta
Jane Batterson Dickman, Rho
Jacquelyn Struble Dinwiddie, Epsilon Alpha Virginia Callison Dolan, Upsilon
Margaret Taylor Doms, Eta
Rose Rosapepe D'Orazio, Phi Lambda
Sally Huck Drea, Sigma Lambda
Elise Simpson Einselen, Phi Lambda
Susan D. Elder, Beta Gamma
Elaine DeFrances Ellis, Alpha Omicron Florence Dodge Ennis, Kappa Alpha Mary-Alice Burch Fizer. Beta Theta
Janet West Friedrich, Nu Sigma
Phylis Scales Garrison, Delta Delta Carol Taylor Gaub, Beta Rho Evelyn Carol Gaudutis, Nu Iota Mary Ann Gentry, Zeta Psi Beatrice Barron Gould, Chi
Cathy Ann Bankston Guider, Tau Delta Margeret Hennings Hage. Omega Imogene Bratton Harper, Nu Omicron Martha Leonard Harrison, Lambda Sigma Juanita Sakajian Haugen, Nu Lambda Jean Lave Hawley, Theta
Barbara Doering Healy, Iota
Jo Beth Walling Heflin, Pi Kappa
Maureen Murphy Hergert, Zeta
Marilyn Rose Herman, Upsilon
Denise Camp Herrick, Sigma Chi
Audrey Hoenshell Hopkins, Upsilon
Mary Lou Niedenthal Huber, Kappa Kappa Barbara Daugs Hunt, Phi Delta
Rita Conway Hurtt, Kappa Alpha
Lenelle Jenkins Jackson, Gamma Delta
Kathylene Howard Jenson, Gamma Tau Ann Jetter Jones, Kappa Omicron
Janet Taverner Juckett, Theta
Carmel Gabriele Kaiser, Psi
Geraldine Martindale King, Omega Omicron Beverly Hatcher Kirby. Theta Psi
Lois Kober Klotz, Chi
Lucie Meyer Kreidler. lota
Kimberly Allgaier Kreth, Chi Alpha Caryl Waller Krueger. Rho
Debby Babuska Kruger, Theta Pi Dorothy Kish Kurras. Alpha Pi Barbara Card Lansford, Alpha Pi Jessie McAdam Lamed, Tau
Barbara Cash LaVelle, Theta Gwendolyn Everetts Lee, Rho Gertrude McCanne Lev, Upsilon Susan Edmunds Lewis, Tau Delta Linda Brownfield Liermann, Iota Barbara Bierer l>ong, Alpha Rho Audrey Herbster Lueth, Gamma Iota Jo Ann Macander, Sigma Iota
Joan Deathe MacCallum, Kappa Phi Eleanore Dietrich MacCurdy, Iota Alpha Elaine Nelson MacKenzie, Nu Iota
Jean Hiler Maroder. Lambda
Tracy Lynn Maxwell, Alpha Chi
Elaine Ockajik McCraney, Theta Psi Paula Thorne McCutchan, Kappa Kappa
Donna Johnson McGinnis, Alpha Gamma Mary Ruth Whiteley McKnight. Beta Phi Ada Jo Starling Miller, Alpha Pi
Patricia Jacobs Mottweiler, Theta
Mildred Milam Murphy, Nu Omicron JoAnne Nelson Nowak. Beta Gamma Louise Benton Oliver, Upsilon Charlene Brown Potter, Beta Gamma
Kitty St. John Pettus. Nu Beta
Jennifer Qualey Roberts, Gamma Omicron Martha Sawyer Rust, Phi Omicron
Julie Hansen Scherer, Upsilon
Martha Hennemuth Schroeder, Sigma Rho Elizabeth Gordy Schulz, Gamma Omicron Virginia Krupa Shaw, Phi Lambda
Leona Hering Shawver, Theta Eta
Joan Piper Shepherd, Sigma Rho
Fadwa Haney Skaff. Theta Psi
Amy Spagnole, Chi
Dorothy Weir Stalker, Kappa Phi Susan Stechley Stelzer, Zeta Marjorie Ann Stevens. Beta Kappa Sandra Stevens, Beta Lambda Jennifer Rebecca Stewart, Theta Psi Margaret Francis Stillwell, Theta Eta Alverna Ocker Swan, Upsilon
Roberta Exley Swenson, Upsilon
Sandra Nellis Thiesen, Alpha Sigma
Mary Mitchell Thomas, Kappa Gamma
Sally McCurry Thorniley, Theta
Glenna Hammond Timmons, Kappa Alpha Karen Fiddelke Towel 1, Alpha Chi
Patricia Maslac Vallandigham, Alpha Gamma Kimberly Ferri Watkins, Gamma Omicron Phyllis Arner Westerman, Rho
Kristen Van Peenan Wild, Delta Upsilon Wendy Witham Wilkerson, Gamma
Dorothy Waters Williams, Lambda Sigma Lisa Powell Williams, Beta Lambda Marguerite Fontanella Wiltse, Chi
Dawn Osborn Wright. Theta Psi
Robin Mansfield Wright, Gamma Delta
Katherine Graham Young, Rho Rebecca Shipley Ziga, Chi Lambda
Rebecca Lea Brown, Delta Delta
Mary Ann Rice Caldwell, Tau Omicron Sandra Marchetti Click, Nu Omicron Linda Davis Fuson, Omicron
Ann Conlon Griesmer, Gamma Alpha Patricia Ann Helland, Rho Omicron
Ruth McClurg Brown, Beta Theta
Dorothy Bruniga Dean, Rho
Mary "Dee" Danielson Drummond, Alpha Phi Alice Foote Gwynn. Chi
Ruth Lee Leichtamer, Theta Psi
Katrina Overall McDonald, Nu Omicron
Special Thanks to Ron Williams and Ginger Crowe of Williams & Canady Printing Company
©1997 Alpha Omicron Pi
Printed by Williams & Canady Printing Company 1506 Hardeman Avenue. Macon. Georgia 31201
The " A O n Jewelry" section originally peared as "A History of A O n Jewelry" Dragma, Summer 1994) by Nancy Anderson Clark, Rho, and Colleen Lynn Caban, Rho Omicron.
Alpha Omicron Pi thanks the following volun- teers who worked on Celebrate the Century:
Norma Marshall Ackel. Kappa Theta Alice Rath Aderman. Theta Psi Shirley MacLean Aiken, Omega Joyce Vietzke Allen, Theta
Wanda Lawson Anderson, Theta Psi Beryl E. Arbit, Kappa Theta
Lisa Zaccagnini Bariso. Gamma Upsilon Karen Elizabeth Basey, Lambda Omega Marianna Hahl Beers. Theta
Sandra Burns, Beta Epsilon
Nancy Perry Bowers, Nu Omicron
Dixie Peters Bradshaw, Chi Omicron Janirae Linebaugh Callaway, Omicron Katherine Davis Carter, Theta
Nancy McGrew Coats, Theta
Anne Rubeck Cole, Phi Lambda
Linda Peters Collier, Chi Omicron
Janet Pierce Conway, Alpha Tau
Virginia Sprietsma Coolidge, Kappa Rho Mia Michele Costic, Delta
Dear Sisters in Alpha Omicron Pi,
As we join together to celebrate the first century of our sisterhood, we ask that each member of our Fraternity consider what her experience has been as a part of the whole. Whether it be an ongoing participation with the activities of the local chapters, service on the International and other volunteer levels, financial support to the AOII Foundation, or simply wonderful memories of those days gone by... it is your AOII.
Just as a personal birthday brings forth emotions of nostalgia, it also brings thoughts of the future. The dreams you have. The plans you make. The opportunities and challenges which lie ahead.
So it is with AOII. As we Celebrate the Century of our founding, we fondly remember the story of those four young women who climbed a little winding stair into the stackroom of the old Columbia College Library and pledged one another. We remember that Helen. Jess, Stella, and Bess built Alpha Omicron Pi on a solid foundation of friendship, commitment, and loyalty. And most of all, we remember that the philosophy they established in our Ritual is so profound, practical, and enduring, it has not ever been changed. In fact, our philosophy is just as meaningful and useful today as it was 100 years ago. It is gratifying to know that the Founders' dreams for the Fraternity have been realized. In their words, "We wanted a fraternity that would carry on the delightful fellowship and cooperations of college days into the workaday years ahead and do so magnanimously, both in school and afterwards."
In addition to looking back, we also look to the future. We renew our commitments to maintaining our position of leadership in programming for today's woman and those yet to come. We renew our dedication to caring not only for our members in need, but for people outside our sisterhood who benefit from our living AOII's founding principles. And most of all, we renew our adherence to our precepts of mutual commitment and support, service, and fraternity and love.
Though we are not able to return to the edifice of our founding, it matters not. Alpha Omicron Pi is not bricks, mortar or slate. It is women dedicated to the principles set forth by our Founders. The Object of our Fraternity remains unchanged. It is a firm democratic foundation that not only has endured the test of time, but will continue providing us steadfast guidance in the future.
During this time of celebration, we acknowledge the past and reflect on the standards on which we were established. We proudly recognize the countless achievements of individual members, chapters, and the fraternity as a whole. Most importantly, we look toward the future of Alpha Omicron Pi as we carry our principles, goals, and dreams into our second century.
Ann McClanahan Gilchrist International President 1995-1997
International President's Letter 6
Jessie Wallace Hughan 10 Helen St. Clair Mullan 12 Stella George Stern Perry 14 Elizabeth Heywood Wyman 16
The History of Alpha Omicron Pi by the Grand Historian, 1923
Chapter One: Early History, 1897-1898 20 Chapter Two: Beginning National Expansion,
1898-1900 2 4 Chapter Three: First Period of National Growth,
1900-1908 2 7 Chapter Four: Great Period of Organization.
1908-1912 3 3 Chapter Five: Loss of the Mother Chapter,
1913- 1915 3 5 Chapter Six: Rapid Growth and Renewed Idealism, 1914- 1919 39 Chapter Seven: The Present, 1918-1923 45 Chapter Eight: Alumnae Chapters 47
1896-1899 52 1900-1909 60 1910-1919 68 1920-1929 76 1930-1939 86 1940-1949 96 1950-1959 106 1960-1969 116 1970-1979 126 1980-1989 136
AOn in its Second Century
The Collegiate Chapters
Rubies, Roses and Wheat AOn Jewelry
AOn Cares AOFI Shares Philanthropic Projects AOn Foundation
The Presidents Interfraternal Activities
National Panhellenic Conference Delegates
The Executive Boards Editors of To Dragma Central Office/Headquarters
Addresses of Central Offices/Headquarters Executive Directors
Traveling Consultant Staff
The Founders Awards
Stella George Stern Perry Award Elizabeth Heywood Wyman Award Helen St. Clair Mullan Award Jessie Wallace Hughan Award
226 228 230
231 232 2 3 5
236 236 237 240
242 2 4 2 243 243
244 244 244
244 244 244
2 4 8
Table of Contents
Central Office/Headquarters Cooperation Cup Adele K. Hinton Award
Regional Director Award
Muriel T. McKinney Award
"The object of this fraternity shall be to encourage
a spirit of fraternity and love among its members; to stand
at all times for character, dignity, scholarship, and college loyalty; to strive for and support the best interests of the colleges
and universities in which chapters are installed, and in no way to disregard, injure, or sacrifice those interests
for the sake of prestige or advancement of the fraternity or any of its chapters."
DECEMBER 25, 1875 - APRIL 10, 1955
By Wilma Smith Leland
© Wilma Smith Leland
Portraits and written words re-create the presence of people long dead. This is true of Jessie Wallace Hughan. one of the four Founders of Alpha Omicron Pi. We see her first with the four in caps and gowns. She is stand- ing straight and tall. Her shirtwaist has a stiff man's col- lar. Her tie is a man's tie, long and knotted. Her cap sits square on her long hair, not tilted like the others.
There are other pictures. A small close-up picture is mounted on a page of her biography, clipped from a program issued on Alpha Omicron Pi's 50th anniver- sary. Her brown eyes twinkle and her nose seems to be headed for a crusade.
Of her family life Jessie wrote that there was a strong unity within the immediate family and with the large group of cousins and aunts. Her father Samuel Hughan. she wrote, was born in Plymouth, England, of Scottish stock. Her mother Margaret Balieff West was a Brooklynite of North Carolina descent. Her mother was a musician and poet, so there was singing and read- ing as a family group. There was conversation and fam- ily parties.
She graduated from a Staten Island grammar school, P.S.3, New Brighton. She carried off all kinds of medals at graduation. She was Mr. McDonald's problem student, according to Maggie Finch [Jessie's niece]. He was the principal and conferred often with her father about her behavior. She would not stop talking, dis- cussing what she considered right and that Mr. McDonald was wrong. He would shout at her. "Jessie, sit down." She did not sit down then nor later.
After grammar school she went to Northfield Academy in Massachusetts on a scholarship. Evelyn, her older sister, went with her, but was not well and dropped out. Northfield was one of the first girls' boarding schools and was founded by Dwight L. Moody.
After Northfield when she entered Barnard, her three Alpha Omicron Pi sisters knew the Hughan fami-
ly's hospitality. Her father had died in 1896. two years after Jessie had passed entrance examinations and had received a scholarship to Barnard. With her three daughters, Mrs. Hughan had moved to Quincy Street in Brooklyn where she could have boarders.
Jessie could write and did as the historian of the Class of '98. Later her writing was for the causes she believed in and promoted. Curricula at Barnard in the 1890s was based on what President Barnard of nearby Columbia College had considered as proper for young women as for young men. It was he who had petitioned Columbia's board to allow women to enroll in Columbia College. He thought little of so-called "female col- leges." It had been assumed that women's education would be classical. In one report, "President Barnard looks forward to their (women) studying a passage in Homer instead of irregular French verbs." And study Homer in Greek along with the English poets was what members of the Class of '98 did.*
The poem [written by Jessie], "The Regents' Examination," recalls the Columbia library where Jessie had worked on papers for her master's degree in 1899
and again while she studied for her Ph.D. in philosophy at Columbia University's School of Political Science, granted in 1911. It, too, indicates the depth of her knowledge of the classics, her observations of people, and her concern about social issues.
As for AOn, she was Grand Recording Secretary, 1904, Grand Doorkeeper, 1905-1907, and a member of the Rituals and Traditions Committee and the separate
Jewelry Committee from their inception to her death.
In 1907 she assisted Professor Roswell Johnson in work on eugenics. She taught a course in economics at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Science. And she began teaching at George Washington High School in Brooklyn Heights. It was here that a student named Jacob K. Javits, later to become the long-time Senator from New York, had her as a teacher.
In a letter to Carolyn Harris [AOn International President during 1967-1969], Senator Javits, who had been asked about his memories of Jessie, wrote, "It was not a time particularly or felicitous for Socialists, but her character was so high and her motivation so unim- peachable that she was truly beloved by the members of our class and by all who knew her."
Jessie ran for U.S. Senator. That was the year that LaFollette and Wheeler ran for the presidency and vice presidency on a new third ticket, the Progressive Party. Four years later, Jessie's friend, Norman Thomas, would run as a Socialist for the top position.
Marching for one cause or another was common during the Depression. In 1932 the No More War
parade involved 3,000. Jessie was glad that her work was secondary. She had worked alone for so long. Her leaflets and speeches were being widely disseminated. The small violet-bound book of poetry, The Challenge of Mars and Other Verses, was issued that year.
Jessie's work was never too heavy for her to forgo Founders' Day in New York. In 1942, with war being fought, she was looking forward to its end. She and Stella spoke at the luncheon at Beekman Tower [the panhellenic hotel). Bess had moved to Florida.
On Easter Sunday, April 10, 1955, Jessie died at her old home, 171 West Twelfth, New York City. On the obituary page of the Monday, April 11 New York Times, the headline read,
Dr. J. W. Hughan:
A SOCIALIST AIDE
Retired High School Teacher Dies- Party Candidate was a Founder of Sorority
Stella Perry, in the autumn 1955 issue of ToDragma, wrote. "Jessie had no malice; she had all charity."
* Editor's Note: Jessie Wallace Hughan and Helen St. Clair Mullan, both superior students, did not receive their Phi Beta Kappa keys as undergradu- ates. Barnard's Phi Beta Kappa chapter was not installed until 1901, four years after their graduation. The selection of charter members was retroac- tive to include the lfi qualified members of Barnard's first nine classes, which included Jessie and Helen.
JUNE 28, 1877 -JULY 29, 1936
By Nancy Moyer McCain
Helen St. Clair Mullan was a true New Yorker. She was born June 28, 1877 in Manhattan where, save for one year, she lived her entire life. A bright child, Helen's education in the city's public schools included exceptional studies in the system's Normal College and its Classical Department from which she was graduated with honors in 1894.
Helen was a pretty 17-year-old with ash blonde hair, brown eyes, and a charming smile that fall of 1894 when she entered Barnard College as a member of its sixth freshman class. She commuted from her family's home in Harlem to Barnard's one-building campus in lower Manhattan. She was an excellent student special- izing in Greek and Latin. Helen's grades earned sopho- more honors in classics, rhetoric and English composi- tion, and the chemistry prize.
Her extracurricular activities reflect Helen's inter- ests and talents: Literary Society. Dramatic Club, and the Banjo Club, of which she was a founding mem- ber. She loved music and played the violin — the latter rather badly, according to Stella who admitted to covering her head with a pillow to muffle the sound of Helen's practicing! In her junior year, Helen's name is listed as a member of the Board of Editors for the class yearbook. Her first major contri- bution to AOn was the writing of the Constitution and Bylaws.
Helen and Jessie, both superior students, did not receive their Phi Beta Kappa keys as undergraduates. Barnard's Phi Beta Kappa chapter was not installed until 1901, four years after their graduation. The selec- tion of charter members was retroactive to include the 16 qualified members of Barnard's first nine classes which included Helen and Jessie.
Helen had no particular plans for her life after fin- ishing college in June 1898. Certainly studying law had not entered her mind. Her excellent college academic record had not gone unnoticed by a professor who con-
ducted the Women's Law Class lectures at New York University. He sent word to Helen that a scholarship was available for her if she was interested. Helen and another woman tied for the prize. For her share of it, Helen took a scholarship for the first year of law school. Her high grades earned her a full scholarship to com- plete law school. In later years, she admitted to accept- ing the law class lectures scholarship because she had nothing better to do. However, after she met a young lawyer, George Vincent Mullan, the study of law became fascinating for her! They married on June 28, 1899. When she received her law degree in June 1901 and was admitted to the bar later that year, Helen became AOITs first lawyer.
In the late 1890s New York University Law School was one of the few to admit women students. It attract- ed outstanding graduates of eastern women's colleges. These young ladies became Helen's friends whom she
introduced to the Founders and members of Alpha Chapter. The result was AOIl's third chapter, Nu (New York University, New York, New York). In January 1901,
while in her last year of law school, Helen was elected Grand Secretary of Alpha Omicron Pi.
The next few years were busy ones as the Mullans established their own home and she began her law career. She became Grand President in 1905. Her sec- ond major contribution to AOn was the organization of Nu Chapter and the installation of one far western chap- ter, two in the Midwest, and three in New England.
During Helen's last year as AOIT President, both Mullans were busy lawyers. Helen was a partner in a new law firm. In 1909 their first daughter, Georgia, was born and later a second daughter, Janet. Both girls went to Barnard, but neither had the opportunity to be an AOIT. By the time they were in college, all fraterni- ties had been removed from the campus.
By 1912-1913 Helen's community services were significant. They included membership on the advisory committee of the mayors Committee of Markets and appointment to New York City's Board of Education. Also, Helen was President of the Barnard College Alumnae Association.
In the years before World War I Helen was a mem- ber of a prominent law firm. When the United States entered the war and the firm's male lawyers were called to government service. Helen agreed to keep the firm operating until the men returned. Her own war effort included volunteer legal assistance for Liberty Loans, the American Red Cross, and the Draft Board.
After the war Helen established her own law firm. It was during these years Helen served as a Trustee of AOFI's Anniversary Endowment Fund. Also. Helen was elected by Barnard Associate Alumnae to the Barnard College Board of Trustees. George was appointed Justice of the New York State Supreme Court. Helen was the forerunner of the wife-mother-career women of the 1990s.
Helen's life was not without deep sorrow. The November 1913 issue of To Dragma carries the announcement of the birth of James St. Clair Mullan on July 3, 1913. No further mention of the child has been found. In the late months of 1931. George Mullan died at age 59. Helen was 54 and her daughters were in their early 20s.
As a widow, Helen continued to work, devoting an increasing amount of time to her practice. The years took their toll on the lovely Helen. Pictures taken of her at the 1933 AOIT Convention leave no doubt she was not well and that her long final illness had begun. Helen was the first Founder of Alpha Omicron Pi to die, on July 29, 1936, at age 59.
DECEMBER 8, 1877 - NOVEMBER 7, 1956
By Mary Louise Filer Roller
Stella George Stern Perry was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was a pupil in the Southern Academic Institute in that city, from which she was graduated in 1893, valedictorian of her class with the highest gener- al average in the school. She took two or three courses at Sophie Newcomb College before going to New York.
She entered Barnard College in the fall of 1894, the first woman from the Deep South to go to Barnard and the youngest member of the freshman class. Her chief interests were English, Latin, and Romance Languages. She was class poet, art editor of the 1898 Mortarboard (yearbook), and a member of the Literary Society. She organized the Southern Club and also belonged to the Barnard College Chapter of the College Settlements Association, Glee Club, Sans Souci, and Dramatic Club.
After graduating from Barnard, she remained in New York City and did some private tutoring, but devot- ed most of her time to literary works and writing adver- tisements. She contributed poems, stories, and essays to newspapers and magazines. In 1899 she became associated with John Wanamaker Department Store as a writer of advertisements. Later she conducted the advertising department of B. Altman and Co. For a time she ran her own advertising agency. Later she resumed her connection with John Wanamaker and wrote catalogs and booklets issued by the firm.
Stella was married to George Hough Perry in 1906. He had been married previously and had a son of whom she always spoke very highly. Mr.Perry was head of the advertising department of a large department store in New Jersey, where they lived for a time.
Stella was as public-spirited as her father who gave willingly of his time and talents. She was especially interested in issues related to women and children. She held national and state offices in child welfare groups and relief organizations. She served as Secretary of the Consumers League of New Jersey, Chairman of the
Publicity Committee of the New Jersey State Child
Labor Committee, and was appointed by Woodrow Wilson in New Jersey as Volunteer Inspector of Labor for Women and Children. She argued their cases before legislative committees from 1912 through 1915.
When her husband became a Director of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915, she went to California and became Secretary of the joint committee of the San Francisco Child Labor Committee and Juvenile Protective Association. She was a lecturer and organizer for the National and California Councils of Defense during 1917-1918. Later returning to New York, she became a counselor to Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia on child protection. During World War II she was an Air Raid Warden Officer.
It is hard to estimate the service Stella rendered to the fraternity. In the November 1906 issue, the Editor of To Dragma, Jessie Ashley, paid tribute to Stella: "Our
fraternity owes much of its spirit to Stella. Gentle and unobtrusive when it seemed to her that others could do the work as well as she. Stella never imposed herself on us by virtue of her office, but whenever she felt the need of a firm, fearless word, that word was spoken. Whenever she saw the need of a guiding hand, the strong, but gentle hand was at the helm."
Past International President Mary "Dee" Danielson Drummond, Alpha Phi (Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana) spoke at Founders' Day, 1965 at Nu Iota Chapter (Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois). She said of Stella that her gift to the fraterni- ty was friendship. "I feel sure that Stella had a sort of corner on love. Throughout her life she used it as a bridge between divergent people. In other words, she knew that the love she talked about and felt was a potent instrument in a world which badly needs it."
When Stella's husband was asked by the Editor of To Dragma to write something about Stella, this is part of what he said: "Her dominant characteristics are her passion for truth, the intensity of her affections and the permanence of her loyalties. Friendship is as much a part of her being as her breathing and as life-enduring.
But hand in hand with a love for all creation...is a flam- ing hatred for anything resembling deceit, injustice, or cruelty that often becomes highly articulate. This, how- ever, only as to the sin — never the sinner...Add to the above a merry heart, a vast tenderness, and a keen, splendidly trained intellect and you will get some idea of what I, at least, think of her."
Stella was the first President of Alpha Chapter and the first President of Alpha Omicron Pi. She served as Historian for life. She was also a life member of the Rituals. Traditions and Jewelry Committee. Stella had
17 books published. They were chiefly novels, books for juveniles, and works on art. Many of her books are in the A O n archives. She was an illustrator of note because she was good at pen and ink drawings.
Stella was the author of the following books: Go-To- Sleep, \9U\ Melindy, 1912; When Mother Lets Us Act, 1913; The Kind Adventure, 1914; The Sculpture and Murals of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (official handbook), 1915; The Sculpture of the Exposition (with A. Sterling Calder). 1915; All the Children (child labor pageant performed at Panama- Pacific Exposition), 1915; Little Bronze Playfellows, 1915; Clever Mouse, 1916; Angel of Christmas, 1917; The Girls' Nest, 1918; Palmetto, 1920; Come Home, 1923; Barbara of Telegraph Hill, 1925; The Defenders, 1927; Extra Girl, 1929; and Richardson: General
Stella was the last of the Founders to die. She died in her Brooklyn home on November 7, 1956.
APRIL 1. 1877 - AUGUST 30, 1953
By Edith Huntington Anderson
Quiet, sympathetic, kind, unselfish, conscientious and unassuming, utterly devoted to the highest and best, Bess Wyman was the "salt of the earth" type. She was the kind of person, if there were trouble, one would turn to for advice and guidance, as well as consolation.
With rare perception and the absence of vanity. Bess seemed never to consider the outward importance of an office or position. Whether its scope was wide or comparatively limited, if she was able to fill it she did, always with understanding and ability.
Of medium build and coloring, Bess was a woman of the 1890s. Her life was dedicated to the community, but not to any reform or change. She was patient and thoughtful, a lover and servant of young people. Her greatest legacy to Alpha Omicron Pi was her ethical, conscientious life spent entirely in Bloomfield and Glen Ridge, New Jersey, with the family of her brother Arthur.
For the first eight years of her life, Bess spent much of her time with her Grandmother Baldwin. They were very close. Bess's middle name, Heywood, was the maiden name of her great-aunt, Anne Heywood Wilde.
Her niece Rosemary tells the story of her Aunt Bess's life, beginning at the time she graduated from high school. Rosemary Wyman Thibaut wrote a fore- word to "Plain People," an unpublished manuscript written by Elizabeth Heywood Wyman during the winter of 1941. which she spent in Florida.
After her graduation from high school in Bloomfield, New Jersey, Elizabeth Heywood Wyman spent her freshman year at Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts. She was outspoken and miserably homesick away from her beloved neighborhood in which she grew up and lived.
Bess transferred to Barnard College in New York and felt very much at home. She was not adverse to
taking the ferry and horse cars to school, returning each day to her home in Bloomfield. She immediately took an interest in college affairs and became a member of the Banjo Club, Glee Club, Barnard Chorus, Aiai-hui Dramatics Club, Christian Association, and the Arthur Brooks Literary Society, of which she was President in her junior year. Bess was Chairman of the Philan- thropic Committee of the latter during her senior year. She was Secretary of her class during her junior year and a member of the Class Day Committee. It seemed that she had been at Barnard College from the begin- ning of her college days. She was so much at home and so much a part of her surroundings.
Bess never married but lived with her family in the Wyman family home. At the turn of the century most young women planned to teach. There were not many- other occupations open to them. Bess began teaching English in the Bloomfield high school after graduation from Barnard College in 1898. She designed the Department of English and was head of the department for as long as she taught. Besides teaching English, she
also taught some German classes. Bess was one of two women appointed to the Bloomfield Board of Education during that era.
Bess resigned her teaching position to accept the first AOn salaried position as Registrar in 1925. The Central Office was established in her bedroom and she later moved the office into what had been the Wyman parlor. Before long Sara Alice Cullnane, Beta Phi (Indiana University. Bloomington, Indiana), came to Bloomfield as Assistant Registrar. When the Wyman house was sold, the office was moved to a building at 50 Broad Street.
Bess served the fraternity in many ways. She was Grand Treasurer and Chairman of the Fellowship Committee. There were two fellowships: one for a member of AOn given in memory of Ruth Capen Farmer and the other one to a nonmember. She became our 13th National President. Her administra- tion covered the difficult Depression years. She steered the organization wisely and well. It was during her regime that AOn became international by expansion into Canada with a chapter at the University of Toronto, Ontario.
Bess was a writer and Stella believed Bess "paid the price of versatility and did not give as much time to the expression of her talents in writing as she would have done, had not so many other calls been heard." Her largest piece of writing was the story of" Plain People." She also wrote constructive and thoughtful book reviews for papers of such high literary standards as the Book Section of the New York Herald-Tribune and the International Book Review. Bess contributed columns, wise and witty, to the Woman's Page of the Newark Evening News. Several of her plays for children have been published and produced. Other writings
have appeared in the American Girl, the Girl Scout magazine.
Although Bess had not been well during the spring, she attended the biennial convention of AOn held in June 1953 in Memphis, Tennessee. On the second day of the week-long program of ceremonies and meetings, she was stricken with the illness that claimed her life on August 30, 1953. She died at the age of 76 while still active in the service of the young people to whom her life was dedicated.
In the Autumn issue of To Dragma, Stella Perry said: "If only I could call now, as I so often have, 'Bess, advise me how to do this!' It was natural for me and everyone close to her to turn for advice to Bess. She was so wise, so understanding, so balanced in good sense, so inclusive in judgment, so compassionate in the service of other person's thought, so prayerful and high-minded in the stability of her own."
THE HISTORYOF ALPHA OMICRON PI
BY THE GRAND HISTORIAN 1923
I1 FTt By Stella George Stern Perry
Drawing from Alpha Chapter Roll Book, by Stella Perry
/ta/t/rr 0/(<' far/,/ >(,./< ri/ 18,97-18.%
At 343 Madison Avenue in New York City, there stood in the last decade of the last century, a typical brownstone New York residence.
It was deep and narrow. It had a long, narrow dark- ish hall from which there rose a long, narrow darkish stairway. Long and narrow and not very light were its "front and back parlors" and the pantry room under the stairs.
In these lower rooms, brown woodwork added to an effect that was dignified but perhaps a little severe. Certainly it was more practical than beautiful. This impression was not lessened by the furnishings. These were a strange medley of the residential and the insti- tutional. In the front room, long oaken study tables and businesslike wall bookcases disputed dominance with a soft, broad-bosomed velour lounge and a frivolous and
uncertain tea table. In the second room, divided by folding doors from the first, were other plain tables; but on these from noontime to mid-afternoon bowls of soup, sandwiches, and cups of chocolate, served from the pantry room at the end of the hall, disputed the space with textbooks and notebooks.
In the hall, too, the expression of the place was divided between the purely social and the official. Still hung the home-like mirror on its wall but a shelf below it bore theme-boxes, piles of papers, a few books, and other signs of school life. On the opposite wall was a bulletin board, its cork surface plastered with carefully clear notices, fastened with thumbtacks, under glass in a frame. But to offset the austerity of this at the door stood a smiling young mulatto flunky, in livery, all bows and welcoming smiles, the beau ideal of the family retainer.
The upper floors, white as cells but bright with sun- shine, gave the airy, bare feeling of a well-kept hospital. Blackboards marred every wall except those of the offices of administration.
This was the first home of Barnard College. Here were its traditions made. Here was its youth.
For laboratory work the students had to go blocks away, on Fifth Avenue. For library and seminar and some upperclass elective studies, they must walk to Columbia University - of which Barnard was a part - several streets farther up Madison Avenue to where there rose the university's time-worn beautiful halls, pressed upon and close-crowded by the surrounding city.
Now Barnard, with Columbia, stands palatial on the heights above the Hudson; but whatever beauty she has that was builded not with hands was begun in the plain old rooms at 343 Madison Avenue.
Its relation with Columbia gave Barnard a unique place among the women's colleges of the period. It was the first of these that was from the start affiliated as an integral part of a great university, having the same standing academically as the corresponding undergrad- uate school for men, and conferring the degree of the university, not a separate degree for the college. All scholastic standards, including the entrance require- ments, were the same as those for men.
And these were the days of severe and inelastic requirements for entrance. There were no admissions by certificate; and the examinations demanded of every- one included Latin and Greek - Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Xenophon, and Homer -- prose compositions, a modern language, mathematics, history, English composition, and literature.
Few preparatory schools, at the period when Barnard was founded, were ready to meet this test. Therefore the first undergraduates of the new college for women were rather older than college entrants are today; they had had to supplement their high school study with months of special training; some of them had been teachers.
But by the time at which our history opens, the schools and tutors had made ready for the new require- ments. The Class of '98, to which the Founders of Alpha Omicron Pi belonged, was on the whole the first young class, the first class typical of what we know as the modern college girl, to enter Barnard.
These girls entered an atmosphere of rather self- conscious dignity and decorum. Their predecessors, the first classes, knew that the college was on trial, that the eyes of Columbia University - indeed of New York City -- were upon them, were watching the result of giv- ing university life to New York women. They were care- ful therefore to be dutiful, scholastic, "ladylike." They had the new mentality with old-fashioned virtues.
The Class of '98, young girls, fresh from the "prep" schools and high schools, looking not only for higher education but also for college life and all the zest of youthful associations, vibrant with humor and vitality, burst like a small bomb into this quiet background. They were even informed by their elder sisters that their high spirits were unworthy of the dignity and earnestness that were characteristic of Barnard.
They did not feel themselves either undignified or frivolous, however; and indeed, they were neither. But, by that mysterious something that so often brings together in groups, in classes, or in fraternities, those who have the same dispositional complexion, so to speak ~ by that magical attraction of like to like ~ this class had a collective psychology of good fun, good fel- lowship, and a keen intellectual interest that concerned itself more with subjects than with "marks."
Full of initiative and creative energy, this group started most of the traditions of Barnard's present col- lege life. They changed the staid and pretty, old-fash- ioned Barnard Annual, when it came their turn to edit it in Junior Year, into the vivacious and sparkling Mortarboard, which was complimented by the Editor of the Bookman for its wit and charm. The Mortarboard has been published annually ever since and has taken its tone from this first number. The Class of '98 was the first to wear the cap and gown in Barnard's halls. In short, as the Dean Emily lames Smith said of it when she bade goodbye to '98 -- not, some of the members feared, wholly without relief - "After all, though other classes may have gotten more out of Barnard than has Ninety Eight, no class has ever - perhaps none ever will - put more into Barnard."
There was only one fraternity then at Barnard. Kappa Kappa Gamma had come in with one of the ear- liest classes and, as the classes in those first days were small, had established the custom of taking into mem- bership everyone at Barnard. But with the class of '97 this practice had ceased necessarily because the world of Barnard was growing larger.
This was, therefore, the psychological moment for the entrance of another fraternity.
Of course, the other large national fraternities were not blind to this. It is obvious that the group of Founders, or for that matter, any group of representa- tive girls at the young department of Columbia University, could have become a chapter of whatever organization they pleased.
Why then did Jessie Wallace Hughan, Helen St. Clair (Mullan), Stella George Stern (Perry), and Elizabeth Heywood Wyman form a new fraternity instead?
Looking over the field of the activities of Alpha Omicron Pi today, recognizing the solidarity that even alumnae of other organizations have frankly called exceptional, seeing the thousands of women bound in a way that those within the bond must know, if they are at all observant, to be peculiar to themselves, regarding the function of greater value to the world that this ever- increasing army of women is trying to fulfill - is fulfill- ing -- and the turning the thought back to those four school girls who had no prophetic plan, no great vision in proportion to the result, we are forced to a reverent answer. We cannot help believing that they were instruments in a project larger than their purpose.
But what did motivate them at the time? Why did they organize Alpha Omicron Pi rather than take membership in an already established society, surely the easier way?
Partly because the Class of '98 believed in its own inspirations, loved to initiate. Partly because these four
cared so profoundly for one another that they uncon- sciously desired a society based upon original feeling, something peculiar to that deep friendship, something more earnest than a mere social decoration. In facing this great enterprise with the audacity of youth, they may have felt that as Love never faileth, a future on that foundation was assured.
But there were also other reasons.
Since the days of which we write there has come into the world at large and therefore into the college world and therefore again, into the Hellenic world, an impulse of democracy. The entire social outlook in our colleges is better now. though it may still leave much to be improved. At any rate the snobbishness, poor sports- manship, political intrigue, extravagance, and other faults that are sometimes charged today - generally falsely - against men's and women's college fraternities were then frequently true. At least the Founders had met many college men and women who belonged to these groups and had a certain exclusiveness. a childish presumption of superiority, certain distinctions based upon so-called social standing, upon race or religion, upon material possessions, or other mere externals of life. The Founders of Alpha Omicron Pi were afraid of entrusting a bond as precious as their affection to any chance of misrepresentation. They felt that bond to be in itself too great to become absorbed in anything less or less potent, than itself. They wanted to perpetuate that beautiful something that bound the members of the Class of '98; it was the desire that this particular loyalty that motivated them should endure, should bind, and inspire others.
The Class of '98 had a sense of humor. The Founders had a strong love of simplicity. An involved symbolism with shields and multiplicity of jewels and engraved trinkets would have moved them to laughter, would have offended a native hatred of ostentation. They believed in the old American college tradition of "high thinking and porridge" and believed, too, that economy and plainness were a part of that tradition too valuable to be lost in any form of college life that was destined to permanence.
Then, too, it was apparent that many of the older sororities, having been born in the days when women's colleges were scarcely, if at all, more than advanced boarding schools, had on their chapter rolls institu- tions of inferior academic standing and therefore mem- bers who did not have the point of view of the modern college-bred woman. They felt that an intercollegiate organization should be as real an insignium of honor to the college as to the individual.
It is by no means the present intention to imply that these desiderata could not have been found in any existing body or that Alpha Omicron Pi is better than
the rest, except in the hearts of its own members, but the Founders had no assurance of finding elsewhere what they desired; had reason to be fearful that it was not easily to be found.
The only way to be sure was to build for themselves a fraternity in which simplicity and character and good fellowship and high idealism should attempt to become eternalized in a helpful sisterhood, in which narrow discriminations and foolish display should never have a part, a fraternity that should begin in college life as a part of that life and not outside of it and should forever enrich the lives of its members after they left college by securing for them the preservation of college loyalties and friendships in the struggles of the world, of Hellenic standards of grace and beauty and service for- ever.
The Founders believed that the best and highest thing that they found in college life should be the basis of this long union and that nothing else should serve. Upon that platform they were determined to build their society.
To the members of Alpha Omicron Pi it will be obvi- ous they had also and especially the bond of another and still higher purpose.
in 1 1
Old Columbia College Library
Looking back impersonally from the distance of a quarter of a century we see a real courage in the attempt of four undergraduates to launch a new
fraternity upon the waters of the academic world against the rivalry of an entrenched old society and the probable immediate formation -- for the college was growing rapidly ~ of chapters of other old fraternities with power and prestige and many alumnae.
But there is no advantage like the advantage of youth. Age is always trying to protect itself by saying, "I am older than you are," but the best of answers is ever, "Ah, but I am younger than you!" Indeed, the best asset AOn has had, a fundamental reason for its growth and quick ascent, lies in its youth and freedom. It has made its traditions to suit the times and has not had to change or adjust them. It has moved with the most cre- ative power, the power of originality.
Having begun its course on the wave of the new democratic impulse in academic life, it has sailed natu- rally upon the tide.
Being young, the Founders did not have courage because they were not afraid. If they had foreseen the struggles ahead, it may be fit subject for wonder whether they would have begun their undertaking.
Anne Richardson Hall, First Initiate
In the old Columbia College Library, a beautiful, rambling delightfully collegiate place, was a little gallery up a stair, back of the door. Here were the tables detailed to the erudite who were working for their doc- torates, a quiet, monastic, little gallery paradoxically tempting to the frivolous. From this rose another little stair which nobody ever used. It led to the shelves, in an old grey room, amid old grey mullioned Gothic win- dows, where the ancient tomes and old manuscripts, the parchments and vellums, were kept, bound in smooth grey covers like soiled marble. Through the lit- tle windows streams of sunlight, softened and dusty, fell gently to the old grey floor. Under these windows were broad windowseats. In one of these, on a wintery after- noon, when the snow was piled high against the pane and the old glass rattled in the wind, in the lovely pale- ruddy sunset light, the Founders pledged each other.
The Pledge Day of the Founders was December 23, 1896.
On January 2, 1897, Alpha Omicron Pi was formal- ly organized, at the home of Helen St. Clair, all four Founders being present. The constitution in its earliest form was made and accepted, the objects of the frater- nity were discussed and received, the ritual completed and read by each and all. The form of the badge was agreed upon with the gravity that came from the deter- mination, then expressed, that it should be Alpha Omicron Pi's only symbol in the world.
January 2 was officially recognized as the Founders' Day and was so celebrated annually, until it was found to be increasingly inconvenient to hold festivities on that date. It fell in the Christmas holidays or just after- wards. Students had not returned from their vacations or were just returning. Alumnae were already over- whelmed with the festivities and duties of the holiday season. Everybody was tired. Therefore, at the conven- tion it was decided to change the official Founders Day to December 8, this being a day generally convenient and the birthday of one of the Founders.
Barnard College received the new infant fraternity kindly and Kappa Kappa Gamma extended a friendly welcome.
Within a week the Initiation Ritual was used for the first time, Anne Richardson Hall '98 becoming the first initiate of the fraternity and entering into its spirit with ardor and devotion.
As was to be expected, there was timidity, at first, among the students, as to aligning themselves perma- nently with a new and untried fraternity. But the earnestness of the group soon made itself felt and in the end little difficulty was met in securing the members desired. It was not long before the first chapter, Alpha, Barnard College, was flourishing and happy.
It took a prominent place in the social life of the college and exercised good judgment, as it met with good fortune, in securing prominent underclassmen and a post-graduate student of distinction.
1898, the year of the Founders' seniority at Barnard, was an important year in the history of the col- lege and of the university. For then Columbia moved from its beautiful but overcrowded old monastic build- ings, and Barnard moved from its unbeautiful and over- crowded makeshifts ~ dear, nevertheless to the memo- ries of many — uptown to the present more stately man- sions, the serene and impressive halls on the hill beside the Hudson.
Here the chapter had a room with its sign on the door and a successful year. Of course, mistakes were made, even weakness in the support of the highest ideals; but, on the whole, the chapter stood the test of prosperity and growth, justified its earnestness of purpose and its right to be the mother chapter of a fraternity devoted to potent idealisms.
Barnard College graduating class of 1898 (Stella Stern, far left, first row; Helen St. Clair, far left, second row; Jessie Hughan, far left, third row; Elizabeth Wyman was not present)
In June of that year the Founders and the first initiate were graduated.
At the final meeting of the semester, just before Commencement, the members of Alpha Omicron Pi decided that the happy experience at Barnard justified the hope that now other groups otherwhere like-mind- ed, might be willing to unite with them for the objects of their order.
Therefore, the constitution and bylaws were expanded to admit nationalization. It was determined that Alpha Omicron Pi should now become a national fraternity, of which Alpha of Barnard College was designated Mother Chapter.
As one of the Founders, then President, was about to go to New Orleans and knew of conditions at Newcomb College parallel with those that had obtained at Barnard, she was asked to investigate this field and if possible find a group of girls brave and ready to face the same difficulties for the same motives that had suc- ceeded with the Mother Chapter; and under proper con- ditions to institute the second chapter.
The period we are about to consider might well be termed the Period of Faith, not only because of the faith of the first chapters in casting their lot with the new fra- ternity, but also because of the difficulties soon to test the mettle of all the members of Alpha Omicron Pi and try out their fitness to endure, the strength of their devotion to their dream.
The then President of Alpha Omicron Pi, who had gone to New Orleans on the mission mentioned in the last chapter, was a native of that city and had for a few months attended H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College there. It had so chanced that on an occasion in that far past, a sterling and popular classmate, Evelyn Reed, had expressed to her her feeling about the college fraternity situation. This opinion was now remembered as being exactly in harmony with that of the first
members of Alpha Omicron Pi. Therefore, Evelyn Reed was now interviewed as to the wisdom of expansion into Newcomb, the possibility of starting there this new sort of fraternity.
Miss Reed was enthusiastic and helpful and through her the representative of Alpha Omicron Pi was given an early opportunity to meet and as far as possible estimate the strength of character of Katherine Reed, the sister of Evelyn, then in Newcomb, before making her this important proffer.
The story of what followed will be found in fuller detail in the history of Pi Chapter. Enough to say here that Katherine Reed, to whom and her associates too much credit cannot possibly be given -- for they are in effect joint founders of AOn as a national organization -- at once impressed her own beauty and determination of spirit upon the interviewer, at once became ardent with the zeal of AOIT's message. She inspired her friends with the same feeling and the first charter was requested.
This was no light undertaking of the girls at Newcomb.
As there had been at Barnard at the time of the founding but one fraternity, a strongly established national, so there was at Newcomb in 1898. As Barnard had then already entered upon rapid growth, had taken its place as a leader in the intellectual life of women, had become the field of fairest promise for any fraternity, with the eyes of all the national organizations therefore upon it, so had Newcomb.
The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, as it was then known, had developed in a few years from a small institution into a full sisterhood with the men's college of Tulane University of which it is a part. With the highest scholastic standards and academic accom- plishments second to none it combined in 1898, as it still combines, all the grace and charm of the Old South and a standing in the arts unmatched by any institution
not entirely given to creative expression.
Needless to say that Katherine Reed and those who
took fire from her enthusiasm might have applied for a charter, with perfect assurance of success, to any national fraternity they had desired. For they were all, as the President of Newcomb and several of the profes- sors informed the delegate from AOn, young women without any superiors in the life of the college, personal or intellectual.
Instead, they chose to follow the fortunes of this infant organization because they believed in its ideals, found in its simplicity, inclusiveness, and severe respon- sibility something that might bring betterment to the whole Greek world, in its bond something that could not fail to strengthen and give purpose to the ties of affection.
Pi Chapter began its life on September 8, 1898.
After a decade the President of Newcomb thanked the representative of AOn for having installed Pi Chapter and said that it had set an example of honor to all - by that time other nationals had entered Newcomb ~ had served to keep pure, high, and worthy and scholarly the Greek life of that institution.
These points are here stressed because, by the unfortunate banishment of all fraternities from Barnard College, in 1913, the Mother Chapter of AOn has become inactive and it is gratifying and inspiring to know that Pi Chapter has a better right than that given by the mere accident of seniority to head the active chapter roll in her place.
Not many months after this while Pi Chapter was flourishing and fast securing her position at Newcomb, while the first Grand Council was holding meetings full of hope and ambitious plans, threatening clouds began to gather about Alpha Chapter.
Pi Chapter charter members, September 8, 1898
Other fraternities were, as was to be expected, entering Barnard; one new chapter was already installed there. The college was growing beyond the wildest imagination. Already the great new quarters were becoming crowded. Drives for still more buildings were soon to be launched. The rooms that had been assigned to the fraternities were withdrawn from them; they were needed for classrooms. This loss of a home in the growing college, where they could be seen en masse and their identity made known to the newcomers, was more serious to the young fraternity than to either of its chief rivals, who had the power and the advertising, so to speak, of large organizations behind them, one of
them with the additional great advantage of numerous alumnae. The incoming classes were large. Groups and courses were scattered widely over the buildings and even across the street in the Columbia classrooms and library. Everything was growing less intimate. The need of the personal touch, the preservation of the college spirit and traditions was daily more apparent to keep the college from growing institutional and colorless, but the rapidity of its growth made this extremely difficult.
Added to all this, the young fraternity was soon to be made the victim of unethical conduct on the part of one of its rivals, probably through a misunderstanding, though the general condition in fraternity life at Barnard at this nervous time was in danger of deterio-
rating seriously. This danger was happily averted by the broader vision that soon prevailed in all the chapters there, and the good fellowship that continued among them to the end.
But here, for a fleeting period, was the time that tried the soul. Here was a call for all that the new order had of courage, confidence, loyalty, and endurance. Surely, if those who most cherished Alpha Omicron Pi had thought of it at that time in a purely superficial aspect, as a "club," a mere social distinction, the fight would not have seemed worthwhile. But their order was to them a visible ideal, and they had to save it.
It was all the harder, because the members of Alpha Omicron Pi in the class next after the Founders', and therefore, those who had shared with them in all the fervors of that first inspiration and all the labors and tri- umphs of the early days, were being graduated, leaving Barnard. Small wonder that the remaining members of the chapter became alarmed, overwhelmed, felt them- selves unable to cope with the changed conditions, with the odds apparently too great against them.
They became timid. Their lack of trust naturally communicated itself to others, for nothing is more contagious than fear ~ unless it be courage.
A few rejections completed their despair. They thought the chapter could not go on, confessed the fight too difficult even for their devotion. They were grieved but felt defeated. They were compelled, they thought, to surrender. They sent word of this to the Grand Council.
The Grand Council and the two alumnae classes, however, would not accept defeat. They believed in the potency of their purpose. They believed their essential idea unconquerable.
And besides, they had the tremendous responsibili- ty of Pi Chapter down there in New Orleans, uncon- scious of the threatened catastrophe, Pi Chapter suc- cessfully upholding the fraternity's ideals, Pi Chapter which had chosen Alpha Omicron Pi instead of taking the easier path with some already established body. To
disappoint Pi Chapter was unthinkable.
It is hoped that the story about to follow here will
be a stimulus and a staff to all the chapters of AOn at any time when temporary difficulties may beset them, will make them decide to stand fast and go on if ever discouragement threatens. For here might easily have come the end of their fraternity, here it might have died stillborn and alt those years of fine achievement and joyful association might never have been!
The thing that saved was faith.
The Founders were all exceedingly busy women. The first initiate had gone home to Missouri, the newly graduated class was entering into new duties, the sum- mer vacations were beginning, the personnel of the college scattering.
Yet, if new members were ever to be obtained they had to be pledged before the opening of the fall term at Barnard. Seemingly an insurmountable condition, but like all such seemings, the difficulties vanished when they were firmly met.
The officers of the fraternity obtained formal unan- imous permission of the active members of Alpha Chapter to pledge in their name whatever students of Barnard College they should select and could persuade.
It happily so chanced that the classes then at Barnard contained some of the finest girls who had ever attended that institution, since developed into a truly remarkable group of women, and these had joined no fraternity, being displeased with the conditions then prevailing. The active chapter had misinterpreted their attitude, taking it for an objection to fraternities under any conditions.
Now the alumnae did what they could to win these girls. Two of the Founders and Agnes Lillian Dickson of the Class of '99, whose gentle firmness and unceasing labors at this time cannot be overestimated in the memory of AOTI, gave every spare moment of their time and many moments that they could not spare to this one object. Railway journeys were taken, meetings arranged everywhere, innumerable letters were written, with the end of making the girls they wanted feel sure that here was the kind of fraternity to which their eternal fealty could be given without reservation.
The difficulties before those who accepted member- ship were not belittled; but the adventure was shown to be one worthy of the dauntless spirit's undertaking. Almost all accepted the challenge.
Very soon the largest chapter that AOIT ever had, a group of Barnard's most representative girls, keenly enthusiastic, full of ambition and destined straight for success, were initiated with great enthusiasm and pro- found thanksgiving. Among these girls, it may be of interest to state, was Florence Lucas Sanville. author of Alpha Omicron Pi's fraternity hymn, "Once More United."
Alpha Chapter had nothing but humor and success from that time until the end of all fraternity life at Barnard.
The Grand Council now gave renewed attention to the problem of expansion.
Helen St. Clair, who had become Helen St. Clair Mullan, was studying law at New York University. The distinctions that she won, as well as her personality, had made her notable among the men and women at that university. The most interesting women there became her friends. They were, on the whole, older than the undergraduates of most colleges for this was a profes- sional school. Many of them held academic degrees. All were candidates for that of Bachelor of Laws or of Pedagogy.
When they petitioned Alpha Omicron Pi for a chap- ter, becoming the first and for many years the only women's fraternity at New York University, the govern- ing board realized in granting it that a certain source of strength and guidance had come into the future of AOn. But they did not realize, what the event has proved, that through this chapter were entering into the sisterhood for all time some of the most distinguished women in New York and in America.
These, too, took the leap of faith in joining A O n , actually an act of faith in its ideals. For their lives were already full of large interests. It was because of trained breadth of vision and a sense of doing a worthwhile thing that on December 26, 1900, Nu Chapter became the third in the then and thenceforward national frater- nity. Out of Nu Chapter came two influential Grand Presidents, Adelma Burd and Jessie Ashley.
The next decade might be more properly divided into two periods, a short one from 1900 to 1902 and a longer one to 1908.
The two years beginning the 20th century were really preparatory years for the quick national growth soon to follow; really constituted the first period of national organization.
The lives of the three chapters, Alpha, Pi, and Nu, were passed under widely differing conditions and circumstances, both geographical and essential.
The fraternity had to meet for each of them prob- lems as different from those of either of the others as could well be imagined.
Yet it was obvious that the general rules and central decisions must be such as could apply to all.
This difficulty in the early organization, the fact
that the earliest three chapters were each so markedly individual, was fortunate. It compelled the lines of national organization to be simple and elastic and was undoubtedly one of the factors that has kept the gov- ernment of A O n more truly representative, more truly democratic and unencumbered by rules of thumb, more certainly in the hands of the organization as a whole instead of those of cabal, as is not infrequent among fraternities. It has also served to centralize thought and purpose about the ideals and traditions of the fraternity, as these have been its only compulsions.
It was a task of sufficient magnitude, the making of the legislative fabric of the national fraternity, and in its success, the hand of Nu Chapter, was decisive. The trained legal minds of the members of Nu, their habit of cutting straight to the heart of the matter, of eliminat- ing the unnecessary, of framing statements in portable, understandable, and unmistakable words, came just at the psychological moment and made a valuable contribution to the fraternity's career.
In all things Nu made for sanity and firm founda- tions.
Through the interest of Nu and of Alpha at this peri- od the plan for publication of a fraternity magazine was first considered, and not long afterward, in January, the first number of To Dragma appeared under the editor- ship and management of members of Nu Chapter, Helen Hoy (Greeley) serving as first editor, during Adelma Burd's administration as Grand President.
According to what seems to be a law of life, as soon as the fraternity was ready for the larger fields new chapters began to petition it.
During the years of organization just mentioned there also developed among the chapters thorough amalgamation, quietness, and confidence. The point of view of the several chapters and the governing board merged and harmonized more and more.
The ready success of the chapters, their perfect abil- ity to hold, and more than hold, their own in the col- leges where they were placed gave them a calm and security that made for wisdom and patience. One of the points on which chapters and Grand Council were most emphatically determined was that the fraternity would not accept charters except in institutions of the highest type. Many opportunities to enter colleges not quite up to the standard of those where chapters were already installed were ignored. Petitions from such institutions were refused even though other national organizations were established there. The life of the young fraternity was smooth and happy; its usefulness every day more apparent; it felt that it could afford to wait for the respect and recognition of the first-grade universities.
This the event justified.
Soon there began for AOn the first Period of Rapid Growth.
It came in every direction, from every part of the country, giving catholicity and variety.
First, from the South, arrived an encouraging and stimulating compliment, when the Dean and promi- nent members of the faculty of the University of Tennessee [in Knoxville) themselves began correspon- dence with AOn in behalf of a group of girls who had won their esteem and interest. Into the graceful envi- ronment of that fine school the fraternity entered on April 14,1902 with the installation of Omicron Chapter.
The installation of Omicron took place in the home of the Dean, and in this as in all the close relationships between the founders of Omicron Chapter and the uni- versity authorities, there was something prophetic. For Omicron's contribution to the fraternity tradition from the first has been a marked sense of oneness between the chapter and the university. Some years ago
Omicron Chapter charter members. 1902
the chapter historian wrote to the Grand Historian Omicron's attitude in this regard, saying, "The fraterni- ty owes its existence to the college. The college has a right to expect and to claim from the fraternity respon- sibilities and duties. If the fraternity does not or cannot live its ideals and fulfill its obligations to the college, it should be removed as unnecessary."
So high, indeed, did Omicron bring the reputation of the fraternity in the neighborhood that soon after- wards, through the fame and influence of this chapter, a petition was received from Randolph-Macon Woman's
College in Lynchburg, Virginia. In particular. Sally Francis of Omicron interested her cousin Minnie Woodard in her fraternity.
Randolph-Macon had not yet welcomed fraternities, but several were there sub rosa. The faculty appreciat- ed the attitude of Minnie Woodard and her friends who refused to act under cover, but sought open recogni- tion, and, therefore granted their request and helped them to petition AOIT.
On a happy and fortunate day, almost exactly a year after the formation of the sister chapter at Tennessee, on April 13, 1903, Kappa Chapter was installed.
This chapter has not only stood, from the begin- ning, for all that AOn holds dear, but has set an exam- ple to the whole Greek world of unselfish loyalty and devotion both within its own doors and to the fraternity as a whole.
Very soon after the petition was received, corre- spondence with AOn was begun by a circle of 11 prominent students in the University of Nebraska [in Lincoln]. The fraternity had received the breezy first call to "go West" in a real sense, to grow up with the country.
History has no value unless it serves as a guidepost in present and future experience. Sometimes in the life of a fraternity, petitioners for new chapters are con- fronted by local prejudice, based usually upon igno- rance. Perhaps it will serve as a safeguard against such a position if any should ever threaten the expansion of AOn to recall the amusing and amazing fact that at first some fear was felt of the West.
When one regards the acknowledged position today of the great, powerful and ever-growing Western uni- versities, their standing, their tremendous influence upon American life and letters, the sciences and the arts, when one considers the epoch-making discoveries that have come from their laboratories and observato- ries, their contributions to industry, agriculture, to social institutions and to pure and applied philosophy, the importance of their alumni in every aspect of mod- ern civilization, and the ability with which they have combined the broad sweep of the university point of view with the romance and buoyancy of college life, it is
inconceivable that only a decade or two ago the gradu- ates of older Eastern colleges were provincial enough to view them slightly.
Yet it was quite true that the Greek-letter world was afraid 10 years ago of too much Western expansion.
In this, they were afraid of their own continuity; for it is to the West that we may yet owe the permanence of the college fraternity. The Western universities are so truly democratic, so broad and certain of themselves that they have not had to be self-conscious about their democracy as have the more "aristocratic" and narrow
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Eastern sisters. They have needed no protection against themselves, but have in the main freely accepted the fraternity as they have accepted everything else that springs naturally from their life, knowing that a demo- cratic institution will inevitably be the home of democ- ratic clubs, whatever they are called — and vice versa.
From the observation point of the history of Alpha Omicron Pi this ancient fear of the West is particularly ludicrous. The vitality that has come to this order through its vigorous, progressive, efficient, alert, and successful Western chapters, from the constructive zeal with which their members serve untiringly this frater- nity and its purposes, bringing their message vitally into the several communities and colleges, the good sportsmanship with which they play the game of life, academic and general, in and out of this body, the smoothly effective way in which they have made chap- ter homes and managed them, the examples of strong sisterhood that they constantly show, and, finally, the pride with which Alpha Omicron Pi now received on all sides the envious compliment, "You are very strong in the West," should make its members feel a thrill a t
remembering June 5. 1903, the day that the first Western chapter, Zeta of Nebraska, was admitted into the allegiance. Since Zeta has had alumnae, they have always played an important part in the government of Alpha Omicron Pi. Especially to the long years of com- petent and selfless service o f Lulu King Bigelow, Panhellenic Delegate, is the fraternity indebted for her
Panhellenic health, the wise establishment of new chap- ters, and to cautious guidance in finance; to Viola Gray, charter member of Zeta, who did yeoman service a s Editor of To Dragma, as Chairman of New Chapters during a formative period, and as Grand Treasurer of Aon.
There followed four years during which the chief concern of Alpha Omicron Pi was the increase of inter- nal solidarity and the absolute assurance that the prin- ciples upon which the organization was founded were everywhere being emphasized and kept paramount.
Largely because the chapters were consistent to the central policy o f economy, simplicity, scholarship, democracy, usefulness, and freedom from narrow exclu- siveness of any nature, respect and recognition were growing lustily.
Zeta Chapter, 1903
For four years no new chapters were installed, how- ever, although the fraternity was ready for them. This was because, of the several petitions received, some had to be declined as coming from institutions of less than Class A standing academically and others, though from first-grade colleges, because they were not presented by groups of girls of the type responsive to her peculiar point of view, and willing and able to stand fast, work hard, and persist against difficulties without fear of failure.
During these years there had grown to distinction at the University of California [in Berkeley] a local fra- ternity, founded in 1900, known as Alpha Beta Sigma. It had absorbed another local society and had attained a position on its campus that enabled it to compete suc- cessfully with national organizations and attract to its membership many of the most influential girls at California,
This position naturally inspired Alpha Beta Sigma with national ambitions. Some of its members wished to apply for membership in a national fraternity, but
most of them feared that qualities and principles pecu- liar to itself would be endangered by doing so and advised attempting the more difficult task of nationaliz- ing their own body. They were at a deadlock on this point, when through the standing and success of Zeta Chapter, their attention was called to Alpha Omicron Pi.
As soon as negotiations were opened it became apparent to both bodies concerned that here was a true guidance, that very deep resemblances existed between the points of view of Alpha Omicron Pi and Alpha Beta Sigma. That these resemblances were fundamental was visibly indicated when in after years, Isabelle Hender- son, a member of that original group of Alpha Beta Sigma, became Grand President of Alpha Omicron Pi; another, Helen Henry, Grand Secretary; another, Gladys Courtian Britton, Registrar; another, Virginia Esterly, Editor of To Dragma. Indeed, this chapter has been sin- gularly serviceable in National work for the fraternity, which owes much of its recent success in expansion to the wide policy of Rose Gardner Marx of the same body.
Sigma Chapter, University of California, was installed on February 6,1907, and at once entered upon that brilliant career that had brought about the promi- nence of Alpha Omicron Pi on the Pacific Coast and led directly to the foundation of those strong Western chapters that have reflected so much honor upon it.
The admission of Sigma Chapter was of particular value to Zeta, which had for four years stood alone West of the Mississippi.
At about the same time as the California negotia- tions, the President of DePauw University [in Greencastle, Indiana] had done Alpha Omicron Pi the compliment of strongly advising a society at that insti- tution to ask the fraternity for a charter. Four other
national bodies were being considered by the students themselves, but interest in these was dropped when President Hughes suggested that he preferred the presence of Alpha Omicron Pi at DePauw.
The petition was placed with this order.
Action on the part of the fraternity was slow, and the petitioning group showed its stamina by long patience.
The examination by Alpha Omicron Pi was particu- larly cautious and thorough because this chapter, if founded, would be the first branch of the fraternity in the Central States, and the future in that section depended upon its character, Then, too, the group applying was a club, not Greek-letter, and not under Panhellenic restrictions, its active membership was rather larger than was customary. But the careful investigators found that, though large, it was discrimi- nate, that the petitioners stood high in the esteem of their entire community, faculty and student, and had the qualities upon which Alpha Omicron Pi insisted.
The decision to reward their patience and to found Theta was, as all the fraternity world now knows, as for- tunate as it was wise, and has served, exactly as was hoped, to establish a splendid type of chapters of Alpha Omicron Pi throughout that important part of our country.
Theta Chapter was auspiciously installed on August 23, 1907, 10 years after the founding of the fraternity.
The first decade of the national life of Alpha Omicron Pi, was destined to close in a blaze of glory, in an event that gave, especially to the Founders and to all of Alpha Chapter, active and associate, joy and a prophetic thrill of gratitude.
To a fraternity like this one that insists upon enter- ing only colleges of the first estate, expansion in the East is difficult. Vassar, Wellesley, Bryn Mawr, Smith, Radcliffe, and Holyoke admit no fraternities whatever. Some of those institutions that do not admit them are either of lower rank scholastically or have a limited number of women in their student bodies or, for other reasons, are so well supplied with fraternities that the chance for a new one with severe requirements of schol- arship and character is limited. But it is natural for the dwellers in the East and the graduates of Eastern uni- versities to place a traditional and sentimental value upon Eastern educational institutions with their old historical and literary flavor. It is natural and it is just, as well, for the background of these institutions is the basis of American culture and the minds they produce at the best do make a special contribution to mature and graceful thought. This feeling is perhaps particularly keen as regards New England.
Like the confluence of three streams destined for the same eventual channel, a process had been going on for years which was now to enlarge
and enrich the river of the fraternity's life.
Having refused to consider anything second rate,
the fraternity was about to have the very best poured upon her.
In the Fall of 1895, three years after Tufts College |in Medford], M assachusetts, opened its conservative old doors to women students, some of the leaders
among them established there the first "sorority." They called it Alpha Delta Sigma and hoped it would serve to "engender a deeper love of the college among its mem- bers." It had untrammeled choice of members at Tufts
Meanwhile, close at hand up in the beautiful hills of Maine, one of the last strongholds of "plain living and high thinking" in modern America, in the same period during which Alpha Delta Sigma and Delta Sigma had their origin in 1896, the first "sorority" ever organized at the University of Maine, in Orono, had its birth as Phi Gamma, like the others, a local, and like them drawing at will from the best material of the University. Early in 1903, Phi Gamma merged its identity in the New England fraternity, Delta Sigma, taking its place as Gamma Chapter.
Theta Chapter. 1910
and led a rich and dignified life.
In Providence, Rhode Island, at Brown University, at
about the same time, the identical process was in progress. There the women students of leading position in the college life had organized a similar "sorority" almost similarly named. Born under like traditions and with a like background, with a personnel of very like complexion, it was not long before these two serenely successful bodies in neighboring institutions discov- ered each other and their mutual resemblances. In the Spring of 1901 they combined under the title, "The Secret Order of Delta Sigma," Tufts becoming Alpha and Brown, Beta Chapter of that new order.
After a dozen years of life, Delta Sigma decided that a geographically limited field, however pleasant, was too provincial for its growing aims, its increasing strength, and the possibilities of service. It determined to ask admission for its chapters and all their alumnae into a national fraternity. As recipient of this petition they selected Alpha Omicron Pi, a high compliment and a grave responsibility to the national fraternity they chose.
Delta Sigma made its decision to become merged in a national body not without stress and sacrifice; even to the loss of its chapter at Brown; part of the Brown group consented to be initiated into a new fraternity as
alumnae of Beta Chapter, but others withdrew altogether from fraternity life.
So, too, it was not without misgivings that Alpha Omicron Pi consented to amalgamate with a compara- tively large body of alumnae who had not had active experience with her traditions. But upon examination she found these alumnae not only in sympathy and understanding with them, but in many cases predomi- nantly loyal to and enthusiastic about the essential purposes of Alpha Omicron Pi.
What wisdom was followed in taking this step is made clear beyond words when the personnel of those alumnae is considered. They have furnished two Grand Presidents to Alpha Omicron Pi and among their mem- bers have been found some of her greatest factors for success. Our loving gratitude to Ruth Capen Farmer, Grand President from 1910 to 1912, and the aura of beauty with which her memory ever surrounds us can never be fully told; and every member of Alpha Omicron Pi at this writing knows well the constant inspirational, wise and fruitful labors of Lillian MacQuillin McCausland. Grand President from 1919 to 1921. through unbroken years of unstinted service. Of her special work as Grand Treasurer, more should be said as also of the peculiar contribution of Carrie Green
Campbell in guiding candidate-groups toward their charters.
No cold and formal history can fittingly celebrate the friendships born on the days when Delta Sigma was installed into Alpha Omicron Pi, Brown (never active technically, but ever active actually as Providence Alumnae) as Beta Chapter, taking the initial letter of its old allegiance; and Maine keeping, as Gamma Chapter, its former chapter letter, based upon its origin as Phi Gamma Beta, and Delta were initiated with their alumnae on April 13, 1908; Gamma three days later.
A wonderful April and its gifts were not yet all told! For on April 23, 1908, there took place the installa-
Delta Chapter. 1910
tion of one of the foremost groups of girls in one of the greatest of Eastern universities, Epsilon of Cornell [in Ithaca, New York].
It is significant of the thorough nationalization that had by this time taken place in the fraternity that the Cornell Chapter was the result of the zeal of Edith Dupre of Pi Chapter. As a graduate student at Cornell she had recognized in this circle of friends the essen- tials of membership in Alpha Omicron Pi. The years fol- lowing greatly justified the zeal that founded this chap- ter in the New York hills, the child, so to speak, of the chapter in New Orleans.
This nationalistic point of view has persisted among Epsilon alumnae, who. widely scattered throughout the United States, have been strikingly useful in the invigoration of various alumnae chapters, and have maintained at the same time practical contact with their parent chapter at Cornell.
Thus closed the 10 years since, by the establish- ment of Pi Chapter in 1898, Alpha Omicron Pi had become a national fraternity.
In 10 years she found herself blessed with 11 chap- ters, with 12 ifwe include the very important alumnae of Beta, each representative of the highest and best attainments, each worthy, each in an institution of unquestionable rank, and all harmonious. Surely an exceptional record of success!
t i o n Chapter, 1909
The coming of Delta Sigma into Alpha Omicron Pi was of practical as well as sentimental value to the larger fraternity. This became immediately apparent.
Alpha Omicron Pi had been growing so lustily that it had outgrown some of the machinery of its business administration.
The very strength of the fraternity, its insistence upon the things of the spirit, its elasticity of organiza- tion, its emphasis on simplicity and its disregard of material wealth, had in i t the germ of weakness. There was always the danger of an impractical laxness in enforcing obligations to the treasury. In the same way, there was not sufficient rigidity in its demands upon its chapters for reports and other duties of management
In the early days of close personal contacts among chapters and between them and the central board there was no objection to this rather personal manner of gov- ernment. But now with the increased number of chap- ters with a very large and fast growing membership, with the sudden infusion of associate members in both the East and the West, the reins had to be tightened if the fraternity were to continue efficient. The demands upon the treasury were constantly becoming greater and could not be met unless the chapters fulfilled promptly their obligations to it.
Here were serious problems: How to stiffen the organization into efficiency without formalizing the chapter rights and individual rights, the representative form of control that had always been precious. How to insist, even to the point of penalizing the unpunctual, upon the filing of reports and the prompt fulfillment of other duties, without interfering with the spirit of vol- unteer service to Alpha Omicron Pi that has always characterized her members. How to enforce proper acceptance of financial obligations, to make the chap- ters self-respecting and give the central treasury the money needed to support a great organization and enable it to serve with ease the larger purposes it had set before itself, how to do this without making change in a policy of membership in which financial considera- tions were always placed last, in which no one was too poor to have a part. Here was a task that called for constructive executive ability of high order.
This ability was found among members of the newly installed New England chapters. Ruth Capen Farmer's part in the reorganization was first that of Grand Treasurer and then as Grand President. As Grand Treasurer, elected the year after her initiation, she brought firmness and tact to the task of dealing with young women in matters of financial responsibility.
It is no exaggeration to say, as it would be ungrate- ful to fail to state at this point, that the present sound financial standing of Alpha Omicron Pi, its business integrity, the smooth methods of its fiscal system, its power today to do whatever conservative and wise ser- vice its counselors elect, the dignity of the chapters in fulfilling obligations that are never burdensome, are largely due to the labor of years during which as Grand Treasurer of AOn, Lillian MacQuillin McCausland of Beta Chapter lent her special talents to this important problem.
Throughout the five years following the installation of Cornell, while the growth of the fraternity went steadily and well, so did the reconstruction of adminis- trative methods. Ideals were made practical, were put into practice in ways that endured. Stability was established.
In the years 1909 and 1910, two more of the great universities asked and received admission, Northwest- ern [in Evanston], Illinois and Leland Stanford [in Stanford], California.
The history of the founding of Rho Chapter at Northwestern University is a wonderful illustration of the power of an ideal faithfully served to bring about its own fulfillments. There is no attraction so potent as the attraction of simply being sincerely oneself Those find one another without seeking and without advertising.
The splendid chapter of this fraternity now known and loved as "Rho of Alpha 0" came through the unconscious example of Omicron Chapter. Carolyn Piper (Dorr) had been graduated with distinction from Northwestern University. She had refused to consider membership in fraternities during her years at Northwestern because she felt those she knew best to be undemocratic, felt that they were not fulfilling their big opportunity to put "sweetness and light" into the University of Life. But she believed in the principle of fraternities and their power for good. After her gradua- tion she became acquainted with students of the University of Tennessee, among them members of Alpha Omicron Pi. Here, she felt was a different sort of fra- ternity spirit. She did not know, she says, whether Alpha Omicron Pi in general stood for a broad democ- racy and other qualities she desired or not. But it was evident from the conduct of Omicron Chapter that these qualities were not inconsistent with that fraterni- ty, that a chapter based upon their principles could
maintain itself. Therefore she returned for post-gradu- ate work to Northwestern University with the intention of starting there, if possible, a chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi. When this was accomplished, she was pleased to find that the ideals she thought might be peculiar to Omicron Chapter were basic in Alpha Omicron Pi itself.
Rho Chapter was installed on June 11,1909 and has been almost spectacularly prominent for the manner in
which she has lived up to her own sub-motto which requires of her strength within and without her borders.
Rho's influence is felt throughout the fraternity and to her is owed the distinguished service of Merva Dolsen Hennings. who after long and brilliant guidance of the chapter transferred her splendid leadership to the fra- ternity as a whole, first as Grand Secretary and at pre- sent as Grand President.
In Leland Stanford University at this time was a famous club, known as the Walden Club. It had been founded in 1907. its members preferring the club life to that of the fraternities as they understood it. In two years Walden had established itself in the university, liv- ing in its own house on Fraternity Row. being to all practical intents a local fraternity, its members declin- ing initiation into the Greek letter societies and. indeed, "rushing" successfully against them.
Through the friendship between some of its mem- bers of Sigma Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi at Berkeley, interest in this fraternity began. Through the wise cooperation of Sigma both with the petitioners and with the governing board of the fraternity, a charter was asked for and granted. Sigma Chapter, still acting as elder sister and guide, was entrusted with the responsi- bility of installing the new chapter. On November 5,
1910 Walden Club was converted into Lambda Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, becoming the second of those strong chapters that have given this fraternity power in the West where youth and freshness of viewpoint are assets.
Lambda has made a notable stand for democracy and for character as a test of membership and is. in great measure the mother of the robust Alumnae Chap- ter of Los Angeles, from which city many of Lambda's initiates derive. Consistent with their first idea, both Lambda and the Los Angeles Alumnae Chapter have remained simple, sociable, "clubby." useful without self-consciousness or ostentation, in this an unanswer- able argument to the opponents of fraternities.
"Grip." says the old proverb, "is a good dog; but Holdfast is better." The quiet persistence of purpose, the steady development upward of Iota Chapter, the utter reliability she has known always and her ever increasing strength and standing are not subjects of astonishment to those who remember the history of her beginning. No petitioning group to any fraternity, it is safe to assert, has ever shown more stamina and patience than did the group at the University of Illinois [in Urbana) when they were being considered by Alpha Omicron Pi. It is no wonder that Iota has achieved distinction.
A local fraternity known as Delta Omicron and modestly calling itself a "club of girls" had begun its life
on April 9, 1908. Its members, representative but not numerous, began ambitiously with the furnishing and rental of a home. They found their road sufficiently dif- ficult in a college rich in established fraternities. They were young and inexperienced, but they managed to exist, to grow a little, and to win the respect of the University.
After a year, they decided to petition a national fra- ternity and through the advice of a member of the fac- ulty, their patroness, strengthened by their regard for members of Theta Chapter, selected Alpha Omicron Pi.
After the usual investigation it was reported to the Grand Council that the petitioning group at Illinois was worthy in every respect, but that they were young both in the college and in the fraternity; the odds against them were very great; their number was small. They had been so busy with the organization of their new fra- ternity and their new home in addition to their daily scholastic duties that they had not yet been able to make themselves felt in other departments of college life.
Rho Chapter. 1910
Unswerving adherence to the standards of Alpha Omicron Pi entails in itself a degree of fortitude. The question was pressing whether these young girls would be able, whether they had the staying quality, to carry this adventure through to success. The fraternity could not risk a failure.
The Chairman of the New Chapters at that period, Carrie Green Campbell, Gamma, had rare insight and wide experience as regards young girls. She believed in them and encouraged them to prove their right to a chapter; taught them how to win their object.
Instead of giving up their hope of Alpha Omicron Pi and petitioning some other fraternity, the girls at Illinois did this: they held together for two years as a local, winning success against all the odds including
the fact that they were suspected of waiting, so far unsuccessfully, for acceptance by a national body. They became effective in every aspect of the university life including that of scholastic honor; they were as severe in their ethics as any fraternity could require them to be. Theta at DePauw and Rho at Northwestern heard good reports of them.
On February 27. 1911, this achievement was rewarded, to the benefit of Alpha Omicron Pi, by the installation of Iota Chapter at the University of Illinois.
It is here pertinent to consider the policy of the Chairman of the Committee of New Chapters at this time, to remind ourselves that a petitioning group not yet ready for acceptance in the fraternity or not yet able to impress its readiness upon all the chapters at the time of the vote, may still have superior potentialities. Given sufficient time for development, given a guiding hand and a guarding eye, such a group may grow into as valuable a chapter as Iota of Alpha Omicron Pi.
Lambda Chapter. 1910
Vigorous from the start was Tau Chapter, the next to be born into the family of this fraternity.
The petition to Alpha Omicron Pi came from a local society at the University of Minnesota [in Minneapolis], which had begun, like the fraternity itself, through the friendship of four girls.
This "local," under the title Pi Theta Pi, had had two years of normal growth and had acquired prestige in the university.
It had begun its life with a definite prejudice against national fraternities; indeed, it may be said that it had begun its life because of that prejudice.
Therefore, its selection of Alpha Omicron Pi and its
decision to ask her for a charter was an acknowledg- ment that through her various chapters, the national fraternity had made her principles admired.
The representatives for Alpha Omicron Pi gave tes- timony, in turn, that the Minnesota group was worthy to uphold these principles. And in due time, on October 29,1912. Tau Chapter was installed and began the years, now in their second decade, of undeviating fidelity and usefulness to this order.
The convention of 1912 found the fraternity estab- lished and growing, North, East, South, and West, with new petitions frequent, with academic standing, with the respect and even the affection of the student bodies everywhere, with its organization strengthened without loss of flexibility, with its treasury in a better condition than ever before, all of its chapters flourishing, and the banners of its high purpose flying valiantly all over the land.
The year 1913 is a memorable, indeed a memorial, year in the history of Alpha Omicron Pi.
It was then that the authorities of Barnard College decreed the initiations into the fraternities should be suspended for three years. This was practically, as it was intended to be, the end of all fraternity life in that insti- tution. For in 1915, within the three years prescribed, the last members of the society were graduated.
Since then no question of the many submitted to the Grand Council Historian has been asked more frequently than this: What caused this action of the authorities; had the chapters transgressed against collegiate ethics; had Alpha of Alpha Omicron Pi so transgressed?
For the present purpose the last third of that query is the most important.
No, Alpha of Alpha Omicron Pi had not descended from her standards, nor was any accusation of unwor- thiness made against her. It can be truly said that the Mother Chapter of this fraternity left the scene of her inception of her happy early life with self-respect unimpaired and with the respect of others.
Nor was the fraternity situation at Barnard found guilty of any serious abuses.
No history would be frank that failed to admit that there had been, and still are, though in lesser and con- stantly diminishing degrees, weaknesses in the fraterni- ty system in the colleges as there are evils in every insti- tution of life, as there are flaws in almost every human
relationship. It must even be admitted that, though some of these faults are light and easily remedied, others are so deep-rooted as to seem to superficial judgment inherent in the fraternities themselves.
That they are not so inherent, that they are remedi- able, that their temporary existence is offset by great advantages that are essentials of fraternity life, those outside of this life or prejudiced against it may not readily see.
Let us be fair. Certainly no college authority dis- misses the fraternities without reluctance; no one can desire to grieve, humiliate, and offend a large and important part of its alumnae and student body. Certainly no trustee or faculty committee, no govern- ing board, would take this drastic action without at least believing it to be necessary. Let us see what seemed to motivate the action of the powers at Barnard.
Constance M. Geraty. President of Alpha Chapter, reported as follows to the Grand Council: "In the early part of 1915, a few prominent non-fraternity students, through channels of a Barnard publication, severely condemned the fraternity system as it existed at Barnard and made an earnest plea for inves-
tigation and reform. In the spring of the year a committee was formed purely
Alpha Chapter members in their chapter room
for the purpose of studying the question, but with no legal power of enforcing any regulations that its findings might seem to justify.
"This committee consisted of the Dean, the Provost, four members of the faculty, four alumnae, one of whom was Mrs. Helen St. Clair Mullan, and four under- graduates, two of whom were fraternity members and two non-fraternity. This committee met weekly for sev- eral months, and at these meetings testimony was invit- ed from any member of the faculty, alumnae, or under- graduate at Barnard.
"After weighing the testimony which had been received, the committee presented two recommenda- tions to the faculty.
"The majority report recommended that fraterni- ties continue at Barnard, provided their purpose and a few points of organization be not kept secret. The minority report recommended that for a period of three years fraternities take no new members.
"It was this latter report that was accepted by the Faculty Committee on Student Organizations, who put into effect legally the recommendations made in that report.
"According to their report, the flagrant evils of the fraternity system which were responsible for this action were secrecy, national affiliation, and undemocracy."
The fraternities represented at Barnard cannot but be gratified that a distinct majority of the examining committee decided in their favor.
But they would be more than mortal not to feel the sting of resentment that the opinion of the small minority was acted upon in a matter so vital.
Of the charges made by this minority according to the chapter president's report, secrecy, national affilia- tion, undemocracy, only one, the lack of democracy, can be taken seriously by anyone informed in fraternity life.
The secrecy in college fraternities, all Greeks know to be utterly unobjectionable. It is the secrecy of senti- ment, not of fact; a secrecy protecting motto, ritual, pledge, the precious identification of pin and grip, secret only because to the members of the fraternity these things are sacred. That their being kept private, intimate to the fraternity members, can be injurious to anyone, in or out of the societies, is absurd. Matters of constitution, purpose and orders of business, any fra- ternity should be willing to reveal to proper college authorities. If the national bodies of those at Barnard had been requested to do so, we may be sure they would have consented.
Matters personal, such as the discussion of qualifi- cations of proposed members and the vote upon them, are kept secret in any well-ordered club; it must be obvi- ous that they are better protected by secrecy in a frater- nity, if only as a matter of good taste and kindness.
It is only fair to concede that in the early days of fra- ternity life there did exist assumptions of mystery and "taboo" founded on some of the men's societies, that were not a little ridiculous. Indeed this was one of the qualities the Founders of Alpha Omicron Pi desired to avoid. But the growth of the mature spirit in college life, the development of humor, the passage of time, and the influence of younger orders like the one of which this history tells and the Panhellenic attitude have long cured the fraternities of this pose.
Also let it be granted that in a high school where the personnel is still immature, secret societies can be, and often are, dangerous. But surely it may be assumed that young women in our colleges may be safely entrusted with an intimate organization. Certainly we know that, in fact, no college fraternity has evil purpose, or other than an ideal obligation; certainly Panhellenic organizations would soon discover and discredit any association of such character.
Secrecy was never abused at Barnard and whatever
objections there might be to secret societies, the frater- nities would gladly have met by according to the college such publicity in its affairs as was desired by the majority report.
Surely, too, if any chapter of a national fraternity, at Barnard or elsewhere, should hide under the veil of secrecy an unworthy purpose or practice, the governing board of that order would expel that chapter.
This brings us to the next question raised in the report of the chapter president: nationalization was held to be objectionable.
From a question put to the Grand Historian of Alpha Omicron Pi, when she appeared before the inves- tigating committee described in Miss Geraty's report, we can but conclude that the ideals and intentions of the national central organizations of the fraternities were not understood by those objecting to them. The question raised to her was based upon the assumption that if the chapters desired to become more democrat-
ic, more vitally part of the general college life, broader and more useful, without barrier between themselves and those in other fraternities, or in none, that their national bodies would prevent their doing so. All mem- bers of women's fraternities know that their national organizations urge upon them just this conduct. Panhellenic statements prove it. The members of Alpha Omicron Pi, of course, are aware that their own central body, their traditions and even more binding obliga- tions, not only urge, but indeed demand and require of them, exactly such an attitude.
The national boards of all the fraternities are com- posed of women of high standing and well-known ideal- ism. It would seem clear that chapters under control and held accountable through them to other chapters in colleges throughout the land, must be more easily kept clear of the mistakes and follies than local groups without such regulation and responsibility.
That is not to say that no mistakes or follies are made by chapters of national fraternities; simply that nationalization is not their cause but frequently their cure.
However, it is evident by the original complaint in the college publication, by the report of the minority and even the recommendation of the majority, that some failure of the chapters at Barnard, real or appar- ent, to live up to their ideals must have given this impression. If so they have paid heavily for it. Suffice it here to say that the alumnae of Alpha Omicron Pi in touch with the situation give assurance that it was not true at least of Alpha Chapter.
The third charge, "undemocracy," is the most seri- ous of the three, because we recognize that from time to time that danger does appear, that on occasions circles of young girls do succumb to the temptation of exclusiveness, of a sense of superiority, through
believing themselves to have been "selected." And occa- sionally they do choose their members for superficial reasons, do debar others for causes other than character and breeding.
But this danger has been steadily diminishing through the years for several reasons.
First, because the colleges themselves are becoming more democratic, with the swing toward a sounder pub- lic spirit everywhere. It is entirely true that if a frater- nity is both snobbish and successful, the evil goes deep- er than the fraternity; for no snobbish fraternity can possibly succeed in any but a snobbish college.
Secondly, because the fraternities with their increasing numbers of alumnae, have grown to feel their responsibility as instruments in the world, large bodies of cultivated women bound by close ties, are ready to be used for any worthwhile purpose. This is indicated by the general tendency toward national work throughout the Panhellenic world. The fraternities have become eager to be known by their fruits. It cannot help but be echoed in the college chapters.
Then, a mighty contributing cause has been the increase in the number of fraternities and the rivalry among them. This rivalry though doubtless sometimes subject to foolishness and hysteria in the brief periods of "rushing," is a healthy thing at all other times, and makes the rival chapters put themselves to the test of successful activities in all phases of college life. If that college life in itself is to be worthy, this success cannot be obtained by any means but personal achievement. If the college life be not sound, doubtless the fraternity life will partake of its weakness; but even then the fra- ternities alone in the college will be subject to the check of central bodies with their supervisors, visitors, and alumnae guides.
But was there "undemocracy" at Barnard in 1913? It was so charged by a college publication, by some stu- dents, and by the minority of the investigators. Many testified, and still testify, to the contrary. It is sports- manlike to accept the decision of the Faculty Committee on Student Affairs, even though based on the minority report. It is sportsmanlike to acknowledge that, later, the Undergraduate Association sustained it. It is only honest to add that if, in a democratic college like Barnard, the fraternities are found to be undemocratic, they deserve to be, should be, removed.
But it would be unjust to the fraternities that were represented at Barnard not to say that against several there were no complaints. It would be cruelly unjust in particular if the Grand Historian did not state in behalf of that last group in Alpha Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi who so loyally and bravely upheld her traditions during those final days, that no such complaint was ever lodged against them.
Alpha Omicron Pi was bom pledged to inclusive-
ness and to election by character. It would be wrong to believe that the Mother Chapter failed her. Let it be def- initely stated: the Mother Chapter did not fail. She left Barnard College in honor.
The most general complaint at Barnard, and per- haps in other colleges where there have been charges, does not appear in the official report.
It was a sentimental charge, that the feelings of girls who are not asked to join fraternities are injured. In many cases, let us confess, this may be well
founded. It is unfortunate and to be regretted. But like most sentimental charges, it is not nearly as general as it claimed. There are vast numbers of non-fraternity girls utterly indifferent to fraternity membership. Every fraternity knows this, knows the number of girls who either reject "bids" to fraternities or make their position of indifference felt. Every fraternity member who has a sense of humor knows that it would be impossible for anyone with a like sense of humor, looking on at a "rushing" season, to conceive of the fraternity as a superior, close corporation, into which it is terribly hard to make one's way.
And even though feelings are sometimes hurt, it might be held, without lack of sympathy, that the same thing would be true concerning groups of friends at col- lege, whether bound by fraternity ties or not: some silent outsider would secretly be longing to join them. This is true - alas! ~ of life in all its phases. It is found in groups in the colleges and everywhere that people of like interests will combine socially, that some others will be sorry not to be included. Calling these groups fraternities makes only this difference, that as the advantages of the fraternities are greater, their influ- ence more reaching, the disappointment is more keen. Also the world of colleges is intensive in its reactions.
Nevertheless, if the fraternities can remove the cause of this sensitiveness by the obvious and right means, by every girl's seeking and finding her friends of like mind out of the fraternity as well as in it, by "chum- ming" with those who attract her irrespective of whether they be in her own fraternity, in another, in none, then fraternities cease to make artificial barriers or injure tender feelings.
Again let it be said, whatever may or may not be true in this regard of the general situation at Barnard, Alpha Chapter was kind, sociable, broad in her friend- ships, and popular.
It is amazing that though far more serious charges have occasionally been brought against men's fraterni- ties than women's have ever had to face, it is in women's colleges that anti-fraternity agitation has been most successful.
And this, long investigation leads one to believe, has been because of this sentiment that frater- nities are good for their own members but hurt the
feelings of the uninitiated.
A remedy would appear to be clear. Let there be
more fraternities, to decrease both the number of the eligible, but not elected and the sense of superiority in any chapters still stupid enough to feel it.
It is generally granted by governing boards of women's colleges that the fraternities are valuable to their own membership; it is astonishing that these boards often fail to realize or appreciate, as do those of the institutions for men in far greater degree, the importance of the fraternities to the colleges in sustaining the interest of the alumnae.
Of course, all alumnae worthy of any consideration at all, are grateful to their Alma Mater, hold her in affec- tion, respond to her appeals as far as they are able to do so. But to large numbers of alumnae the affection is a sentiment of memory rather than an active present feel- ing; the response to appeals comes from a sense of duty rather than a warm, personal, vital interest. It can scarcely be otherwise, except in isolated cases or with members of comparatively recent classes.
When the members of those classes out of college a decade or two return to their university or renew old loyalties, they feel at the end of the visit a good deal like Enoch Arden. Except i n name and physical appearance, sometimes not even in the latter, the college is not the same. The personnel even of faculty and management has often changed; the students are unknown and have no interest whatever in the return of "old girls" unless they have accomplished something notable, often not even then. Indeed, it is the frequent experience of the alumnae of large institutions that the last place in which they are honored is their own college.
At stated reunions and gatherings the alumnae col- lect in groups of their own period, have only a faint interest in those whom they did not know when they were in college, are lost and regret their presence at the gathering if they happen to be alone of their class or group.
But where there is an active chapter of the fraterni- ty to which an alumna belongs, she is important. Her interest is still keen because it is useful. There are always those in the student body who desire her pres- ence, love her, seek her advice. She is informed of the problems of the undergraduate body at first hand. She has a new reason for belonging to alumnae associations and becoming active in them, because she knows from the students' point of view what the student body really needs. If there be evils, she has sensed them; if ques- tions regarding the future of the college appear; she can discuss them with first-hand intelligence. Should she belong to an alumnae chapter of her fraternity, she knows the standing of the active chapter and she, with others, keeps maternal guard over their scholarship and advises them in the problems of the internal life of the
college, in which she has a broad and twofold interest. Such alumnae as these are still a part of the definite col- lege life and must feel for it a different regard from those who remember the "good old days" and have no personal knowledge of the present.
The alumnae chapter of the fraternity nearest geo- graphically to any college should be a point of interest and enthusiasm upon which that college can always draw. And yet the very colleges that complain of the indifference of alumnae, those who have to make hard "drives" and indecorous beggings for funds and endow- ments, are often those that have eliminated or never permitted the presence of the fraternity.
Let us hope that all of those fraternities that had chapters at Barnard, certainly that had chapters which were born there, may so prove their dignity, their use- fulness, their democracy in their chapters elsewhere that Barnard College may some day relent and make a place for them again.
But whether that day comes or not, Alpha Omicron Pi will ever keep in her heart Alpha Chapter active.
As Elizabeth Heywood Wyman said of the chapter which she called "our guiding star:"
"May it continue to inspire all of our members to lend their united, though it may be individually small, effort towards making this earth a finer and happier place for everyone to live in."
What the years following 1914 were to the world other histories will record for future generations: the present generation remembers them well.
The particular services which Alpha Omicron Pi rendered in war time, as an association, through chap- ters and through individuals, was, in common with the service of all other societies, great. Too great, indeed, to be mentioned in the scope of this work.
It was the Historian's intention to devote a chapter to the labors of these days; but the body of them was so large, at home, abroad, in Washington, by travel over state and nation, in organization work, in lecturing, in Red Cross work, in agriculture, in nursing, under Councils of National Defense, in Y.W.C.A., in home ser- vice, in entertaining, in drives, in releasing men for ser- vice, in every thing everywhere, that it would have taken a volume of itself.
It is enough to say here that like every worthy American institution at that time, Alpha Omicron Pi did all that she could. As individuals, practically all labored, many members with distinction, many inconspicuously
with the mass of their fellows. As chapters, every group assumed some special patriotic work, many adopted war orphans whom they still support. As an organiza- tion, the fraternity gave up her annual convention with all its plans that every member and chapter might devote all strength primarily to the nation's service.
In these hard days of sacrifice, in "flu" and war, the stirrings at the heart of humanity were perforce reflect- ed in college life. If the fraternities did not lose any smallness of which they have been accused, if they did not learn a broader democracy and applied "together- ness" in the hard school through which young America completed its education in those years of travail, if new idealisms have not arisen from that crucible, then sure- ly the fraternities do not deserve continued life. In Alpha Omicron Pi the war time impetus to public spir- ited action has continued. In all the chapters and par- ticularly in alumnae there began a larger concept of the responsibilities of thousands of organized, trained young women to the world in which they find themselves.
college-bred women in many places found comfort and help in the comradeship of others of their own kind. Alumnae of many colleges and many fraternities have experienced a new solidarity.
Let us go back to the years just preceding America's participation in the war and following the great con- vention of Alpha Omicron Pi in San Francisco in 1915, which, under the added stimulus of the World's
[Panama-Pacific] Exposition to that of the fraternity's, marked success was a signal event and a particular inspiration. There now came a period of growth and prosperity which continued even during the war and increased afterward.
New petitions came simultaneously from all parts of the country.
Shortly before that brilliant convention, the chapter there enrolled as youngest had been born.
The chapter list in Eastern colleges was length- ened by the installation on December 19, 1914 of Chi Chapter of Syracuse University [in Syracuse, New York].
During the war in the co-educational universities the absence of the young men gave every campus a strangely feminized aspect. University life was suddenly placed in the hands of the women students, and this at a time when common anxieties and common calls to national service already bound them. It was consequent that such a college generation of women should learn an essential cooperation and understanding.
Meanwhile, college alumnae serving on both sides of the Atlantic and in all phases of community life were not only broadened and awakened by their labors and by the contact of fellow laborers in all walks of life, but
Syracuse is a fraternity center. It was advantageous
to enter there with a group already established on that campus full of "nationals."
The local club, Alathea, formed according to its own requirement of membership "of strong, happy, faithful girls," had maintained its life at Syracuse since 1907, winning signal distinction in scholarship. It had peti- tioned Alpha Omicron Pi because of the "visible fruits" of this association. She has been constant to them under the handicap of being a late-comer on a campus already thoroughly "covered" by fraternities. Chi was hostess chapter to the fraternity at the convention of June 1921.
Next there came "out of the West" bringing honor
to the fraternity, after delayed negotiations of two years, Upsilon of the University of W ashington.
Like the Iota founders, those from what afterwards became Upsilon had first to prove, as a "local," by clear grit, patience and complete triumph, their fitness for Alpha Omicron Pi. They were a group founded as Alpha Upsilon in 1911 and had been singularly successful at Washington both in the conduct of their affairs and in the position obtained by individual members. They were happy in their life as a "local," and entirely satis- fied with it. They had made tentative addresses to national bodies, but had never brought themselves to final negotiations.
They had heard good reports of Sigma Chapter and Lambda Chapter and had made overtures to this frater- nity, but had no reason to feel sure that here was some- thing especially to their own address until they came into intimate acquaintance with a member from Zeta Chapter, Katherine Stirling (Russ), one from Alpha Chapter, Fannibelle LeLand (Brown), and Grace Batz Guyles of Sigma. These representatives of Alpha Omicron Pi were able to make it felt that their society offered special inducements to the fraternal spirit.
Therefore, in 1913, Alpha Upsilon of Washington petitioned Alpha Omicron Pi. After two years, during which the petitioning group convincingly fulfilled the promise of its youth by the accumulation of honors and the evidence of high fraternity ethics, their desire for membership was rewarded.
Two members of the soon-to-be chapter were guests of Sigma Chapter during the California conven- tion, forerunner of the installation of Upsilon of Alpha Omicron Pi on September 18, 1915.
Upsilon Chapter charter members, 1915
Ever since, Upsilon has been a banner chapter in its internal, Panhellenic, and national life. In all three, the chapter has expressed the spirit of its founder and our present Grand Secretary, Laura Alice Hurd.
But, after all, no compliment from without can out- weigh, to an organization based on fealty, the evidence of devotion on the part of its own members. This is the test that tells. It was on this perfection that Nu Kappa first appeared.
Margaret Vaughan (Branscombe) of Kappa Chapter was the mother of Nu Kappa. She was still at Randolph- Macon which she naturally cherished with a love one feels for one's own Alma Mater, and naturally desired to be graduated with her own class there.
The Southern Methodist University of Dallas, Texas, her home town, though always a good school, had not been a great one. It had not been eligible as a fieldfor this fraternity. But at this period by the force of new endowments, enlargements, and reorganization S.M.U. had grown suddenly from a small sectarian school into a recognized class A University and had laid the foundations of its present academic importance.
Anxious that the right sort of girls there, in the best sense, should form a nucleus of a chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, and realizing that she herself was in a unique position to select and guide such a group, Margaret Vaughan left Randolph-Macon and took her degree at Southern Methodist. There she and Margaret Bently, also from Randolph-Macon, selected, organized and inspired the group that on September 25, 1915 became Nu Kappa Chapter of Alpha Omicron Pi, cleverly named to suggest its parent chapter.
Expansion towards the Northwest and in the South was followed in the succeeding year by the addition of another strong chapter from the great central district. There, as the fruit of Rho, Iota, Theta. and Tau, was a petition from their neighbor, Indiana University.
The state universities of the West and "Middle West" have been the significant development in American col- lege life. They have bred some of the leading Americans of present interest and are combining culture in a spe- cialized, collegiate sense with the simplicity and democracy of the public school. To this has been added, as a special contribution, what is probably the broadest educational spirit, that of the university in its literal meaning, to be found in the world. The beautiful and the practical are in these schools twin theses. The mod- ern fraternity, if it is to survive, must align itself with the spirit of these ever-growing modern universities. If they do not give their lives here, then here is where they are liable to the loss of them.
Readers who are members of Alpha Omicron Pi will recognize what special adaptability to this environment their fraternity affords. It is always a happiness to have a new and representative chapter in these institutions.
Feeling this, the loyal daughters of Alpha Omicron Pi in Theta Chapter at DePauw wished their fraternity to have good representation at Indiana University. With fraternal zeal they requested the Grand Council to allow them to survey the field at Bloomington and to inspire interest there in Alpha Omicron Pi if that could be done normally
on firm foundations. Two DePauw members,
Juva and Vedah Covalt, were then at Indiana University. Theta sisters came to visit and to cooperate with them.
This devoted circle asked and received the advice and influence of the faculty at Indiana. With the aid of these authorities they interested a typical Alpha Omicron Pi group.
Theta Chapter watched and guided its special little sister until on June 6, 1916, she was rewarded by seeing her installation which took place in the presence of 30 members of Theta as Beta Phi Chapter at Indiana University [in Bloomington].
What has just been said concerning the lead-
ing state universities, applies, as is well-known, to
none of them more truly than to the University of Wisconsin [in Madison].
This institution had become so famous through the contributions to science of the members of its faculty, through the completeness of its equipment, the stimulus of its policies by which many fossilized educa- tional methods had been regenerated, that Alpha Omicron Pi had regarded it longingly for several years.
Nevertheless, she had in accordance with her traditions, resisted several opportunities to enter there through other than the most highly representative groups.
Such a group petitioned her at last through the loy- alty and initiative of two of her own members, Shirley McDavitt of Kappa and Vera Reibel of Rho.
The University of Wisconsin had a real need, a prac- tical need, for more fraternities, for the University was overcrowded and so were the sororities; the housing sit- uation was full of perplexities. The faculty and the other fraternities encouraged the two members of Alpha Omicron Pi in their attempt to form a "local" at Wisconsin, with the definite intentions of petitioning this society. Supported and helped by the neighboring chapters, Iota at Illinois and Rho at Northwestern, the petition was sent in due time.
On January 20, 1917, Eta Chapter at the University of Wisconsin was installed bringing with it and since maintaining the avowed creed of its original group: "To have good friends and to be loyal to them. To be known as those who unselfishly love their fellowmen. To be seekers after wisdom's torch and to be guided thereby to nobler endeavors and to add our humble mite to the world's sum of happiness."
1917, thus well begun, was a noteworthy year.
Beta Phi Chapter charter members, 1916
The next acquisition of a fine chapter in a prominent state university was interesting. It represented an ideal condition in fraternity life, and was the direct reward of Panhellenic virtue. This was the acknowledgment in
1917 by Alpha Omicron Pi of another of its own infants, born and educated by the influence and example of this fraternity, when the lusty local Western fraternity at Montana State University became Alpha Phi Chapter.
Up to 1916 the national fraternities had not been rec- ognized by the authorities at Montana State [in Bozeman]. As is usual under such circumstances, con- genial groups formed clubs, then local fraternities. One of these clubs, first known as the Aneves Club and afterwards as the local sorority, Alpha Phi, made a deep impression upon Mary Ellen Chase and Margaret Schoppe of Gamma Chapter.
Both of these women were influential at Montana, Mary Chase holding an important position on the high school faculty and Margaret Schoppe's husband on the college faculty. They were so thoroughly convinced of the quality of the Alpha Phi girls that they determined to give this "local," out of their own experience in Alpha Omicron Pi. the best sort of fraternity guidance. So they, being loved by the Alpha Phi's, were able, without at that time any hope of bringing it into the national order, to ground the "local" on Alpha Omicron Pi principles.
Alpha Phi took a distinguished place in Montana from the start, leading the school in scholarship, as it did for years afterward.
When in 1916 the University's ban against the nationals was lifted, this child of Alpha Omicron Pi nat- urally came home. It entered the family life amid great rejoicing on February 23, 1917.
The thanks of the whole body are due to the energy and wisdom of Omicron in establishing a strong chapter in the graceful and dignified old college at Nashville.
Vanderbilt, too, was overcrowded. There were only two national fraternities there and of these membership rolls were too long.
On a good day, Mary D. Houston (Sarratt), then a student at the University of Tennessee and a member of Omicron Chapter there, was walking with a friend, a Nashville girl and a fraternity member, who told her that her society, Kappa Alpha Theta, was overcrowded, and so was the other fraternity at Vanderbilt, Delta Delta Delta. Neither of them had been able for this rea- son to take any freshmen at all. She said that several fine Nashville girls had, in consequence, gone else- where to school because they wanted fraternity life. She suggested that Mary D. Houston "come to Vanderbilt and put in Alpha Omicron Pi." Mary D., ignoring her own loyalty and devotion in leaving her own class and chapter and Alma Mater and transferring to Vanderbilt for this purpose, reports, "I thought of my best friend, Katrina Overall, who was about to enter Vanderbilt as a junior. It was natural to think of her, for she was always a leader and always successful."
Katrina Overall became interested immediately, and, with Mary D. Houston, soon selected a group of
girls of the required calibre. These formed a "local" called Alpha Alpha, and the "pioneer spirit took posses- sion of them and so did the lure of Alpha Omicron Pi." They were as enthusiastic about Alpha Omicron Pi as if they were already a part of it, and so notable for merit at Vanderbilt that Alice Burt Sandidge (Carter) of Pi Chapter, the wife of an eminent member of the faculty, wrote of them with ardor. She said that for the first
Alpha Phi Chapter charter members, 191'
Kappa and Omicron have always been sister chap- ters, with like dispositions. And now Omicron followed the example of Kappa in sponsoring Nu Kappa by her- self becoming the founder and guide of Nu Omicron at Vanderbilt University [in Nashville], Tennessee.
It was valuable to the fraternity to forge another link in the border states of the South, where two of her most admirable chapters were already flourishing.
time she was ready unqualifiedly to recommend a group of girls at Vanderbilt for a charter of Alpha Omicron Pi.
The cooperative spirit of Alpha Alpha and Alpha Omicron Pi was rewarded when on April 28. 1917, Nu Omicron was installed at Vanderbilt.
All of the national fraternities for women rejoiced when another of the famous Eastern schools, the
Nu Omicron Chapter. 1917
University of Pennsylvania Iin Philadelphia], opened its doors to them after a long period of inhospitality.
Alpha Omicron Pi was among the first to receive petition for a chapter. She moved slowly, with her cus- tomary care, because the advantage of becoming estab- lished early in the fraternity life of a school is more than overcast if that early chapter be not of the finest mettle. This the petitioning "local" Psi Sigma, was found to be, and its members were consequently initiated into Alpha Omicron Pi on April 13, 1918 las Psi Chapter]. The group has been guided and advised to this end by Helen
Omega Chapter charter members, 1919
Henry of Sigma. Very early in her history Psi proved by her Panhellenic obedience and rectitude under great temptation, her right to be a standard bearer of Alpha Omicron Pi traditions. Though so young, she clung to a Panhellenic ruling even when others considered it a dead letter, even though it seemed temporarily to her own disadvantage, but she won out in spite of this besides establishing the precedent of Panhellenic principle on her campus.
Owing to geographical conditions and the absence of many schools of sufficient standing near her, Zeta Chapter had never had, what most other chapters enjoyed, a real neighbor in her own fraternity. This was remedied for Zeta of Nebraska when the University of Kansas petitioned Alpha Omicron Pi, and into this "alive" state university, where, at earlier times, tentative proffers had been reluctantly discouraged, it was found that all the conditions had now been met. Phi Chapter at Lawrence took its place in the sisterhood on May 4,
This chapter also had had its beginning as a local
sorority. Beta Gamma, which repeating the experience in most "locals," as it grew successful became ambitious for a wider field.
A number of national fraternities were considered, but the choice finally fell on Alpha Omicron Pi, largely through the favorable opinion Beta Gamma had formed of Zeta Chapter when the members met at Kansas- Nebraska games. This effect of Zeta was greatly aug- mented by individual alumnae members of Alpha Omicron Pi. Beta Gamma came under the influence of two "particular stars," an alumna of Epsilon Chapter, Katherine Mix, and Charlotte Hall (Uhls) from Upsilon. Both of these afterwards guided the steps of the peti- tioners in the preliminary stages and continued to do so after acceptance into Alpha Omicron Pi.
Phi was allowed the position of youngest member only a little while. Omega was already knocking at the gate.
The advantage of a fraternity's establishing a chap- ter at Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, other things being adequate, is great. For Miami is a fraternity col- lege. Here the faculty and trustees are broad-visioned enough to see that a large number of fraternities is the solution to many problems arising from the existence of too few; sensible enough to understand that the clan spirit of youth cannot be legislated against, but can be widely guided and translated into noble enthusiasm; tolerant enough to regard its students as adults with adult social privileges;and wise enough to realize that in a college with democratic ideals all the clubs must be democratic to survive. Men's fraternities at Miami are notably healthy.
There were three fraternities for women there when a group of girls, encouraged by the faculty, who believed that Miami was ready for a fourth, formed a temporary "local," called Kappa T^u Sigma, with the avowed inten- tion of petitioning a national fraternity when it had tried its strength.
The wise custom of trying the stability of a circle as a local group before asking national charters is growing and is in no small degree ascribed to the influence of Alpha Omicron Pi.
The newly formed "local" soon became distin- guished, even with the rivalry of three national frater- nities. It held the scholarship record at Miami for years and stood always for purest college politics. When it selected Alpha Omicron Pi as the recipient of its petition the larger fraternity was enriched.
Omega received her rituals on January 4, 1919.
So ended the first 20 years in health and wholeness, with a record of happiness and, we dare add, as far as lay in Alpha Omicron Pi's power, of usefulness, of sweetness, and of light.
The years just following the Great War of nations have been a time that tried the soul of youth all over the world.
The war period itself was said to be such a time, and, of course, that saying was true. But it was, perhaps, less difficult for the metal of character to withstand the fire of sacrifice than the rivetings of readjustment, the bur- dens of strange influences, the corroding rust of reac- tions.
During the war, youth found itself the greatest asset
of the world, the protector. It was inevitable, perhaps, that it should be reluctant to settle back after this into a place of humility at the feet of its elders. During the war, youth fed on danger, excitements, adventure, or the hope of it, lived in the sweeping whirl of emotion, was allowed a new freedom from social barriers. It was inevitable, perhaps, that it should be unable to return immediately to the conventions, common-places, and staid orderliness of daily living.
Whatever the direct occasion, and many are attrib- uted, all those who have had to deal with youths and maidens in the period of recovery from war, recognize that young people today have been confronted with an exaggeration of all the usual temptations toward crudi- ties and indiscretions in matters of taste, of manners, and even of morals.
That this was but a passing phase, the sizzling of a pot as the boiling subsides, there is no doubt. American youth itself has not changed; one can safely trust its soundness of mind and body, its humor, basic good sense, clean taste, and straight thinking.
But during the hectic times after the war, the fraternities were means at hand of a significant service. Where old external authorities were, temporarily at
least, losing hold, they could substitute an authority of youth's own choosing. Where elders were looked upon as no longer oracles of criteria of conduct, the fraterni- ties could restrain as the public opinion of outstanding contemporaries. Where traditions, heretofore unques- tioned, were being scrutinized, the fraternities could act as advocates for those worthy of continuance. Where freedom of choice was the new idea, they could guide this choice to the only motives and effects that give enduring happiness.
This great responsibility rested particularly upon women's fraternities, and, in the main, they have recognized and fulfilled it.
Decidedly Alpha Omicron Pi has done so. Not only have the chapters themselves been, on the whole, care- ful to safeguard their reverence and modesty, but the administrations of the national body, the executive committees and alumnae advisors, the supervisors, and all in authority during these hysterical years have also exercised a wise maternalism. The alumnae wherever needed, have responded with elder sisterly interest. Discipline has seldom been needed; guidance has never failed. Alpha Omicron Pi has come through this difficult period with her standards of fine womanhood sustained.
As a whole, the fraternity found herself confronted for the first time with another, and in this case, an agreeable, problem. At last she had become rich enough to perform some of the works of broad public usefulness that she had always desired to perform as a national body.
Her magazine, her endowment fund, her treasury, her chapter finances all established, the way was made clear for her. In spite of the fraternity's policy of small dues, taxes, or other assessments, her traditions that considerations of money should never be a bar to mem- bership, she was able at last to afford herself the joy of generosity on a large scale.
Every chapter and especially every alumnae chapter has, of course, been lavish of its time and its resources to all college, community, or personal calls upon it, and to whatever needs and causes it found appealing.
In the words of Josephine Pratt, Alpha, in her plea for national alumnae labors: "In the past year I have learned much about alumnae activities, and I am amazed at the variability of interest and the versatility of our members. Alumnae activities range from the maintenance of scholarships to the management of rummage sales, from aid to active chapters to the adop- tion of a poor family, from sewing for the poor to work with undernourished children."
For several years the question of a centralized national work has been discussed at conventions, in alumnae meetings, and in committee.
At last, at the convention of 1923 at Whittle Springs, Tennessee, work is to be formulated which will be found outlined on a later page.
The Endowment Fund, too, had its inception dur- ing this period and marked an auspicious advance in the fraternity's usefulness, especially to her members.
As in Alpha Omicron Pi, so throughout the Panhellenic world at this time, there was a marked trend toward a broader outlook and a desire for cooper- ative service on a larger scale. This showed itself in general in the Panhellenic attitude and in particular in the movement now on foot toward a Panhellenic clubhouse in New York, which shall make a congenial home for members of all fraternities who come to "seek their fortune" or further their education in that overwhelmingly great city.
In this urge towards wider usefulness and closer contacts throughout the Greek world, Alpha Omicron Pi has done her part especially through her Panhellenic Delegate, Lillian MacQuillin McCausland, who is now serving as Chairman of National Panhellenic, her Grand President, Merva Dolsen Hennings, and through Helen Henry, Sigma, Rochelle Gachet, Pi, and Mary Donlon, Epsilon, her representatives on the New York board of the Panhellenic House. Of this board Bertha Rembaugh. Nu, is the attorney.
During these years expansion continued cautiously and internal solidarity increased steadily.
Two new groups received admission, one at Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan, and the other at Eugene, the University of Oregon.
In 1919 two forward-looking students at Ann Arbor, Helen Wolfe and Lelah Stephens, thought "that Michigan could afford another national fraternity" and asked two other students whose ideals where like their own for "democratic fellowship on the campus, doing one's share in college activities, and maintaining high scholarship" to cooperate with them.
They decided to form a local group. They consult- ed the Dean of Women and the Chairman of the Committee on Student Affairs and, upon their advice, made up their minds eventually to ask admission into Alpha Omicron Pi, "since that organization has chap- ters only in schools of Michigan's standing and the ideals of its members seemed to correspond with those of these Michigan girls."
Accordingly the constitution was drawn and was accepted by Professor Strauss, Chairman of the Committee on Student Affairs, whose guidance and help were of the greatest value.
Omicron Pi Chapter members (Three charter members), 1920
The "local" was named Omicron Pi. This fraternity- proved its stamina and, in February 1921, was admitted at Michigan to Panhellenic fellowship. It grew lustily, gathering worthy honors, and was voted into Alpha Omicron Pi at the convention in June 1921, receiving installation on October 8, 1921.
Omicron Pi, however, was not long allowed to maintain the position of youngest chapter.
In the fall of 1920 a group of eight girls at the University of Oregon, who knew members of Alpha Omicron Pi from the neighboring chapters in the Northwest, drew up a constitution, selected a name, and decided to petition this fraternity. Their purpose was sanctioned, approved by the Dean of W omen, with
whose consent the organization was kept secret for the time. Correspondence with Alpha Omicron Pi began. But a stumbling block to their ambition appeared at once in Alpha Omicron Pi's policy of entering only insti- tutions of Class A standing. To this policy she now stood firm though with regret. The University of Oregon, although not yet officially recognized as Class A, was an excellent school, established in 1872 and increasing in prestige and accomplishment. It was already the home of 12 women's fraternities, of which the petitioning group was the only one not national. These girls were notified in July 1921 that they would be entitled to consideration for membership as soon as the University of Oregon should become Class A.
The group, disappointed but not discouraged, since they knew the merit of their college and the recognition sure to come very soon, determined to "come out in the open" as a local fraternity and await the time when their school should be eligible.
On January I , 1922 the group, then 12 in number, took a house and announced themselves as the local fra- ternity of Alpha Sigma. They made themselves felt on campus and in college with success in all the aspects of college life. But they were still advised to withhold for- mal petition until they had successfully experienced a fall "rushing" season.
Then, in 1923, there being no longer any obstacles, formal application was made and granted. The plucky group at Oregon was installed in Eugene on May 5,1923 as Alpha Sigma Chapter with a good constitution and a sound inheritance. At this writing Alpha Sigma is the "baby chapter" of Alpha Omicron Pi. The sister chap- ters at Bozeman and at Seattle were present in force at the "christening."
The idea of fostering a promising group in a grow- ing institution, even if not yet quite ready to meet the strict scholarship requirements, of waiting and working with and for it, is heartily to be recommended.
For the wise expansion policy of recent years, for the tactful nurturing and firm guidance of young aspi- rants, and the no less tactful and able pleading of their cause with the fraternity when they were ready for membership, grateful recognition is due to Rose Gardner Marx, Sigma, the Expansion Officer.
For an increasing understanding and solidarity within her own confines, an upward urge of group and inter-group cooperation, a unifying sentiment, a jealous guardianship of ideals and rectitudes, praise is due to the Executive Officers, Merva Dolsen Hennings, Rho, Viola Gray, Zeta, and Laura Hurd, Upsilon.
And now, 25 years after Alpha Omicron Pi became a national fraternity by the admission of Pi Chapter, 26 years after her own founding, she held on her roster 26 active chapters, 25 alumnae chapters, and one alumnae association.
The collateral development throughout the years of alumnae chapters is recorded in succeeding pages.
In 26 years there have been no charter recalls, no chapters found unworthy. For 26 years an ever-length- ening list of young women, by this time numbering thousands, had been loyal to one another, useful to their colleges and to the world, true to severe obligations of an exalted idealism.
Here was proof of two things, one great, the other interesting.
For the second, here was proof that youth and ini- tiative and originality yoked to high purpose can win their way in the fraternity world, even against length of years.
For the first, here was evidence that Alpha Omicron Pi was needed, had served a real purpose, had justified her life and, knowing that of herself she could do noth- ing, here was cause for grateful humility and thanks- giving that this purpose was greater than she had planned for or had foreseen, this success a gift, herself an instrument.
For the future, thus may it be!
Alpha Omicron Pi is proud of the number, fidelity, and enthusiasm of her alumnae chapters. When the ardor of the four college years persists, dynamic, throughout busy women's busy lives, when the fraternal bond endures not merely as a blessed memory or a ten- der sentiment but also as an active energy, a fraternity has the right to call herself successful.
This fraternity has that right.
Her alumnae have enjoyed forgathering in chap- ters, in continuing to hold an active place, as groups, in the work of their order.
It is significant of the care in which "the Alpha type" has been found or developed in the various undergrad- uate chapters that these alumnae groups discover their members to be congenial and at one. For they are collected by geographical chance and come from widely separated colleges, alumnae chapters being based, not upon derivation from the same school, but upon residence in the same neighborhood.
Any seven or more members of Alpha Omicron Pi in any town or city or section may apply for, and, of course, receive, an alumnae chapter charter. A group of fewer than seven members may become an alumnae association.
When the alumnae chapter first suggested itself no one realized the scope of its possibilities.
At first it was intended primarily for the reunion of
old friends, to continue in fraternity activities girls who had worked and played together through these good collegiate years, to keep watch and ward over the active chapter or chapters close at hand, and to proffer whatever help these needed.
When on May 21, 1904, the New York Alumnae Chapter was formed, its chief purpose was to maintain a meeting place for college and fraternity comrades, to continue the intercourse between graduates at Alpha, Barnard, and Nu, New York University, for these two active chapters were close in association in those early days, and to help Nu and Alpha as required.
Of course, there was the supplementary intention of welcoming whatever sisters should come to visit or remain in New York, but there was no anticipation of their number.
Today in the New York Alumnae Chapter are mem- bers from chapters everywhere, eager, cooperative unit- ed. Not even do the members Alpha and of Nu predom- inate in number. Officers of the chapter have come to New York from California, from the South, West, East, and Mid-West. Women from 16 chapters have found there a fraternity home.
As in New York, so in lesser degree, is this true of other cities. In any of 26 cities in America any member of Alpha Omicron Pi may arrive, a stranger, and find herself at home. In 26 cities any alumnae who desires to keep in the organized activity of her fraternity has the means of doing so. The potential and actual value of such grouped alumnae to the neighboring active chapters is important, especially where, as is still true in most cases, the graduates of those chapters are in the
There is sometimes, to be sure, as is ever the case
between older and younger sisters in families, the need for tact, appreciation, and understanding in order that the full advantage of this relationship may be obtained. But wherever the alumnae chapter members have remembered their own youth in attempting to guide the younger girls and wherever the active chapter mem- bers have been receptive of advice based upon the expe- rience of their big sisters, Alpha Omicron Pi has reaped a rich return.
Besides this interfraternity use, the alumnae chap- ters, in themselves, have a double personality. The first is social or better sociable'. To busy women, much occu- pied with the world's affairs, it is a delight to gather with kindred spirits, old friends and new, at ease under a precious bond, if only to loaf and invite the soul. In several of the chapters, after the business of the day is gone, members drift in and out throughout an after-
noon with their sewing, to chat, to visit, to exchange ideas, simply to be together. But when some special
Right: Drawing from Alpha Chapter Roll Book, by Stella Perry
service is to be done, some action accomplished, there they are, organized, sympathetic, ready. Some of the chapters, as in New York, dine together once a month, away from all external calls. Celebrations and "parties" of many kinds occur everywhere, formal or original, as suits the mood of the chapter. These vary from picnic luncheons and baby parties to banquets, receptions, and plays. Alumnae chapters near colleges entertain active chapters and help these in their campus social affairs.
The second function is useful service. The useful- ness of alumnae chapters to their own fraternities is understood without description. They are also useful to their communities and to the world.
From the smallest personal gifts to the needy, as sewing, supplying fuel, feeding families, paying rent, helping at day nurseries with individual work and with money, supporting foreign and American orphans, buy- ing surgical appliances and the thousand other calls that come; from these to the larger contributions, as maintaining scholarship funds, hospital beds, support-
ing public welfare causes; to all such enterprises the alumnae chapters have ever been committed.
And now they are about to take a step forward into the larger field of nationalized alumnae work.
Now let us take a brief survey of the history of one alumnae chapter as an example: New York Alumnae Chapter, organized May 14, 1904.
She aided Nu and Alpha Chapters, greatly helping Alpha with sympathy, counsel, and support during anti- fraternity agitation at Barnard.
After years of life, through causes chiefly ascribable to changing conditions of life in New York, the chapter lapsed into inactivity. It was reorganized and revised along broader lines on March 1, 1917. Since then the chapter has been vigorous and interesting. The mem- bers managing reorganization are Kathleen Hurty, Alpha; Gladys K. Combs (Terry), Epsilon; Anne L. Graeffe, Epsilon; Anna G. Jordon, Alpha; Ethel L. Cornell, Epsilon; Nell Webb Sears, Zeta; Daisy Gaus, Nu; Dora D. Lough, Delta; Edith B. Dietz, Alpha; Eve A. Marty, Sigma; Elizabeth A. Swart, Nu; Jean Wick, Alpha; Joanna C. Colcord, Gamma; Emma H. Burchenal, Alpha; Louise M. Sillcox, Alpha; Jessie W. Hughan, Alpha; Lucie A. Petrie, Alpha; Helen Vollmer, Nu;
Josephine Britton, Epsilon; and Nora Stark, Nu.
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The story begins in 1896 when four friends pledged themselves to each other. It is a story of boldness and sweetness, innovation and tradition, and far- sightedness and practicality. Most of all, it is a story of friendship.
Having committed themselves to establishing a fraternity several weeks ear- ier, Stella Stern, Jessie Hughan, Elizabeth Wyman, and Helen St. Clair founded Alpha Omicron Pi on January 2,1897 at Barnard College of Columbia College in New York, New York. Through the years, the story of the Founders has been told countless times by those who succeeded them as members of the fraternity. Each time the story is told, it reveals that much has changed since 1897, but the principles on which AOn was founded are the guiding forces in the fraternity today, just as they were 100 years ago. That fact is just one among the many testimonials to the vision and courage of those four Barnard juniors when they created this new fraternity. They knew exactly what they wanted. They trusted their own feelings. They put those feelings
As we "Celebrate the Century," we look back on the history of the fraternity with renewed appreciation for the Founders' determination and the bedrock principles on which they established the organization. Fully understanding the fraternity's history is not possible without considering the historical con- text in which the organization developed. World events have affected changes in the course of the fraternity. As the decades and AOIT bienniums unfold, consider the directions that history has taken us.
In the United States, the mere suggestion of higher education for women was brushed aside until the 19th century when the issue could no longer be ignored. At that time, established colleges began admitting women students and progressive educators founded female seminaries. By the early 1880s, when educational choices for women were available in many American cities, no such opportunities existed in New York, the nation's largest city and the location of Columbia College. Columbia was no recent upstart; it had begun in 1754 as King's College by charter of King George II. Classes were suspended in 1776 at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War. The school reopened in 1783 as Columbia College. Its steady growth necessitated its moving in 1857 to a larger campus at Madison Avenue and Forty-ninth street.
During the latter half of the 19th century, the proposal was made to educate women in some manner connected with Columbia College. In the 1860s this idea was presented to Columbia's Trustees whose reaction was antagonistic. However, Columbia's president, Frederick Augustus Barnard, openly approved of women having access to Columbia's resources. Twelve years of careful work toward that goal was successful when the trustees approved establishing a women's college with entrance examinations identical to those of Columbia, courses to be taught by Columbia faculty, and satisfactory work resulting in a degree granted by Columbia College. This women's college would have its own class buildings and be fully responsible for financing the
The new school was named Barnard College to honor President Barnard who
never wavered in his support to establish the school. Barnard College opened October 7,1889 for admission of women students to the freshman year only. Twenty women enrolled and of them, nine worked for their degrees. The col- lege was housed in one building, a rented four-story brownstone residence at 343 Madison Avenue. It provided space for administrative offices, class and study rooms, but no dormitory nor boarding facilities. Living quarters in the basement were for a woman who was a housekeeper, overseer, and served light lunches and snacks for busy students. A young man resided at the front door which was always kept locked.
Members of Barnard's first six classes had not been prepared by their sec- ondary schools to pass Barnard's ridged entrance examinations which tested their knowledge of modern languages, English composition and literature, history, Latin, and, most especially, Greek. The first students needed months of additional study which delayed their entering college until they were in their 20s. These ladies were serious, dignified students, well aware that they and their college were on trial. With diligence and determination, they succeeded for themselves and also established Barnard's academic reputation.
It was the autumn of 1894 when the Class of 1898 arrived at Barnard to begin their freshman year. They had recently graduated from schools which had thoroughly prepared them to meet Barnard's academic standards. Younger than their predecessors, these girls were confident of themselves and eager to experience everything college life offered. They were witty, humorous, tal- ented and, to a ladylike degree, daring! The stamp of their high spirits marked this class from the moment its members walked through the door at 343 Madison Avenue. They set about to organize their class. No pastel color nor delicate flower were chosen as emblems for the Class of 1898; for them, the bright color of scarlet, and the scarlet carnation. They were enthusiastic members of literary and drama clubs. Student government, a new concept which Barnard embraced, was grasped eagerly by the '98ers. Some of them were fascinated with parliamentary procedure and all of them argued with gusto! Though 343 did not provide a gymnasium, Barnardians, dressed in gym clothes of the day (navy blue serge pleated bloomers worn below the
knee, white blouses, black stockings and flat, rubber-soled shoes), exercised at a nearby gymnasium.
Since 1892, Barnard's trustees had known of Columbia's plans to move their campus to Morningside Heights. Barnard's successful affiliation with Columbia demanded it move, too. Barely in operation for five years and strug- gling to meet expenses, Barnard had no fund set aside for such a venture. Amazingly, trustees, faculty, undergraduates, alumnae, and friends who had supported the college's beginnings raised the money to purchase a block of land and erect Barnard's first two buildings by October 1897 when both schools moved to new campuses in uptown Manhattan.
Barnard's nearly 300 students were thrilled to move to the luxury of spacious, well-equipped buildings. To the activities and customs established at 343 Madison Avenue, Barnard students added traditions at their new location with their lively Class of '98 leading the way.
Beginning in 1892, Barnard's junior classes had edited the yearbook, a digni- fied, serious publication. In the school year 1896-1897, the task fell to the Class of '98, and they tackled it with their customary exuberance. They changed its name from the Barnard Annual to Mortarboard and transformed