Posts Tagged ‘fraternity’


Phi Beta Kappa is probably one of the best known collegiate honor societies in the United States. It was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, making it the first Greek letter fraternity for college and university students, the oldest liberal arts honor society, and one of the oldest undergraduate organizations in the country. Ohio Chapter Alpha was founded at Western Reserve College in 1847 (from the University archives).

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The eldest of ten founders Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults was the only sister of age to sign the incorporation papers of Alpha Phi Fraternity on October 10, 1872 at Syracuse University. Her outstanding scholarship and humor helped unite the Sisterhood as a family of friends, bound together by a common sense of ideals. In celebration of her life and contributions, the Loyal Sisters of Alpha Phi dedicate this memorial on October 7, 1995. In the hundred years since her passing the Fraternity has grown to number 162 Collegiate Chapters, 190 Alumnae Chapters, and over 124,000 members internationally.

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Charles Washington Harvey detail

Charles Washington Harvey

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The three linked rings on these tombstones probably represent the men’s membership in a fraternal organization. According to Stories in Stone, the most likely candidate is the International Order of the Odd Fellows (IOOF), sometimes nicknamed the “three link fraternity.” The “three links” are friendship, love, and truth.


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I found this metal plaque mounted in front of the grave maker for the Barretts in Lakeview Cemetery and photographed it because it was much more interesting than the stone itself.

J. Laurence Barrett

Information on J. Laurence Barrett has been elusive so far, complicated by the fact that there was a 19th century actor named Laurence Barrett. But I’ve been able to guess at some details of his life based on the fraternity he helped found.

The law fraternity Delta Theta Phi resulted from a 1913 merger of 3 existing fraternities: Delta Phi Delta, Alpha Kappa Phi, and Theta Lambda Phi. A fourth fraternity, Sigma Nu Phi, was added in 1989. Even though Delta Theta Phi did not exist until 1913, the fraternity dates its existence from the founding of the first chapter of Delta Phi Delta at the Cleveland Law School at Baldwin-Wallace College in 1900. (This law school later joined with John Marshall School of Lawand moved to Cleveland State University as the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law.) Based on his age and designation as founder, it seems likely that barrister Barrett was a founder of Delta Phi Delta in 1900, and therefore gained the designation as Delta Theta Phi founder when the merger occurred. I wonder if he knew that, out of everything he did in his life, membership in a professional fraternity would follow him to the grave.

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