Defunct North American collegiate sororities
This article describes smaller collegiate sororities created in nineteenth century and early to middle twentieth century on campuses in the United States and Canada. These sororities are defunct. Individual chapters may have affiliated with National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities.
Aloquin was founded as a coeducational organization in 1905 at Ohio University. The name comes from combining the two Greek words for "Why not?". In 1910, the group split into two separate organizations, one for men, the other for women. Aloquin sorority chartered two more chapters: Ohio State University, 1914; Wittenburg College, 1915.
Of the OSU chapter, Chi Omega's history recalled that the Aloquins "decided that there would be many more advantages derived from membership in a national fraternity than from a local state organization." (Ferguson, p. 188)
Beta Delta Pi (ΒΔΠ)
The Alpha chapter began as D.D.D. in January, 1887 at Bucknell Female Institute. On September 15, 1887, the sorority changed its name to Beta Delta Pi. Little else is known about this sorority. A Beta chapter was chartered at Miss Gordon's Private School in Philadelphia. The Lambda chapter was colonized at Toronto in 1914. Lambda decided "something must be done to strengthen our position nationally" ( Alpha Gamma Delta Quarterly, p. 89). The chapter affiliated with Alpha Gamma Delta.
The sorority was "renewed" in 1916 (Women of Today, 1925).
The 1917 edition of Toronto's yearbook gave the following chapters: Alpha, Lewisburg, PA; Beta, Philadelphia; Gamma, New York City; Delta, Stamford, Conn.; Epsilon, Chevy Chase; Eta, Peekskill-on-the-Hudson; Theta, Hollidaysburg, Pa.; Iota, Atlantic City; Lambda, Toronto.
The colors were nile green and pink (L'Agenda 1895).
Delta Chi Alpha (ΔΧΑ)
Delta Chi Alpha was one of the first Greek-lettered organizations for collegiate women. It was founded in May 1878 at Ohio Wesleyan University. The badge was silver with a monogram of the letters "encircled by a frosted wreath" (Baird's 1879). The colors were cardinal and ecru. In 1879, the membership was twenty-five.
In 1882, the fraternity established the Beta chapter at Beaver College. (The Phi Gamma Delta 1882, p. 76).
Alpha chapter, at Ohio Wesleyan, affiliated with Kappa Alpha Theta (Baird's 1898). It is not known what happened to Beta.
Kappa Sigma Tau (ΚΣΤ)
Kappa Sigma Tau existed at Northwestern University prior to World War I. It collapsed during the war years. In 1919, the group reorganized as "Campus Club" but could not compete with the Y.W.C.A. In April 1922, the group became the Kahniga fraternity. There were 22 founders. The name was soon changed to Kappa Sigma Tau.
Baird's (1930) gives the roll as follows:
1922 Alpha Northwestern
1924 Beta Illinois
1927 Gamma Mississippi
1928 Delta Lake Forest College
There was a national council meeting at a convention. The journal was The Gold and White. The badge was "a gold crescent with a row of ten pearls on the left side and one pearl at the point on the right. Gold letters Kappa Sigma Tau are placed vertically on a raised onyx crescent in the center of the badge" (Baird's 1930, p. 602). The colors were gold and white. The flower was the yellow rose.
The coat-of-arms was "on a fess between three mullets in chief and a lamp in bend a pair of balances. Crest is a crescent" (Butterfield, p. 46).
The Lake Forest chapter affiliated with Alpha Xi Delta in 1932. The other three dissolved.
Phi Delta (ΦΔ)
Phi Delta grew from two sororities: Sigma Epsilon (New York University, 1919) and Alpha Delta Omicron (New York State Teachers College at Albany). The two sororities came together to form Phi Delta on January 19, 1927. (Although October 25, 1919 was the official founding date). Baird's (1930) stated the objects are "to create a friendly spirit among the girls of the institutions represented, to uphold the honor spirit of the institution, and to develop the abilities of members for most effective college life" (p. 322).
By 1930, there were six active chapters with a total of 223 members:
1919 Alpha New York State Teachers College at Albany [Phi Delta]
1919 Beta New York University (NYU) [Sigma Epsilon]
1927 Gamma UCLA [Pi Sigma]
1927 Epsilon Cincinnati [Phi Beta]
1927 Zeta George Washington University (GWU) [Alpha Sigma Theta]
1929 Eta Temple University [Phi Alpha]
SUNY Albany's online archives state that Phi Delta was founded for Protestant women, and that it was the first sorority for Protestant women founded at a state university.
Baird's (1930) described the insignia "The badge is a Phi, studded with pearls, superimposed upon a plain gold Delta. The pledge pin is a black shield with a gold sword and star. Colors are gold and black. The flower is the yellow tea rose" (p. 322). The Phi Delt was the bi-monthly magazine.
Butterfield (p. 42) described the coat- of arms as "sable a sinister bend or, superimposed by a white open book proper on which in turn is superimposed a torch palewise or, flamed argent. Crest. An eagle displayed, or". The motto was the sorority's name, and placed on the banner underneath the shield.
Phi Delta suffered from the Great Depression. In 1935, the NYU and GWU chapters affiliated with Beta Phi Alpha; Cincinnati became an Alpha Delta Pi chapter. UCLA struggled for a short time as a local, and ultimately dissolved. Albany remained a local until 1973 (Baird's).
Phi Delta (local)
For the next 40 years, Alpha chapter functioned as a typical social sorority. The chapter had residences at 146 and 278 Western Ave (SUNY Albany archives). The Constitution (1967) gives the purpose of the sorority
as a social and fraternal organization, shall be to uphold the honor Spirit of the University, to create a friendlier spirit among the girls of the University, to strengthen the scholastic standing of the University, and to develop the abilities of the girls for the benefit of the college life.
Article IV, Section VII of the Constitution (1967) explained that Phi Delta permitted honorary membership
to those men and women who have shown distinguished ability in the field of education and leadership, and possess such qualities as Phi Delta stands for; and men and women who have shown sincere interest and have given service to Phi Delta, upon election.
Section X of the same article explained faculty membership as
a man or woman of the University faculty who has shown distinguished ability in the field of education and leadership.
During the 1960s, Phi Delta opened membership to African- American and Jewish women (SUNY Albany archives).
In 1973, the sorority dissolved.
Pi Sigma Gamma (ΠΣΓ)
Pi Sigma Gamma was founded in 1919 by two University of California at Berkeley students, Alice H. Cassidy and Kathleen D. Coghlan. Baird's (1930) reports the following chapters and membership numbers:
1919 Alpha Berkeley
1921 Beta Washington
1926 Gamma Hunter College
1928 Delta UCLA
Total membership was 439.
National conventions were held throughout the 1920s. The sorority had several publications: a song book, a Pledge Manual, a Handbook for Pledges, Triple Wing magazine (Baird's 1930, p. 610).
Butterfield (p. 45) described the coat-of-arms as "A group of emblems within a shield outline, three book, lamp, and crossed swords are employed in the device."
Sigma Sigma Delta (ΣΣΔ)
On November 11, 1924, Lanterna Laetitiae was organized at Bucknell University. Four years later, the decision to become a national organization prompted the name change to Sigma Sigma Delta. The sorority had "open membership as a fundamental principle" (Bucknell University website).
Northwestern's came from the local Aeukiga and Baldwin-Wallace's from the Calumet Club (Baird's).
In Ohio Marietta's catalogue (1933), the sorority is listed as "Sigma Sigma Delta National Open Sorority" (p. 23)
The sorority's official colors were green and white; the flower was the white carnation; the publication was The Evergreen (L'Agenda).
1. Butterfield, Emily H. (1931) College Fraternity Heraldry. The Collegiate Press: George Banta Publishing Co, Menasha, WI.
2. Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities, multiple editions.
3. The Phi Gamma Delta by Phi Gamma Delta, 1882, v. 1-4, Jan 1879- June 1882.
4. Constitution, Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta, Fall 1967.
5. State University of New York Albany, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives http://library.albany.edu/speccoll/findaids/ua800.009.htm
6. Bucknell University, History of Women at Bucknell, 1916 to 1925
7. Catalogue, Ohio Marietta College, 1931.
8. L'Agenda, yearbook of Bucknell University
9. Ferguson, Christelle (1938). A History of Chi Omega, Volume 1, The Collegiate Press, George Banta Publishing Company, Menasha Wisconsin.
10. Women of Today, 1925, Published by Women of Today Press.
11. Alpha Gamma Delta Quarterly, v. 10 (1919), published by Alpha Gamma Delta.
12. Bucknell 1886- 1895 http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/WRC/history/1886to1895/1886to1895.htm