Pauline Oberdorfer Minor

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Pauline Oberdorfer Minor
Born c. 1889
Charlottesville, Virginia, US
Died 1963
Alma mater Howard University
Occupation Mezzo-soprano, composer
Known for Co-founder of Delta Sigma Theta

Pauline Oberdorfer Minor (c.1889–1963) was one of the founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.[1]


Pauline Oberdorfer was born around 1889 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Raised by an aunt and uncle in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she did not know her parents nor her exact date of birth. In 1910, she graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls. Through the financial assistance of her church, Oberdorfer was able to attend the Teachers College at Howard University.[1][2]

At Howard, Oberdorfer co-founded the Delta Sigma Theta sorority and served as the first treasurer of the Alpha Chapter. After graduating as valedictorian of the class of 1914, she pursued a teaching career in Pennsylvania, Alabama and South Carolina.[1]

Oberdorfer also embarked on a career as a mezzo-soprano recitalist and composer of spirituals. Her book, Soul Echoes featured forty of her compositions including "Get Off the Judgment Seat" and "My Lord Is a Refuge."[1]

She married a Mr. Minor, but the couple's union would end in divorce. Pauline Minor died on January 23, 1963, presumably in her mid-70s.[1] Pauline Oberdorfer Minor is buried in Eden cemetery, the oldest African American-owned cemetery in the U.S., in Collingdale, PA.


  1. ^ a b c d e Harris, Jessica (2008). "Women of Vision, Catalysts for Change: The Founders of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority". In Parks, Gregory S. Black Greek-Letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century: Our Fight Has Just Begun. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-8131-2491-9. 
  2. ^ "Thirteenth Census of the United States:1910–Population". Supervisor's District 1, Enumeration District 106, Philadelphia city, Seventh Ward, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania: National Archives and Records Administration. 1910: 10B.