St. Elmo (secret society)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
St. Elmo's Society logo

St. Elmo Society, or Elmo's, is a secret society at Yale University.[citation needed] It was founded in 1889 as an independent entity for seniors within the nationally chartered fraternity, Delta Phi (ΔΦ), Omicron chapter (1889–1925).

Delegations are selected from the entire junior class pool based on students' scholastic standing, his or her seriousness of purpose, maturity, individuality, and other achievements at the university as well as representation of the different backgrounds and interests in each class. There are eight men and eight women in each year's delegation.[citation needed]


St. Elmo's Semi-centennial Dinner
St. Elmo's 2nd Tomb, now owned by Yale University and known as Rosenfeld Hall, at 109 Grove Street, photographed circa 1940
St. Elmo's 2nd Tomb, at 109 Grove Street as it looks today. It was purchased by Yale and is used as annex housing for Timothy Dwight College

Founded in 1889 as an unincorporated association within Delta Phi, St. Elmo was the third senior society (after Berzelius, 1848; and Book and Snake, 1863) at the Sheffield Scientific School, Yale's sciences and engineering college from 1854 to 1956. These Sheffield Societies were once populated by members from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes, who maintained separate residential quarters within their societies' tombs. St. Elmo's is a member of the “ancient eight consortium” which includes the seven other original societies at Yale: Skull and Bones, Scroll and Key, Wolf's Head, Book and Snake, Elihu, Berzelius, and Mace and Chain.

The society's original club house, at 111 Grove Street, was built in 1895.[1]

St. Elmo's 1st Tomb, 1895, at 111 Grove Street

In June 1905, the group incorporated under Connecticut state law to form the St. Elmo Corporation, with the primary purpose of holding the title to 111 Grove Street and financial assets.

In 1912, the society built a new clubhouse next door at 109 Grove Street. Dubbed St. Elmo Hall, it was constructed from designs by Kenneth M. Murchison that echoed an Elizabethan manor house.

St. Elmo's current Tomb, 1985, on Lynwood Place

In July 1925, the Omicron chapter of Delta Phi, and, in turn, the society, severed its ties with the national fraternity and became an independent organization.

The creation of Yale's residential college system in 1933 led some Sheffield organizations to sell their buildings, but St. Elmo's (along with some others) pressed on, incorporating itself as the Rhinelander Trust Association.[2]

In late 1956, the corporation lost its incorporation status due to clerical errors but reincorporated in 1964 as St. Elmo Incorporated.

In 1962, Yale, which had leased dormitory space in the Hall since 1945, bought the building from Elmo's. The university leased part of it to the society, with the understanding that the university would continue to do so; the hall is now known as Rosenfeld Hall.[3]

In 1965, a decade after the Sheffield school had been incorporated into Yale College, St. Elmo became a secret society in the traditional sense of Skull and Bones (1832), Scroll and Key (1841), and Wolf's Head (1883), which had selected its members from the Academic Department (the liberal arts college).[4]

In 1985, the university refused to renew St. Elmo's lease at 109 Grove Street, leaving the society with little time to move out and nowhere to go. The following year, St. Elmo moved to a building at 35 Lynwood Place. St. Elmo Society, Inc. owns the property, like other “landed” or “above-ground” societies that are run by private organizations.

As of 2008, the renamed Rosenfeld Hall is used for residential annex and classroom space, and most of the cryptic and historic areas are used for furniture storage or have been boarded up.[5]


John Ashcroft U.S. Attorney General and member of the 1964 delegation
Calvin Hill American football running back and member of the 1969 delegation

Notable members include:

See also[edit]


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-08. Retrieved 2009-03-04.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^ "Tombs and Taps, An inside look at Yale's Fraternities, Sororities and Societies". Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  5. ^ Guo, Jerry (2008-05-29). "Connecticut Journal: Inside Yale's secret societies". Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  6. ^ Quindecennial record of the class of 1895 Sheffield scientific school of ... – Yale University. Sheffield Scientific School. Class of 1895, William Usher Parsons – Google Books. 1912. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  7. ^ "Custer Consolidated Mining Company". 2000-06-12. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  8. ^ Nettleton, George He (1920-11-21). Yale in the World War, Part One – George He Nettleton – Google Books. ISBN 9780766196957. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  9. ^ J. Griffin. "Guy Hutchinson Page". Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  10. ^ Who's who in Finance and Banking – John William Leonard –. Who's Who in Finance Incorporated. 1922. p. 77. Retrieved 2013-03-01 – via Internet Archive. st. elmo society yale.
  11. ^[bare URL PDF]
  12. ^ "Paid Notice - Deaths QUARRIER, FITZHUGH - Paid Death Notice -". New York Times. 2005-03-02. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  13. ^ "Theo Albrecht – Forbes". 2012-04-18. Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  14. ^ EDWIN McDOWELLPublished: October 09, 1989 (1989-10-09). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Financial Analyst of Publishing Companies Who's Done a Thing or Two". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  15. ^ "jimbio". Archived from the original on 2009-02-28. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  16. ^ Sellers, Patricia (1988-09-26). "THE OLYMPIANS OF BUSINESS – September 26, 1988". Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  17. ^ "Yale '62 – Obituaries – Professor Robert Morse Crunden". Archived from the original on 2006-01-06. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  18. ^ "Office of the General Faculty Home Page". Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  19. ^ "Viewers of Le's records may be fired | Yale Daily News | Page 15924". Yale Daily News. 2009-10-07. Archived from the original on 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2013-03-01.
  20. ^ [2] Archived October 22, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-03-17. Retrieved 2011-04-29.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ Hill, Benjamin; Schwarz, Alan (2009-03-03). "Errors Cast Doubt on a Baseball Memoir". The New York Times.
  23. ^ [3] Archived May 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine