User:IndtAithir/Irving Literary Society, first cut

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Irving Literary Society is a historic Cornell [[college literary societies|literary societyWalter Lee Sheppard, A History of Phi Kappa Psi (1932)</ref> incorporated into the Cornell University Residence Program of 1966 when the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity moved from Cornell Heights to the University's West Campus.[1] Every initiate into the Cornell Chapter becomes, concurrently, a life-time member of the Irving Literary Society. The Society's 1200 members pursue a variety of professions, spread across the globe. They are tied to one another through the Internet; meetings are held twice a year in the Ithaca valley and periodic meetings are held at other venues, from time to time. The Society's younger members are socialized through their own Facebook site.

Tradition within the Irving claims the Society's creation was advanced in a conversation between Cornell’s first President, Andrew Dickson White, and future newspaper editor, timberman and real estate developer, John Andrew Rea.[2] in July 1868. This was recorded in correspondance between Rea and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. in 1932, "I had been a founder of [the] Irving Literary Society, reported the name suggested by White, blackballing a classic name.[3]

The University would not open its doors for another two and a half months, but New York's native son, Washington Irving, was offered as a role model to the first class of students. As Cornell historian Morris Bishop has written, the Irving was Cornell's first literary society and is now the oldest continuously operating institution on the Hill, "Many another club was formed. The "literary club," with its rooms, library, contests, and debates, had long been a feature of American college life. At Cornell the Irving Literary Association was founded only thirteen days after the University's opening, and the Philaletheian Society shortly thereafter.[4] Andrew Dickson White was coaching the Cornell Students to focus their efforts on the native arts, letters and culture of their new academic home in the Empire State.[5] The Irving was to serve as a platform extolling the virtues of Knickerbocker society.[6]

"The Irving” Today[edit]

With the collapse of Cornell’s competing literary societies in the late 1880s, “The Irving” portfolio was returned the Irving’s founders, the men of the New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Cornell. A brother was assigned the duties of “Dean” and the Chapter folded some of the activities of the Society into its program. Seated at the Gables of Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell, “the Irving” conducts periodic talks in the Great Hall overlooking Cayuga Lake and produces a newsletter, The New York Alphan (“NYAlphan”) as an official record of the Chapter’s life and times. Through the newsletter, the men of New York Alpha use their dual membership in the Irving Literary Society to foster academic excellence and a life of arts, letters and culture in themselves and their peers. Highlights of this Irving intellectual activity would include engagement with eminent theorists Woodrow Wilson (discussant, 1886); Thorsten Veblen (discussant, 1892); Frank Heyworth Hodder (discussant, 1932); Reinhold Neibuhr (discussant, 1933); Bronislaw Malinowski (discussant, 1936); F. Alan Fetter (discussant, 1902); Paul O'Leary (discussant, 1955 and 1965); Theodore J. Lowi (discussant, 1972), as well as an award-winning program of lectures, AY1987-1988, featuring critical thinkers on ethics and religion. The Gables Speakers series has also fostered professional dialogue designed to bridge the gap between Cornell’s educational opportunities and the transition from the campus to the Board Room.

In addition, the Chapter has used the Society on more than one occasion to recognize, as peers, those who would not qualify for membership (such as honorary candidates, not enrolled as an undergraduate at Cornell). Women are permitted to join the Irving.[7]

Each Pledge class of New York Alpha, Phi Kappa Psi is inducted into the Irving through a series of alumni Profiles and a cultural Brief, administered during their first year associated with the Chapter. Also, in the selection of furnishings for the Gables, the Group Sponsor preferences – to the extent it is able – the acquisition of furniture, arts and materials native to New York State. One recent acquisition was of two original art works by the emerging artist, Aaron Raitiere. The New York-made furnishing include work by Gunlocke, Harden and Kensington Wood. Other New York-based artists featured includes John A. Hartell, who was shown at the Kraushaar Galleries and for whom the John A. Hartell Art Gallery is named at the University.

The relationship between the fraternity and the literary society can be complex, membership in the latter reminding the member of the former that, as one senior alumnus remarked, “there is a time to put the Pong paddle down and pick up the slide rule, or whatever engineers use to calculate with these days.” To which a Gen X alumnus replied, “Actually, there is an existential aspect to Pong; and certainly a sociology linked to the last quarter century of American arts, letters and culture . . . “

Relationship to Other Cornell Organizations[edit]

After the collapse of the old literary societies which organized Cornell life in the 1870s and 1880s, “the Irving” and its co-societies were supplanted by other Cornell institutions, the growing popularity of Cornell Athletics and the new Senior Honorary Societies, Sphinx Head and Quill & Dagger, among others.[8] Following the Great War, a revolt by Independents formed the Cornell Student Council and, in a conservative reaction to that revolt, the Interfraternity Council (IFC) was formed distinct and separate from the Cornell Student Council.[9] This division in Cornell life was permanent, weakening the sense of a unified, representative estate of Cornell Students in their relations with the Cornell Faculty, the Cornell Alumni and, as agents of the Board of Trustees, University administrators.[10] The Cornell Student Assembly (successor, since 1981, to the Student Council) and IFC are now approaching a century of governance and the honorary societies have found a niche within the new, post-1922 Cornell order. One prominent member of the Irving was a member of “the Mechanics” stewarding Cornell’s Student Council during the constitutional collapse preceding the Willard Straight Takeover of 1969.[11]

Cornell Life at the Cornell Era’s Dawn[edit]

The doors to Cornell’s “North University” – the building later named White Hall for Andrew Dickson White on what is now the Quadrangle of the College of Arts & Sciences – opened at the peaking of an Industrial Age. The American Civil War had retired our period of Romantic idyll and the newborn Age of Machine would soon reorder many, if not all, social relations. Universities were changing. But on Ithaca’s East Hill the initial campus order reflected the older forms, forms of the antebellum period. Andrew Dickson White was a product of America’s Romantic Period, and his coaching of undergraduates reflected as much. Ezra Cornell, on the other hand, reserved the Romance for his private life and publicly had become master of the Machine. President White earnestly desired the older forms, the literary societies, on the Hill. Phi Kappa Psi organized the Irving Literary Association for him. It made its appearance, oddly, as “oration” was yielding to new media, notably the mass printed page:

Two singular phenomena have lately occurred in our American Colleges. One the sudden outgrowth and upstarting of innumer-able college papers and magazines all over the country, and the other, the universal decay and decline of the old literary societies. The rise of one keeps place with the decline of the other. The papers are yearly improving in character and increasing in number, while the two ancient debating societies which used to be the glory of every college, and everywhere growing feebler and feebler, and in many are totally defunct. Oratory has ceased to be the great influence, and the newspaper has taken its place. We have ceased to be the influential man, and the rising man, and the editor and writer, or publicist, as he is well called, is coming to be the public man par excellence. Whether the influence of the papers be as good as the societies or not, no one can tell, but when fifteen or twenty thousand of the rising young men of the country, placed under different local influences, and swayed by different sectional prejudices, exhibit such a decided tendency for writing, and against debating and oratory, we must admit that some grand national principles are at work, and acknowledge the movement as a “sign of the times.[12]

Two decades later and while he studied at Cornell, Phi Kappa Psi’s brother and future Professor Törsten Veblen (Claremont 1872)(1892) would categorize collegiate athletics and fraternities as vestigial structures, structures which hung on as the world changed. He described what would become two staples of the Cornell campus, its ancient Houses forming “the Greek system” and a collection of Varsity sports teams. Törsten also identified the demise of the literary society as a symptom of the English collegiate model’s decline in America, a decline Andrew Dickson White sought to further with the founding of the Cornell University. To Törsten, Cornell was emblematic of the new world order, and order dominated by individualism, scientific and technical expertise, and support for the process of manufacturing, trading and distributing goods and services. And he hated what he saw coming in the decades to come. The Romantics founding fraternities and literary societies, questioning adult commitment to civil liberties, and dreaming of foreign lands were simply on the back side of the change Törsten reviled.

Phi Kappa Psi’s local founder, Jack Rea (Ohio Alpha 1866)(1869), first met with his Faculty Advisor, Andrew Dickson White, three months before the start of the very first Cornell term. Rea arrived early; White was just back from Europe to prepare for Cornell’s opening. Rea was keen on founding the New York Alpha of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity; White was more interested in literary societies. So in late July 1868 Jack began work on the Irving Literary Association at the same time he was rushing the first class for New York Alpha. Both projects came to fruition on either side of the Winter Break; the Irving elected its first officers on December 11, 1868 and New York Alpha was founded, after the arrival of Foraker and Buchwalter from Ohio Wesleyan University, on January 9, 1869. Phi Kappa Psi’s brother John Andrew Rea was the first President of Cornell University’s Irving Literary Association; his Recording Secretary between September and December, 1868, had been Hendrick Van Lieuw Jones (1869)(1869) and his new Recording Secretary was Royal Taft (1869)(1871). These two Recording Secretaries of the Irving Literary Association and future brothers in Phi Kappa Psi would become two of the first taps into New York Alpha.

Among the other officers of the Irving Literary Association were two notable members of Cornell University’s “first Nations”, its Greek city-states organizing at the dawn of the Cornell Era:

Irving Literary Association[13]

At a meeting of the Irving Literary Association, on Friday evening, Dec. 11, 1868, the following officers were elected for the first half of the ensuing term: President, J.A. Rea, [14] ’69; Vice President H.S. Mowry,[15] Op.; Recording Sec’y, R. Taft[16]’71; Cor. Sec’y, A.B.C. Dickinson,[17]’71; Advocate, W. Thoman,[18]’70; Treasurer, A.N. Fitch,[19].’71; Librarian, J. Julius Chambers[20]’70; Curator, J.S. Butler,[21]’70; Member, Executive Com., J. Brigham,[22]’70.

H.V.L. Jones, Rec. Sec’y.[23].

For the most part, the founding of the Irving was a Phi Kappa Psi affair joined by Alpha Delta Phi. After the Irving was operating, Delta Kappa Epsilon would use the society to launch its Cornell Chapter, using Phi Kappa Psi as a model. Under the leadership of DEKE’s Julius Chambers ’70, that fraternity would also use their greater cohesiveness to oust Phi Kappa Psi from its position of leadership within the Irving. About three weeks after Phi Kappa Psi held its first rush during Winter of 1868-1869, brother Rea was also moving the Irving forward:

Irving Literary Association, Jan. 29, 1869[24]

Owing to the somewhat notable scarcity of orators, essayists and debaters, the literary exercises were deferred for one week. The interest then seemed to center on the consideration of a motto for the Association. After some discussion it was decided that Truth, although the rarest thing in the world, and in especial dispute in high places, should be our watchword. It then remained to choose in what language to express it. Champions of the English and the Greek alone appeared.

On the one hand, it was urged that as ours is a modern Institution, going counter to many of the time-established customs, so we should show our independence by ignoring precedents, and express our motto in English, a language understood, in a measure, by all our members.

On the other hand, the claims of the Greek were presented, in a manner that must have caused much joy among the shades of the departed. On counting the votes the supporters of Greek were found to be a majority, and Alethia was declared to be our motto.

The committee having under consideration the propriety of hold public exercises some time during the presence College year reported favorably.

A.B.C. Dickinson, Cor. Sec’y.

From this early Irving debate between these brothers of Phi Kappa Psi, Alpha Delta Phi, the emerging Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon and Cornell Independents, came a watchword which informed the operation of Cornell’s first “student union.” The Irving and its peer societies were becoming the means by which Cornell’s first students organized themselves in the years before fraternities took their place through the creation of Sphinx Head and Quill & Dagger. These young Cornell men chose “Truth” as the Irving’s watchword, realizing that it was a rare quality in human intercourse and in specific dispute in high places, among the American elite. At a different time and in a different place, another watchword other than Alethia may have emerged from the discourse of this band of literary brothers.

Early Irving Exercises[edit]

When officers were elected for the Spring term, Phi Kappa Psi’s brothers Buchwalter and Jones assumed leadership of the Irving, taking the positions of President and Chairman of the Executive Committee:

Irving Literary Association, March 26, 1869[25]

The following officers were elected for the opening official term. President, Morris Buchwalter; Vice President, T.A. Hamilton; [26] Corresponding Secretary, James O’Neill; Recording Secretary E. L. Parker;[27] Treasurer, A.C. Crosby; [28] Librarian, B.J. Hunting; [29] Curator, A.C. Almy; [30] Advocate, Wm. Thoman; Chairman of the Executive Committee, H.V.L. Jones.


The use of Washington Irving’s memory met a couple of needs on the Hill. Andrew Dickson White was anxious to prove to the Albany Legislature that the new Cornell University would extol the native arts and culture of New York State. Having an Irving Literary Society, named for the Empire State’s first citizen of arts and letters, was and obvious selling point. Given that Cornell Students were coming from far and wide to the new institution, having a common shared culture reference to the locale was another advantage. Cornell’s ties to Irving himself were rather thin in 1869. Andrew Dickson White attended one lecture by Washington Irving, at a summer gathering on Lake Saratoga. To Irving, White attributed his initial flirtation with “hero worship.” He was also encouraging the English Department to focus on New York’s literati, including James Fenimore Cooper and Washington Irving.

There was another, more eclectic connection between Cornell University and Washington Irving:

The Galaxy has been added to our exchange list. Among the interesting articles in the October number is one entitled, “Ten Years in a Public Library,” by Frank H. Norton. We extract the following:— “Mr. Daniel W. Fiske, my associate in the library, now a Professor in Cornell University, and myself, were the only witnesses of Mr. Irving’s will; and the simple manner in which it was brought about was characteristic of the man. One morning Mr. Irving entered the library and said to Mr. Fiske and myself, who were standing together, ‘I have carried my will in my pocket for two or three weeks, trying to get two or three persons together to witness my signature to it; will you oblige me by doing so?” Of course, we assented, and, stepping into a corner alcove, Mr. Irving drew from his pocket a rather crumbled and worn document, which he acknowledged to be his last will and testament; he then signed it; and Mr. Fiske and myself affixed our signatures as witnesses, when he thanked us, returned the paper to his pocket, and proceeded about his labors for the day. In the winter of 1869, shortly after Mr. Irving’s death, which occurred in November, Mr. Fiske and myself were called to go to White Plains, to prove our signatures.”[31]

Even though brother Morris had taken the reigns of the society, he deferred to brother Rea when the Irving Literary Association sponsored its first public event on the occasion of Washington Irving’s birthday:

Irving Literary Association, April 3, 1869[32]

According to announcement, the public exercises of the Society in commemoration of the birth-day of Washington Irving, were held in Library Hall, on the evening of April 3d, at 7½ p.m. The crowd began to gather at an early hour, and by the time appointed for opening the exercises, the large hall and gallery were entirely filled. A glance at the audience was sufficient to how that the most cultivated and literary portion of the community were present, and that the citizens of Ithaca are interested in literary attempts of the students.

The exercises were opened by an impressive prayer by the Rev. Dr. T.C. Strong. Then followed music by Whitlock’s band, which had been engaged for the occasion, and which during the intervals between speaking enlivened the audience with the most delightful airs.

The President, John A. Rea, [33] then announced an oration by G.F. Behringer, [34] N.Y. City. Subject: “Aristocracy of Sex.” Mr. Behringer began by stating that our social system is founded on the assumption, by one class of natural rights entitling them to rule over the other class, that there is no foundation for such an assumption except in the prejudice of man, and adherences to old usages, and that nothing has been shown to prove that woman is not equal to man in intellectual capacity. He made some beautiful and striking allusions to the Peasant Girl of Domremy, Catharine of Russia,and Queen Elizabeth. He closed by remarking that a new era was at hand when woman should stand equal, by the side of man. The delivery was easy and then manner of the speaker showed you that he was in earnest with his subject. After the music came an essay by D.J. Brigham, of Watkins, N.Y. Subj: “Our Capital and the War.” Mr. Brigham’s essay recalled some of the interesting reminiscences of the war, and the scenes enacted at our Capital, most prominent among which was the assassination of President Lincoln. These events were alluded to in singularly beautiful language, which aided by the voice of the speaker, produced a pleasing effect. Music.

The next exercise was an oration by H.V.L. Jones, of Lodi Center, N.Y. Subj: “Our National Tendency.” Mr. Jones said it was the tendency of nations as the grow stronger to widen the interval between rich and poor; that already there are evidences that the beginning of class system has arisen among us, and that the same consequences may follow which have destroyed other nations. The delivery was forcible, the speaker receiving the applause of the audience.

After the music, the audience was disappointed by the announcement of Mr. Halliday, [35] the debater of on the affirmative of the question: “Resolved, That the Protective Tariff of the United States should be abolished,” that it was generally known that his opponent, Mr. J.B. Foraker[36] of Hillsboro, O., had been sick for sometime, and as it would endanger his health to speak, he (Mr. Halliday,) had at once withdrawn from the debate.

Then followed a reading from Irving, by Mr. A.B.C. Dickinson, of Ithaca. This was probably the most entertaining feature of the programme. The selection was from Diedrich Knickerbocker’s history of New York, and exhibited that inimitable humor of which Washington Irving is so celebrated. The historian was of the opinion that were made to be eaten by spiders, and spiders were made to catch flies; that the heroes who have performed great deeds have existed only for historians, and that the historians have existed only to record those deeds, there being in this a peculiar fitness of things. The extract was read and appreciated by all.

The President then thanked the audience for their attention, the band for music, announced the closing oration by M. Buchwalter, [37] Chillicothe, O. Subject: “The Poles.” The oration referred not to the Polanders, as was expected by some, but to the extremes in moral and religious sentiment and action. The diversity of opinion which has appeared in human thought, was compared to particles of matter vibrating between the poles of a magnet. Some looking on the gloomy side of human nature tell us that man is totally depraved. Another, dwelling in the sunshine, can see nothing buy loveliness and purity. The easy grace of the speaker, the melody of his voice, and the sparkling thought of the oration, captivated the audience.

G.W. Farnham[38]

J. O’Neill,[39] Secretaries

As a partnership between Phi Kappa Psi’s founder of the New York Alpha Chapter and the first President of the Cornell University, the Irving Literary Association was an unmitigated success. The orations given on first Citizen Irving’s birthday give us an indication of the fellowship uniting these local Founders of Phi Kappa Psi. Brother Buchwalter was perhaps the most advanced in his thinking, a grasp of human philosophy which would appear again, and again, after he was elected to the Ohio judiciary in later years. The fact that he was seeking metaphors in Physics as early as the late 1860s proves that Andrew Dickson White had shattered the old English collegiate model, bringing the fresh insights of new research into a new concept, the American research University.

Sam Halliday was a brother in Alpha Delta Phi, and his balking at having to go up against brother Foraker became legendary. Alpha Delta Phi would compete against Phi Psi regularly over the next four decades, and win for the most part. After Psi Upsilon and DEKE succeeded in collapsing New York Alpha in the 1870s, Alpha Delta Phi drew Eastern and Western money to its door. The road to building “the Castle” was paved over the bones of Phi Kappa Psi. But in that bright, shining spring of 1869 – when all was new, and the earth reborn in the light of Radical Republican philosophy – Phi Kappa Psi was triumphant, and feared. It was not recorded in the Cornell Era, but Halliday (a future Cornell Trustee) balked in a big way prior to the scheduled great Tariff debate. Brother Foraker had returned from Rainsboro, Ohio and his sick bed a week before, shut himself up with a couple of Phi Psi pledges, and prepared as vigorously for the Irving debate as he would, in future years, preparing to take the floor of the United States Senate. Word spread across the Hill that the gregarious Civil War veteran was back, that the pledges had spit-shined the boots he worn at the battles of Wauhatchie and Bentonville, and that Joe Foraker was ready to take the dais. Halliday quaked, and back out unexpectedly at the event.

But even though Halliday balked, the topic the two contending brothers of Phi Kappa Psi and Alpha Delta Phi were to debate would dominate public discourse through to the Great Depression (1929-1942). And on the subject of the federal tariff levied on imports, both East and Middle West were of the same accord: tariffs, yes. These were strong manufacturing regions wanting to tilt the American consumers’ purchases toward American firms. Phi Kappa Psi’s counter argument to this would come in later years through brother Woodrow Wilson (Virginia Alpha 1879)(1886), a southron who saw tariffs as injurious to consumers.

Brother Henry Jones’ oration is especially important to note, given his role in establishing New York Alpha as the Sixth Brother and the subsequent role he played in organizing the Phoenix-riders to reestablish New York Alpha in 1885 with the brother of New York Delta at Hobart. Hendrik “Henry” Van Lieuw Jones (1869)(1870) was of old Knickerbocker stock, of the colonial past celebrated by Washington Irving and remembered through this event. He would go on to become a jurist in New York State, returning to Cornell to advise the new brothers in the 1880s. At the Irving birthday celebrarion, Hendrik spoke of the growing gap between rich and poor in America. This was an incredibly prescient topic for a Cornell undergraduate to speak upon in 1869. It would become a tenet of the Democratic Party over the next half century and would remain a public priority of both political parties into the 21st century.

And, of course, we should not forget the address delivered on the equality of women. It was given by Behringer, who was not a Cornell fraternity man. Indeed, even the Irving was segregated at this point. The Association would permit women to join in the 1870s, one society recognized that literary events were chaperoned activities. The concern over debauchery was high in the 1860s. But as a friend of the brotherhood, the future Reverend Behringer was advocating a level of equality that Cornell and Phi Kappa Psi would only come to recognize a century later. Again, among these intrepid Cornell literati of that first year the University was in operation, there were intellectual diamonds in the construction dust.

Brother and local Founder John Andrew Rea(Ohio Alpha 1866)(1869) would become in later years a great publicist, promoter of trade and development in the Pacific Northwest. Now that he had his platform at Cornell, he was hell-driven for another event. He was back at the telegraph office to Ohio Alpha’s president, tracking down Phi Kappa Psi brother, journalist and veteran of the Abolition crusade Theodore Tilton (Ohio Alpha 1868)(1869).[40] Getting Ted’s point of contact in New York City and a note of recommendation, Jack was able to book the great orator for the Wednesday prior to the Class of 1869’s commencement.

So during the Commencement Week for the Class of 1869, the Irving Literary Association and its peers invited Phi Kappa Psi’s Theodore Tilton of the New York Independent to speak, Wednesday evening before the Thursday graduation exercises. Society Members gathered with guests at the Cornell Public Library in downtown Ithaca. Library Hall was at standing room only as Ted, a genuine orator of the old school, attracted large audience. This was the crowning achievement of Jack Rea’s work in Ithaca. A brother in the Phi, the Kappa and the Psi, Tilton’s enthusiastic, magnetic power was carried by a good voice, well used, a fine presence, a command of words and thoughts. His frequent flashes of wit and brilliant telling, and his more serious discourse was inspiring and impressive. Brother Tilton spoke on the subject of “the human mind, and how to use it.”

The following day, brother Tilton stayed for the ceremonies as members of the Irving Literary Association and Phi Kappa Psi dominated the exercises. Brother Morris Buchwalter spoke on The Civil Sabbath Law; brother Joe Foraker spoke of Three Hundred Lawyers; and Jack Rea made A Plea for the Artist. Buck’s comments were so inflammatory that President A.D. White took to the platform before Foraker came to the dais and distanced the Trustees from Buck’s oration. With respect to prizes, Brother Thomas W. Spence took 3rd Prize, Botany and Jack Rea took 2nd Prize, Modern History.[41]

When the University’s doors opened for its second full year of operation during AY1869-1870, three of the local Founders of Phi Kappa Psi had departed. Rea, Buchwalter and Foraker would go down in Chapter history as the Founders; the ranks should also include Thomas Wilson Spence (Ohio Alpha 1868)(1870). Tom was at Cornell a year after the older three founders had departed, and was an active member of the Irving. Royal Taft (1869)(1871) was now spending less time on Irving affairs and more time advancing the Phi, the Kappa and the Psi outside the circle of Cornell literati. Also in Jack Rea’s place followed fellow brothers and Irving members Festus R. Walters (Ohio Alpha 1868)(1870), Hendrik Van Lieuw Jones (1869)(1870), William Penn “Chum” Ryman (1869)(1871), Abram Rappleye Townsend (1870)(1872) and Edgar Jayne (1870)(1873). In this last brother would come the end of Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell during the destruction of the first ring of fellowship.

But before the coming crisis, brother William “Chum” Ryman – as an editor of the Cornell Era – was promoting the new literary clubs as a center of Cornell life:

The University Literary Societies[42] At the opening of the college year it is proper that something should be said to our new students regarding the advantages afforded them for literary edification. In addition to the regular University exercises the students have organized two large literary societies, the Philalathian and Irving, which have been in active operation during the greater part of the last year, doing much good in affording facilities for the presentation of the efforts of the students. These societies have been organized to meet the wants of the great mass of students, and afford them encouragement by harmonious and combined actions. The manner by which we learn from the great speakers of the day may here be applied and in turn, by each, while the mutual criticisms of students will aid in rubbing off the rough corners and polishing into beauty that which was before uncouth. It is hoped that our young friends will avail themselves of these advantages by attending the regular meetings of the societies and becoming members. The Philalathians meet every Saturday evening at Deming Hall; the Irving meets at the same place on Friday evening.

The Irving as Pace Setter in Cornell Life[edit]

As the Irving Literary Association and the New York Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi entered their second academic year of operations, AY 1869-1870, Phi Psi had two brothers engaged in substantive literary work. Brother William Penn “Chum” Ryman (1869)(1870) was an editor of Cornell’s then-daily newspaper, The Cornell Era. And Phi Kappa Psi’s first post-graduate tap—brother and Chemistry Instructor Frank Wigglesworth Clarke (Harvard 1861)(1870)—took time from his heavy workload teaching students in AY 1868-1869 to write a guide to the geological features of the Ithaca valley, Views Around Ithaca. Brother Ryman wrote the review in the Cornell Era:

Through the kindness of its author we were recently made recipients of a copy of the work, just out, entitled “Views Around Ithaca.” Professor Clark, its compiler, has been connected with the University, for six months past, as assistant instructor in Chemistry. He has given himself but little time for this work; yet through untiring energy he has, so far as we know, given graphic delineations and accurate statements.

To the stoical looker-on, his occasional eulogistic paroxysms would seem enough to make dame Nature blush at so much flattery, but she has met vis a vis many a “lover at first sight,” ere this, and is used to compliments. The views of the author are given frankly and apparently from the heart, just as a real amateur would express himself on the spot, while to the more conservative it would doubtless seem that there were too many superlative degrees among his adjectives.

Monotony, which was doubtless unavoidable, and for which he neatly summarizes at the close, renders the book rather tedious to read except as a reference. For this purpose it is indeed valuable to anyone. The best of access to the most prospective points and finest scenery are, to the limited acquaintance, herein given. He makes you enthusiastic over the prospect whether you wish to be or not. Liberty is taken to name several points of interest for which the act of assigning a name had not as of yet been performed (at least to the authors knowledge), and we notice among these Three Fall Point in Fall Creek; Giant’s Castle above Taughannick, and Eagle Cavern in Newfield Ravine. In the latter place he claims to have explored new and grand beauties in the ways of Amphitheatres and falls. His descriptions have been exhausting in almost every particular as he mentions several feasts for botanists and geologists, as well as the artist, already spread. Only once does he speak of scenery merely from hearsay. But one does he demur directing you to the course and tell you to pick your way as best you can. His allusion to the incident on Cascadilla Creek last spring is a warning for all to keep from those immense cliffs he describes as rising “sheer up” to such enormous heights. Not only is the book of use to the tourist as a guide, but to re-read its descriptions in after years would be like passing a wet sponge over a dry painting to make it all fresh again. It is published by Andrus, McChain & Co., and it does them credit, looking back at some of the copies, we could not help but think of Professor Clark with his pa’s overcoat on. This however is the first edition and that promises to rectify that particular.

The illustrations are photographed and the typographical part is good, so far as we have noticed; but few errors having been served in our hasty review. We are glad there is a good and reliable work of this kind in Ithaca.[43]

Within the Irving itself, the regular meeting of the Irving Literary Society (the name changes to ‘Society” in its second year) in mid-October 1869 was deemed “A Feast of Reason”. Phi Kappa Psi’s Festus R. Walters (1869)(1870) gave a stunning oration, followed by a scholarly essay by J.R. Tallmadge. The debate was on the question:—”Resolved that Byron was not a great poet.” It was a one-sided question as far as the sympathy of the audience was concerned. But it was earnestly and vehemently argued in the affirmative by Wilmot, Phi Kappa Psi’s Thomas Wilson Spence (Ohio Alpha 1868)(1870) and O’Neill, and with less fervor from the supposed strength of their position by Almy, Salmon, brother Kirk Ingham (1869)(1870), Leffinwell, and Rogers on the negative. The question being settled in the negative, Byron was placed in rank with Milton, Shakespeare, Dante, and Goethe, which according to the Cornell Era, “no doubt will cause Byron, if his love of adulation has been interred with his bones, to rest easily in his coffin. The number of visitors was unusually large, and manifested great interest in the discussion. The topic for discussion for next Friday evening, is:— ‘Resolved that class feeling and distinctions should not be encouraged in the University.’ From the list of debaters, and the lively interest manifested in the subject on one or more occasions by the membersof ’72 and ’73, a warm time is anticipated. You are invited to be present.’[44]

In the same issue of the Cornell Era, it was evident why fraternities were growing so rapidly on the Hill:

We recollect having read in Beecher’s ”Norwood” that good nature is a matter of fact. He has it thus:—”Half the grace that’s going is but good food. Good steak and light bread is benevolence, and good coffee is inspiration and humor.” Who, then, can blame the students for the indignation manifested in the dining-hall a few days since. Ye fortunate ones who dwell in the Elysium below (the City of Ithaca) us know not the lot of the boarders at Cascadilla Hall. We will, O Editors of the Era, relate the causes which have led to this portraiture of life as it appears to the eyes of an humble Cascadilla Freshman. Many are the insults which have been offered to the palates of the unhappy mess-room boarders, yet the last week and a half has marked an era in the culinary department particularly memorable. We can believe, if necessary, that the moon is made of spoiled cheese, but that spoiled butter is a relished asticle of diet we never can. It is known that butter is a powerful absorbent:— why, then, was the butter kept in a chest with the soured dough and spoiled beef? If such is not the case, why is it kept at all—why not used as soon as made? Either horn of the dilemma would seem equally impaling. The cattle on the farm should be sufficient to furnish the mess hall with good milk and butter—if it is not, this is but another fault of the management which should at once be remedied. But why speak of the butter—why regret that proper care is not taken in cleansing the rice, etc., when worse evils beset us? On last Monday, horresco sefereus, corned beef was placed on the dinner table which was literally in a state of decomposition. The thought of that beef will haunt us to our dying day. A savage delight seems to overspread the countenances of the waiters as they set before us the most unsavory morsels. We confidently expected an open mutiny against the management of this department.While we relieved the Steward of all blame—not responsibility—in the matter, we by no means speak the sentiment of the great majority. His responsibility rests in the fact that it is his business to see that the food is properly prepared. We have not, perhaps, acquired a French taste sufficiently delicate to appreciate the excellence of tainted beef; if not, it is only one of our national peculiarities, to which a foreign taste will have to be subservient. The sentiment of the students seems to be:—”If the prices are not high enough, raise them!” If the institution can not be properly managed, turn the mess-hall into dormitories! Give us a change! We have had the change from bad to worse—give us a relapse to bad! Measures were immediately taken by the Commander with the interests of the students fully at heart, and the change came. The last week has been a decided improvement on the week before, and may we never return to such a state of living again. Signed, Am-i-a-cus

As the Winter Term 1869-1870, the regular election of officers of the Irving Literary Association were held. The utmost good feeling prevailed during the entire election, which resulted as follows: President, James O’Neill; Vice President, brother William. P. “Chum” Ryman of Phi Kappa Psi; Corresponding Secretary, H.W. Slack; Recording Secretary, W.H. Hayes; Treasurer, Myron Kasson; Librarian, Irving Hoagland; Curator, Phi Kappa Psi’s Hendrick Van Lieuw Jones; Chairman Executive Committee, E.F. Robb. A debate and a contest in other departments of literary excellence was being planned between the two literary societies, to be held in Library Hall downtown. The regular exercises for the following Friday, at Deming Hall on Ithaca’s State Street, were scheduled to the debate the question “Resolved, that increased wealth is beneficial to the morals of a people.” This was predicted to be will undoubtedly call out a lively debate. The public were invited to attend.[45]

Other associations were forming in the wake of the Irving’s founding. The Young Men’s Catholic Literary Association held a meeting in November 1869 at Deming Hall on Ithaca’s State Street. The subject of debate was, “Resolved, That the French Revolution exerted a beneficial effect on the civilization of Europe.” Besides the Philalatheian and Irving, other smaller societies were being started, some for the reason that the larger societies did not allow speakers to perform often enough, while some found that they could collect their thoughts in a large meeting. While it was generally believed that the Irving and Philalatheian Associations furnished the best means of literary culture, all were pleased to see smaller societies start which perhaps may act as training schools for the larger. [46]

As the Cornell Era opined, “[w]e are glad to note the organization of two or three small literary societies among the students, one of which holds its meetings in one of the University lecture rooms. These do in a humbler way, although perhaps as effectually, the work of the large societies and interest those who are not confident enough to appear before large audiences.” [47]

The contests between the two leading societies, the Irving and the Philalatheian, continued. [48] Brother William Penn “Chum” Ryman (1869)(1870) was becoming a larger campus literary leader through his editorship at the Cornell Era. The Irving itself continued to probe the difficult questions:

Editors of Era:—The Irving Literary Association had a fine meeting last Saturday night at the Clinton House Hall. An oration, finely delivered by Mr. Barnes, showed great preparation and study and was well received by the audience. A very instructive essay by Mr. _________ followed. The debate then commenced. The question, “Resolved that capital punishment ought to be abolished.” The debate was listened to with a lively interest and many participated. After quite a sharp context, the debaters on the negative side of the question had succeeded, by their arguments, in convincing the majority present that they were in the right. The society then went into executive session, and adjourned, after transacting necessary business. Thus passed one of the best meetings of the Irving.[49]

During the spring of 1870, Phi Kappa Psi’s initial labor on behalf of the Cornell University was reciprocated as Andrew Dickson White allocated a large room inside the center door of now-White Hall, to the right, for the use of the literary societies. At the time, White Hall was called “North University” and housed the engineering Department as well as the offices of Professor Goldwin Smith. Within “North University” was “Association, or Society, Hall”:

“This is a large and beautifully furnished room used for meetings of the two chief literary societies and the Students’ Christian Association. It is carpeted, and its walls are partly wainscoted in two woods, partly tinted. On them, supported by bronze brackets, are placed nine full-length bonze statuettes executed in Paris and representing the following historic characters: Washington, Franklin, Shakespeare, Newton, Moliere, Goethe, Cervantes, Dante and Michel Angelo. Interspersed between these are twenty large engravings, many of them proof impressions, depicting important scenes in the history of America and other countries. A half hour may well be devoted to their examination, since some of the imported ones are exceedingly rare in this country. Nor should the handsome desk on the president’s rostrum be neglected, noteworthy as it is for the elegance of its design and the thoroughness of its execution. All the fittings of this hall are of the most substantial kind.”[50]

It was here, in North University, that Tom Hughes – Member of Parliament – came to visit during AY 1870-1871. As the Cornell Era reported, “[t]he Societies’ Hall in North University is now filling up and will soon be completed in the course of the term. The work has already been progressing for some days. We congratulate the two literary societies and the Christian Association on their prospective hall which will be unsurpassed in elegance by the rooms of any like associations. The coast of preparing and furnishing the Hall will, we understand, be some thirteen or fourteen hundred dollars.” The funds were a direct gift from President White. [51]

As the Spring Term AY 1869-1870 opened (the University calendar ran from October to June in the 19th century, leaving harvest season open for work on the farm), many of Phi Kappa Psi’s active members on the Irving were preparing to graduate. One brother was still active in the leadership, Abraham Rappleye Townsend (1870)(1872) and another was keen on debate, Edgar Levi Jayne (1870)(1873):

Ithaca, April 30, 1870[52]

Editors of Era:—The first meeting of the Irving Literary Association for the present term was held at the Clinton House Hall last Saturday evening. After a few remarks by the retiring President, Butler, the newly elected President, Mr. Robb, then received the constitution, and thanking the members for the honor, resumed his seat. An excellent oration by Mr. Remington was then listened to, which showed considerable thought and study. The debate then commenced. The question was: “Resolved, That ladies should be admitted to our colleges.” The affirmative was sustained by Messrs. Osborne, [Phi Psi’s] Jayne, Butler and Hagar; and the negative by Messrs Warner, Raymond and Lockhart. The debate was spirited and one of the best we have ever had. It was decided on the vote, both as to the arguments presented and the merits of the question, in the negative. Society then adjourned for one week.

A.R. Townsend, Corresponding Secretary.

Brother Jayne’s essay was featured at the next meeting of the Irving:

Irving Literary Association, May 28, 1870

This was the evening for the installation of officers, and accordingly, Mr. Robb retired from, and Mr. Parker assumed the duties of president. Both gentlemen made pointed remarks in regard to the need of the association. Mr. Knibloe delivered an extemporaneous oration. Mr. Jayne favored us with an essay on “Secret Musings,” whose merit was increased not a little by the excellent manner in which it was read. In lieu of the regular debate, the association went into committee of the whole on the “Fenian invasion.” After the sorely oppressed emerald isle had been laid, bleeding before us by some, to excite our sympathy; and the foolhardy invasion of the Fenians had been sufficiently ridiculed by others, the business session commenced. Having lingered under this head until one gentleman remarked that we were encroaching on Sunday, the association adjourned for one week.

F.H. Remington, Corresponding Secretary.

By the close of AY 1869-1870, Phi Kappa Psi’s hold on the Irving Literary Association was slipping. Internal dissention was fragmenting the Chapter, itself, a breakdown that would lead to the founding of another Cornell institution, the Chi Colony of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. In the debacle that would be the founding of Psi U, Phi Kappa Psi would lose temporarily not only itself, but its hold on Cornell’s oldest student organization. Interestingly, the two active brothers in the Phi, the Kappa and the Psi last mentioned in the annals of the Irving Literary Association would later be listed as among the founding cohort of the Chi Colony, Psi Upsilon. The Irving would continue its debates on the Protective Tariff, [53] but the end of Phi Kappa Psi’s brilliant dawn was nigh. Just a year before, brothers Jack Rea (Ohio Alpha 1866)(1869) and Morris Buchwalter (Ohio Alpha 1867)(1869) presided as past-Irving Presidents over the society’s 1869 Commencement convocation, with brother Ted Tilton (Ohio Alpha 1868)(1869) as the lead speaker. For the 1870 Commencement convocation, it was Professor Goldwin Smith of the future Psi Upsilon speaking. In the audience were two brothers of Phi Kappa Psi, Townsend and Jayne, who would abandon Phi Kappa Psi for Psi Upsilon when the stiletto fell. [54]

During the quiet of the Summer Recess, 1870, Cornell University found itself in the odd position of being a tourist attraction. Visitors to Ithaca now climbed the Hill to see Mr. Ezra’s experiment. Among the site the visited was Society Hall of the Irving Literary Association, the crowning work of Jack Rea’s short year on the Hill:

The visitors, who during vacation, have wandered through the halls of the University, though in many and even the majority of cases persons of cultivation and refinement, have had among their number some few that evidently never enjoyed to the utmost the fine educational advantages of our beloved country. One gentleman, for instance, on being shown the large photograph of the Coliseum in the North Chapel, professed to understand exactly what was meant by the word Coliseum, but shortly inquired, with refreshing ignorance, where on the campus it would stand when completed. Another, on viewing the specimen of an American wild turkey, in the Ornithological collection, and unfortunately happening to see near it a label of a European Pheasant, was at first thunderstruck, but soon recovered sufficiently to explain to the lady at his side the supposed difference between the domestic bird of our own country and the apparent European specimen. Among other things, the copy of the Magna Charta has been described as a photo of the Declaration of Independence; the bronzes in the society rooms as the statuettes of Professors; the masons on the McGraw Building as student members of the labor corps; the laboratory buildings as the barracks; and the Clerk of the Cascadilla Hotel has been anxiously inquired for. [55]

The Irving Becomes a General Campus Institution[edit]

The following term, no member of Phi Kappa Psi was listed as involved in debate or among the Irving’s leadership. The founding class of DEKE is everywhere, having succeeded in their desire to move Phi Kappa Psi out of the Irving and take the prize for themselves. The debate turned more conservative, as well, the Society resolving that religious dissent exerted a bad moral influence and should be suppressed. With the departure of Phi Kappa Psi came an end to the Radical Republican presence among the Cornell Students, six years before the Grand Old Party would surrender the civil liberties of freed slaves in the South in return for the White House. At the very next meeting, it was resolved, oddly, that the tendency toward world societies was toward the new Democracy. [56] The Curtis Literary Society, a transcendental effort admitting women, became last member of the literati triumvirate in 1872. The three societies combined efforts to produce their own publication, the Cornell Review, in December 1873. The Review was the repository of original articles, essays, stories, Woodford orations, elaborate discussions, and poems. It was published first by representatives of the literary societies—the Irving, Curtis and Philalatheian —for which latter there was substituted in 1880 an "editor from the Debating club” after the collapse of the Philalatheian. The Curtis died out a few years later. The Curtis’ possessions were routed over the American History Section Room, provided to Professor Tyler. After 1883, the Cornell Review drew its editors from the Irving, the Debating club, and three appointed by the retiring Review board from each of the upperclasses: Sophomore, Junior and Senior. It was issued first as a quarterly in 1873, but with AY 1874-1875, the Review was a monthly.

But back to the departure of Phi Kappa Psi. Perhaps sensitive to the news leaking out about dissent within the new, more conservative Irving Literary Association in 1870, the now-DEKE centered leadership issued a call to membership through the Cornell Era:

Now, before concluding, let me say a few words to those members of the University who do not belong to a literary society. A large majority of you are pursuing a scientific course. You come here with little, if any, literary experience; and you find the literary training of the University, though as much as could be well introduced into a course of this nature, still far less than is desirable, if not absolutely necessary, to one who fills the position you expect to, after you graduate. I doubt if there is a man among you who will not be called upon, very often, to speak in public, as college graduates are generally supposed to be always ready to respond to such calls; and, unless you have had considerable experience in extemporaneous speaking, you will not only be painfully embarrassed, but will lose and excellent opportunity of adding to your reputation. If you miss this needed experience it will be your own fault; there never was a better opportunity than you enjoy, for acquiring it. There are good literary societies connected with the University. Speaking for “the Irving,” I can say that determined, earnest young men are always gladly received as members. By a late revision of the constitution, arrangement have been made for doing the business of the Association in the shortest possible time; thus giving all who wish a chance to speak on the debate. All students, whether members or not, cordially invited to call in and hear the literary exercises. [57] S.

The Irving’s Last Decade Before Absorption into Phi Kappa Psi[edit]

In May 1882, the Irving hosted Professor Shackford at Association Hall for a lecture which garnered the interest of a future brother, Professor Franklin Benjamin Sanborn (Harvard 1855)(1892).[58] Frank was a survivor (some said “leftover”) of the 19th century’s Transcendental Movement, an intellectual awakening that influence brothers such as Morris Luther Buchwalter (Ohio Alpha 1867)(1869) and Joseph Benson Foraker (Ohio Alpha 1867)(1869). Sanborn lectured frequently at Cornell University, and was eventually tapped into New York Alpha in the next decade. The Transcendental Movement was still popular at Cornell University in the 1880s and 1890s:

Professor Shackford's lecture at Association Hall last Friday evening before the Irving Society was characterized by the profound knowledge of Emerson's life and character which it displayed. The lecturer sketched in life-like colors the early history of the dead philosopher, his revolt against sects and parties and his entire emancipation from all bonds of habitude until "he was a school, a religion, a philosophy in himself." Emerson was called the "prophet of common-sense," and the application of the term to him who had sometimes been considered strange and mystical, was defended. His character of a transcendentalist was considered. His academic orations were examined and their beauties pointed out. The hopeful tone of all his writings was contrasted with the cynicism of Carlyle. During the lecture, Professor Shackford read various selections from Emerson's writings bringing out their grand beauty of thought and style, and showing that all were true poems in conception and effect. We should be glad to quote at length from the lecture, did not the fact that it is in part printed in the last [Cornell] Review render this unnecessary. All will be amply repaid for reading this lecture by the deeper insight into the life and work of Emerson which it will give them.

And how did Phi Kappa Psi itself return to the Irving in those last years of the literary society’s open and transparent tenure on the Hill? A year prior to the refounding of New York Alpha in 1885, future brother Harry Falkenau (1885)(1886) was hugely active in the Irving Literary Society. The literary event topics were similar, but the format somewhat changed. Papers were read more often than not; musical performances not uncommon. By the first year of Phi Kappa Psi’s reorganization, the Irving was meeting in “the Irving Hall”. Goethe and Whittier were popular authors, as was, of course, Irving. Membership was now open to men and women. The Irving was one of the few places one could mix, socially, with the opposite gender. The Society had begun, however, to focus on more narrow pursuits. It sponsored, for instance “Pronounciation Matches” in which members brought lists of words they had heard mispronounced on the campus and debated the correct articulation of the word. In January of 1887, Society meetings were changed in format again. The meetings had moved from Friday to Saturday when the Philalatheian Society closed. The program was divided into two two parts. The first literary, consisting of papers, talks, etc., which were opened to discussion by the audience; the second part social, interspersed with music and suitable divertisements.

But the the Irving was facing pressure on all sides. The Philalatheian had busted out in 1880; The Curtis followed in 1883. Among the Phoenix-riders of New York Alpha during the refounding of the Cornell Congress, which itself was cutting into Jack Rea’s old slice of Cornell life.[59] The Congress mimicked the National Congress in form and substance.[60] The Irving sought to check the Congress when it was straying into the senior society’s turf:

At the Mock Congress, Saturday evening a bill was presented making the coinage of silver free. After considerable discussion a bill relating to the admission of the southern part of Dakota as a state was passed. A challenge from the Irving Literary Society to a public debate was considered, it was accepted and the Congress decided that the Speaker appoint three debaters to make all arrangements, acting with a similar committee from the Irving. The debate will be held in Library Hall some time this term and promises to be very interesting.

The Philalatheian and Curtis were gone, or gone underground; but the debate continued with the Congress. No longer the center of Cornell life, the Irving became a little more frivolous. Extemporaneous addresses began to resemble Toastmasters, with topics such as “How to Run A Sailboat.” Readings were made from current fiction, and poetry. The Critic still gave his weekly (and scathing) reviews of recent publications; and brother Harry Falkenau (1885)(1886), among others, provided music. The end of the weekly, public meetings came as a surprise. Interest and leadership was strong through the Spring Term, 1887, when future Cornell professor Rowlee was the last President, Irving Literary Association, being the 18th President since Phi Kappa Psi’s John Andrew Rea (Ohio Alpha 1868)(1869. Then the lights went dark in Society Hall. On May 20, 1887, the last public debate of the Irving Literary Association was held on the vital question,

Resolved, is plagiarism morally wrong?

A week later, a business meeting was held to elect the next semester’s officers, the members went home for Summer Break, and never returned to the dais. The public collapse was so odd that the Cornell Daily Sun ran an editorial during the Fall Term, AY 1887-1888, asking what happened to the Irving Literary Society?

[W]here are the active members of the Irving? Don't all speak at once . What is the matter with literary societies at Cornell, and more especially where is the Irving ? Up to the last Commencement [1886,] the Irving had a prosperous and profitable career. Was the long heated term of the summer too much for it ? Did it dose off into some drowsy Rip Van Winkle torpor from which it will return in genuine Sleepy Hollow fashion or has it relapsed into the limbo of the busted ? Every other society has held several profitable meetings and the Freshman class has held probably more meetings than the whole business combined, while new clubs and societies are being organized every week.

Cornell’s oldest student-organized entity had just vanished.[61]

Or did it? At the time of the Irving Literary Association’s evaporation, Phi Kappa Psi was on a roll with respect to literary positions on the Hill. The Cornell Daily Sun and the Cornellian staffs were both manned by brothers of the New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. There was a meeting of Phi Psi’s brothers working within the Cornell Congress and the brothers on the literary staffs; no one wanted the Irving to fold, but the Cornell Congress, frankly, was cutting deeply into student interest in the organization.

So a deal was made.

Rather than continue public literary exercises in Association Hall, Phi Kappa Psi would “take back” the Irving, and serve as stewards of the University’s oldest student organization. The position of “President” was renamed “Dean”, and Elwin Brockway Bentley (1887)(1891) was asked to be the first Dean.

List of Irving Literary Society Members featured on Wikipedia[edit]

John Andrew Rea

Morris Lyons Buchwalter

Joseph B. Foraker

Thomas Wilson Spence

John Patterson Rea

Festus Walters

Frank Wigglesworth Clarke

Theodore Tilton

Carl Schurz

Margarethe Schurz

Ehrick Rossiter

William T. Sherman

Don Carlos Buell

William Rosecrans

Adolph von Steinwehr

Harris J. Ryan

Mario García Menocal

Frank Heyworth Hodder

Woodrow Wilson

Florence Kelly

Franklin Sanborn

Thorsten Veblen

Frank Fetter

Henry Adams

Henry Livingston French

Reynolds Beal

DeWitt H. Fessenden

Frank Morgan

John A. Hartell

Reinhold Neibuhr

Bronislaw Malinowski

Paul O'Leary

Franchot Tone

Alva Kelley

Steve Hadley

Jon P. Anderson

Enrique Martinez Celaya

John F. Kennedy, Jr.


  1. ^ Cornell University Residence Plan of 1966 (Schedule I)(Apr. 16, 1966) at Appendix A, May 3, 1966.
  2. ^ Walter Lee Sheppard, A History of Phi Kappa Psi (1932)
  3. ^ Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., The History of New York Alpha of Phi Kappa Psi (1932) at 3.
  4. ^ Morris Bishop, A History of Cornell (1862) at 138.
  5. ^ Walter Lee Sheppard, A History of Phi Kappa Psi (1932)
  6. ^ Walter Lee Sheppard, A History of Phi Kappa Psi (1932)
  7. ^ Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity is open to male members matriculated at a University. The New York Alpha Chapter at Cornell respects the National staff’s membership rules but New York Alpha is also organized under the Cornell University Residence Plan of 1966, which does permit the organization of self-governing Group Houses by women. So system-wide, Phi Psi at Cornell is respectful of diversity and has enthusiastically supported the rights of Cornell women. The recolonization of the sororities Kappa Alpha Theta and Alpha Chi Omega in the 1980s were specific causes in which New York Alpha lobbied senior University officials for the restoration of housing initially designated for the use of Cornell women, benefiting from self-governance. As the ‘60s debate to desegregate fraternities and sororities by gender subsided in the mid-1980s, the issue transitioned – especially during the advent of the AIDs pandemic and the collapse of the Sexual Revolution – to the parameters governing University residence policy, and where and when coeducational living arrangements were healthy for Cornell Students. Properly supervised, fraternities and sororities do have a role in a constellation of Cornell Student choices regarding residency.
  8. ^ See Bishop, A History of Cornell (1962) at 343.
  9. ^ New Fraternity Council Obtains Unanimous Vote, Cornell Daily Sun (Nov. 24, 1922); Student Council Orders Meeting of Fraternities, Cornell Daily Sun (Nov. 23, 1922). An Interfraternity Council, Cornell Daily Sun (March 7, 1922).
  10. ^ Ayala Falk, Univ. Assembly to Assess Role on Campus, Cornell Daily Sun (Sept. 3, 2009) at 1; Opinion, Steven Zhang, Patching Up the Student Assembly, Cornell Daily Sun (Apr. 20, 2010) at 1; Opinion, Peter Finocchiaro, Brok-Blocked: A Primer in S.A. Shenanigans, Past and Present , Cornell Daily Sun (March 3, 2010); Opinion, Michael Zuckerman, One Person, One Vote? Why the Student Assembly Falls Short, Cornell Daily Sun (Sept. 15, 2008); Opinion, David Wittenberg, Senior Editor, The End of the Student Assembly, Cornell Daily Sun (Oct. 25, 2007).
  11. ^ Michael Rosenbaum, Experimentation Current Phase in Student Gov’t, Cornell Daily Sun (Oct. 4, 1968).
  12. ^ The Cornell Era (Sept. 29, 1869) at 19 citing The Brunonian.
  13. ^ The Cornell Era (Dec. 19, 1868) at 5.
  14. ^ Founder, New York Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell.
  15. ^ Returned to Rhode Island, and the family farm.
  16. ^ Royal Taft (1871) succeeded John Andrew Rea (Ohio Alpha 1866)(1869) as the second President of the New York Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell University.
  17. ^ Asa Bowles Clark Dickinson; 1868-70; 6; A.; Ithaca. Died Feb. 25, 1871.
  18. ^ Died. From Crestline, Ohio; was rushed to Phi Kappa Psi but did not join.
  19. ^ Joined Jack Rea in the northwest, practicing law in the State of Washington.
  20. ^ Chambers became an author and journalist in New York City, after using Jack’s model to found Delta Kappa Epsilon at Cornell. In the process, he also engineered a DEKE takeover of the Irving, pushing Phi Kappa Psi out just prior to Psi Upsilon convinced the non-Jewish brothers to abandon the Charter in favor of a “Christian” fraternity.
  21. ^ Journalist; died May 13, 1891 at Asheville, North Carolina.
  22. ^ Alpha Delta Phi; Future librarian, Iowa State Library.
  23. ^ The sixth brother of Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell.
  24. ^ Cornell Era (Feb. 6, 1869) at 3.
  25. ^ The Cornell Era (Apr. 3, 1869) at 5-6.
  26. ^ Arrived from Athens, Georgia, stayed a year and was never heard from again.
  27. ^ Future manufacturer at Buffalo, New York.
  28. ^ Arrived from Roxbury, New York, studied for three semesters and was next heard fro when he died Oct. 20, 1899 at Delhi, New York.
  29. ^ Studied a year, died at Lockport, New York in 1885.
  30. ^ Future teacher at Port Jefferson, New York.
  31. ^ The Cornell Era (Sept. 29, 1869) at 18.
  32. ^ The Cornell Era (Apr. 3, 1869) at 5-6.
  33. ^ Founder, New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Cornell University.
  34. ^ George Frederick Behringer took orders, serving as a clergyman in Nyack, New York.
  35. ^ Future Cornell Trustee, District Attorney for Tompkins County; Corporation Counsel for the City of Ithaca, and New York State Assemblyman.
  36. ^ Founder, New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Cornell University.
  37. ^ Founder, New York Alpha Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity at Cornell University.
  38. ^ Future boot and shoe manufacturer at Buffalo, New York.
  39. ^ Future attorney at Neillsville, Wisconsin.
  40. ^ The effort to line up Brother Tilton was a second run; Jack tried to get brother Charles Sumner (Indiana Alpha 1867)(1870) through Joe Foraker’s connections with future brother Carl Schurz (Heidelberg 1849)(1870). Sumner was unable to show due to both declining health and pressing concerns in Washington, D.C. But both he and Carl would tap into Phi Kappa Psi at Cornell the next year (1870).
  41. ^ The Cornell Era (Sept. 15, 1869) at 3.
  42. ^ The Cornell Era (Sept. 22, 1869) at 12.
  43. ^ Professor Clark’s New Book, The Cornell Era (Sept. 22, 1869) at 12.
  44. ^ The Cornell Era (Oct. 20, 1869) at 43.
  45. ^ The Cornell Era (Nov. 3, 1869) at 59.
  46. ^ The Cornell Era (Nov. 17, 1869) at 76.
  47. ^ The Cornell Era (Feb. 2, 1870) at 133.
  48. ^ The Cornell Era (Feb. 9, 1870) at 140.
  49. ^ The Cornell Era (March 23, 1870) at 189.
  50. ^ The Cornell Era (June 29, 1870) at 275.
  51. ^ The Cornell Era (Apr. 27, 1870) at 212. The room was recently renovated and is now the Dean’s Seminar Room, first floor to the right as you walk in the center door of White Hall. As for the statues, they were cast to the wind. Francis Bacon was last seen behind the bar at Theodore Zinck’s; George Washington was rumored to be somewhere in the labyrinth of rooms at Alpha Delta Phi.
  52. ^ The Cornell Era (May 11, 1870) at 229.
  53. ^ The Cornell Era (June 29, 1870) at 277.
  54. ^ The Cornell Era (June 29, 1870) at 261, 277.
  55. ^ The Cornell Era (Sept. 16, 1870) at 5.
  56. ^ The Cornell Era (Nov. 25, 1870) at 82.
  57. ^ The Cornell Era (Nov. 11, 1870) at 68.
  58. ^ Professor Shackford at Association Hall, Cornell Daily Sun(2:140)(May 22, 1882) at 1.
  59. ^ Cornell Congress, Cornell Daily Sun (6:110)(Apr. 20, 1886) at 1.
  60. ^ The Cornell Debating Association, or “CDA” is the closet modern equivalent to all these 19th organizations. The CDA is a student organization that runs Cornell's Parliamentary Debate team. They spend our time practicing public speaking, organizing on-campus debates, and preparing for weekly national debate tournaments across the country. They meet not in Society Hall, but Rockefeller 122. Anyone is welcome to join regardless of prior experience. Outside of Cornell, the CDA is a member of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), which takes the club to other member schools most every weekend for competitions. Cornell hosts a tournament annually. Parliamentary debate differs from Lincoln-Douglas or Policy debate, though many skills can be cross-applied. It is an off-topic, extemporaneous form of competitive debate which stresses rigorous argumentation, logical analysis, quick thinking, breadth of knowledge, and rhetorical ability over preparation of evidence and research. In short, they don't spend hours on research and are free to debate most any topic.
  61. ^ Comments, Cornell Daily Sun (8:32)(Nov. 10, 1887) at 1.

External links[edit]