There’s Celebrating in Columbia, SC – #‎SisMullisishappyhappy‬!

Two years ago, I made a promise to Joanne and Brenda, two Pi Phi friends. We were in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, celebrating the centennial of Pi Beta Phi’s commitment to literacy. A statue was being unveiled on the Arrowmont property and as we were standing around chatting, I promised them that if their chapter was ever reinstalled I would be there.

Their chapter, the South Carolina Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi at the University of South Carolina, is being rechartered this weekend. Unfortunately, circumstances do not allow me to attend. I will not be there and I feel awful about it.

I first heard of Sis Mullis decades ago. I was a new member of the Alumnae Advisory Committee (AAC) at the University of Michigan’s Pi Beta Phi chapter. Sis, a University of South Carolina alumna, was a Pi Phi volunteer. The Michigan Beta AAC chairman mentioned Sis’s name here and there. In my mind I pictured Sis as a tall, proper, southern belle with a hairdo adding a few extra inches to her stature. When I finally met Sarah Ruth “Sis” Mullis in 1984, I realized my mental picture was about a foot or so off the mark. But she was all that I’d  heard about and more.

I had the sheer luck and pleasure of working with her when I was Director of Collegiate Programming and she was my Grand Council counterpart. In those days before texts and e-mails, Dan and the kids knew that when the phone rang and it was Sis, I’d be busy for a while. And there would be a lot of laughing going on.

Sis and me at the 2013 Pi Beta Phi Convention Photo by Amanda Pilger)

Sis and me at the 2013 Pi Beta Phi Convention (Photo by Amanda Pilger)

Sis has attended every convention since she was initiated and she has been to more chapter installations than any living Pi Phi. She, along with Barbie Tootle, shared the 1965 Amy Burnham Onken Award, Pi Phi’s highest collegiate honor. I kid her that the Grand Council members who made the decision to have co-winners that year really got their money’s worth. She has served in every capacity and was able to squeeze in two years as Grand President before she termed off of Grand Council.

At her very first convention in 1962, Sis got to meet two of the Pi Phi greats, Grand President Emeritus Dr. May Lansfield Keller and Honorary Grand President Amy Burnham Onken. She is our link to those women who, in turn, met and knew most of the Founders.

While I feel awful about breaking a promise I made, I know Sis, Brenda, Joanne, and their South Carolina Alpha sisters will be having a fabulous time this weekend. And I can’t wait to hear all about it. A facebook post this morning from another Pi Phi  friend sums up my thoughts exactly:

On the road again. Flying from Columbia MO to Columbia SC. Looking forward to welcoming Pi Beta Phi SC Alpha chapter back to campus.‪#‎installation‬ weekend ‪#‎SisMullisishappyhappy‬!

Sis Mullis with her South Carolina Alpha pledge class sisters. Sis is front and center.

Sis Mullis with some of  her South Carolina Alpha sisters. Sis is front and center.


The Rotary Club of Carbondale - Breakfast is celebrating its 25th anniversary tonight. As the incoming president, I will be there tonight celebrating instead of enjoying a Cookie Shine with my South Carolina Alpha friends.

The Rotary Club of Carbondale – Breakfast is celebrating its 25th anniversary tonight. As the incoming president, I will be there instead of enjoying a Cookie Shine with my South Carolina Alpha friends but my thoughts will be with the women in Columbia, South Carolina.

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Fran Favorite, Pi Beta Phi, Women's Fraternity History | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The @GLOHistory Twitter Feed – a ΘΧ Mustang, ΦΚΘ, ΧΩ’s PBS Inquiry , a New ΦΚΨ House, and a ΠBΦ Connection

Some days I have no idea what I will write about. Yes, I have a calendar with the founding dates and other important events and I consult it regularly. Somedays, I just go to the twitter posts I favorited.

needs your help to celebrate Founders Day! Let’s fill up the social feeds with .

Today is Founders’ Day for Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for students in two-year college programs. Eligible members can be enrolled in programs at community and junior colleges or in Associate’s programs at four-year institutions. Patterned on the four-year senior honor society, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Theta Kappa has its roots in Missouri and specifically at eight junior colleges for women. Only one of those first eight chapters is still in existence; it is the Epsilon chapter at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. Cottey College is the only college for women owned by women (the P.E.O. Sisterhood, a Philanthropic, Education Organization, oversees the college). (To read more see @PHTLove


I wrote four histories of GLO chapters at the University of Illinois for the Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing. The most recent was the Gamma Mu chapter of Sigma Nu. I’ve also written the history of the Kappa Alpha Theta chapter, the Pi Beta Phi chapter (both founded on the campus in 1895 although the Theta charter was transferred from Illinois Wesleyan and has an earlier date on it), and the Kappa Kappa chapter of Sigma Chi. I love reading about the history of the University of Illinois and that’s why I stopped and clicked on this link about the history of the Phi Kappa Psi chapter at Illinois. 

The Shield account of the 1904 founding of Illinois Delta of at the University of Illinois:

The chapter house has been demolished and a new house, incorporating some of the old house, is being built. To view what is taking place with the house, see   


One of my first cars was an old Mustang convertible. As I recall it was painted an Earl Scheib (“I’m Earl Scheib, and I’ll paint any car, any color for $19.95. No ups, no extras.”) yellow. When I left for college, it was given to my sister. The demise of the Mustang was a story she and her high school friends loved to tell. I don’t ever recall hearing the full story because there were so many tangents to it. In any event, yesterday was a memorable day in the history of the Ford Mustang.

Lee Iacocca

The Ford Mustang makes its debut.

Theta Chi Facebook page

Another post celebrating the 50th year of the Ford Mustang, developed by Brothers Lee Iacocca, Beta Sigma/Lehigh 1945 and Hal Sperlich, Alpha Gamma/Michigan 1951: In this debut photo from the World’s Fair in 1964, we see Brother Iacocca, then-Ford Division Manager leaning on the hood. Then-Product Planning Chief Hal Sperlich is at center in the back row. To read more about the development of the Ford Mustang and the roles played by Iacocca and Sperlich, check out:…/mustang-50-anniversary-bi…/7782681/


My friend Lyn Harris is the Chi Omega Archivist. She posted about a recent e-mail she had from the staff of the PBS show Finding Your Roots. Here is her account “So… it’s an exciting day when the Chi Omega Archivist gets to help PBS!! Indeed, Gloria Steinem’s mother Ruth, was a Chi Omega at Xi Delta/Univ of Toledo. She was initiated in 1947 and had probably been a member of the local group in the 1920s which became Xi Delta.” And below is her twitter post about it.

So contacted me for help in researching Gloria Steinem’s Mom


Linda Langford, Ph.D., is one of my daughter’s three pledge sisters. They were convention initiates at the 2011 Pi Beta Phi convention. The story behind her initiation is a heartwarming one. At a meeting during the  Novak Institute for Hazing Prevention, a Pi Phi staff member noticed Linda was wearing a Pi Phi ring. Asked if she was a Pi Phi, she replied that she was not, but her mother was. Her mother had recently died and she wore the ring in her memory. That story was enough to get the ball rolling on an alumna initiation.

Dr. Langford leads Suicide Prevention Social Media chats and the post below is from one of those chats.

I  co-authored a paper on messaging about military/veteran suicide, in case anyone’s interested:

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Chi Omega, Cottey College, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Theta Kappa, Pi Beta Phi, Theta Chi, University of Illinois | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Door Closes – the Last Lombard College Alumni Dies, R.I.P. Ray Truedson

Galesburg, Illinois. was once home to two colleges. Knox College is the oldest. It was founded 14 years before Lombard College, which was established by the Universalist Church in 1853. David Starr Jordan, of Indiana University and Stanford University fame, taught at Lombard for a year. Alumnus Carl Sandburg earned money for school by ringing its bell.*

Lombard College is where Alpha Xi Delta was founded. Pi Beta Phi’s second chapter in Illinois was founded there, too. Pi Phi’s fourth chapter in Illinois was chartered at nearby Knox College. When Lombard College closed in the midst of the Depression, there was never any formal merger of the two colleges, and the Greek-letter organizations did the best they could to keep the Lombard chapters alive. For Pi Beta Phi it meant merging the chapter into the Illinois Beta-Delta Chapter, the only Pi Phi chapter with a dual Greek-letter name. I remember reading something about the Sigma Nu chapter at Lombard. A few years before the closure, the chapter built a new house. Once Lombard closed, the men were suddenly living a few miles away from the Knox campus. It caused problems for the chapter.

Lombard’s last class graduated in 1930. There were 83 students students – 30 seniors, 22 juniors, 28 sophomores and 3 freshmen – who transferred to Knox. The last of them graduated in the Knox College class of 1933. All 7,500 Lombard College alumni and their records were “adopted” by Knox College and the alums were invited to Knox events.

A week ago, on November 10, 2014, Ray Truedson, the last living alumnus of Lombard College, died at the age of 104. A door closes for Knox College. I offer my sincere condolences to his family and Knox College friends.

I just returned from my first alumni event, the annual get-together of the Chicago FYC, held this year at Cantigny Park. Forty Chicago FYC members braved the 100+ degree heat to attend the luncheon and visit with one another and with me. One very special attendee was Ray Truedson, Lombard Class of 1932 and one of four remaining Lombard alumni. Ray was born 101 years ago on February 15th -- Founders Day for both Knox and Lombard! We concluded the event with the Knox Fight Song, after which Ray did a solo on the Lombard Fight Song for a few of us. I was touched by the depth of the friendships among the Knox alums I met and grateful for the kind welcome I received. Many of the women were especially pleased that Knox has appointed a woman president -- this is the natural evolution of Knox's mission of access, so I am honored to be here at this time in Knox's history.

This picture, posted on July 22, 2011, is from the Facebook page of Dr. Teresa Amott, the Knox College President, “I just returned from my first alumni event, the annual get-together of the Chicago FYC, held this year at Cantigny Park. Forty Chicago FYC members braved the 100+ degree heat to attend the luncheon and visit with one another and with me. One very special attendee was Ray Truedson, Lombard Class of 1932 and one of four remaining Lombard alumni. Ray was born 101 years ago on February 15th — Founders Day for both Knox and Lombard! We concluded the event with the Knox Fight Song, after which Ray did a solo on the Lombard Fight Song for a few of us.”


Happy Founders’ Day to Omega Psi Phi and Delta Phi, founded on this day in 1911 and 1917, respectively.

* A search of “Lombard College” in the little search box on this page will bring up the past posts about the college.

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Fran Favorite, Knox College, Lombard College | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alpha Sigma Alpha’s Founders’ Day and an Outstanding Educator, Freida Joy Riley

Alpha Sigma Alpha was founded on November 15, 1901 at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. It is the youngest of the Farmville Four, the four National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations founded on that campus. The other three organizations are Kappa Delta, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and Zeta Tau Alpha. The Alpha Sigma Alpha founders had been invited to join some of the other sororities on campus, but they wanted to stay together. So they found an organization of their own. The five, Virginia Lee Boyd (Noell), Juliette Jefferson Hundley (Gilliam), Calva Hamlet Watson (Wootton), Louise Burks Cox (Carper) and Mary Williamson Hundley, created Alpha Sigma Alpha.

Years ago, on one of our drives east to visit family, we listened to Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam, Jr. The National Museum of Education has an Honorary Registry of Education. Freida Joy Riley. who taught at Big Creek High School in Coalwood, West Virginia, is on that registry, added on December 1, 2005 by Andrew R. (no last name provided). Homer Hickam added these thoughts:

            A few years ago, I wrote a memoir titled Rocket Boys which has since gone on to become a classic.  Rocket Boys (from which the film October Sky was based) is about life in a West Virginia coal town during the 1950’s and centered on my high school days when some friends and I decided to become rocket-builders.   One of the folks I wrote about was our chemistry and physics teacher, a young woman named Freida Joy Riley.  Because of the book and movie, Miss Riley, as we knew her, has taken on near-icon status amongst teachers across the nation and the world. Wherever I go, I am thanked by people of all walks of life, but especially by teachers, for telling her story.  At long last, they say, someone has written about a real school teacher, one who not only fought for her students, but insisted that they learn.
            In Rocket Boys, I quote Miss Riley as saying, “All I’ve done is give you a book. You have to have the courage to learn what’s inside it.”  She had just provided me with a book about rockets that required a thorough knowledge of calculus and differential equations to understand.  Although I was having trouble with algebra at the time, Miss Riley believed in me and so I believed in myself.

            Miss Riley was not an easy teacher.  She was a tough teacher.  She gave lots of homework and required each of us to arrive in class prepared and ready to discuss the day’s lessons.  Miss Riley paid attention to all her students, not just her missile-building boys.  She was fierce in her belief that going to school was the job of her students and, therefore, sacred.  To do a poor job was simply not acceptable.  When I got arrogant because of my rocket successes, or in trouble for my failures, she kept me on an even keel with just a few words of appropriate encouragement and a form of tough love.  Even when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she never stopped teaching.  At the last, she was carried by stretcher to her classroom.

            Miss Riley died while I was on military duty overseas. When I found out, I wished then that I had told her how much she meant to me.  At least, I was able to do that retroactively in Rocket Boys.  I am most happy that she lived long enough to see Neil Armstrong step on the moon.  I trust she thought of her Rocket Boys when he did.

Freida Joy Riley was 31 years-old when she died. She was teaching at the same high school from which she graduated. An initiate of the Alpha Sigma Alpha chapter at Concord College, she did graduate work at Ohio State University and West Virginia University. There are several awards named in her honor. One is given by her college. Another is sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and administered by the Partnership for America’s Future. And then there is an award given by and given to a member of her sorority.

Alpha Sigma Alpha’s Freida Riley Award for Teaching Excellence is given to one of its members, in good standing, who is a full-time or retired K-12 school teacher, with at least three years of teaching experience. The Award for Teaching Excellence demonstrates Alpha Sigma Alpha’s commitment to a quality education and recognizes outstanding Alpha Sigma Alpha educators. The women who are nominated embody Riley’s qualities of  “inspiring students to do their best, showing care and respect for students, and ‘going the extra mile’ to make their students’ experiences memorable.” 

Freida Joy Riley

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Alpha Sigma Alpha, Founders' Day, Fran Favorite | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Books Find Me!

Last weekend was spent working at the Friends of the Carbondale Public Library Book Sale. Through our book sales, the “largest in southern Illinois,” according to our claims, we are able to help the Library fund projects and events. Our stock of books depends, as I like to say, on “who moves, retires, or dies.”

As I was straightening up the books, I came across this student directory from Tulane University, circa 1958-59.

photo (52)

Never mind that someone has been carting this around and giving it room in their home since then, and never mind that none of the phone numbers will connect you to the person who had the number in 1958, or that few of the businesses which advertised are still there (my educated guess) – just look at the back cover of this booklet! What a surprise to see the words “Pi Beta Phi”!


My anthropologist friend and I have headed the sorting/logistics part of the book sale for more than a decade. For years, she had been nattering about alphabetizing the books. I kept telling her it was too overwhelming to even contemplate. One day I told her that if she felt strongly about it, she should just do it. And she must have known that she had practically worn me down since she had already loosely alphabetized the “Mystery Room.” The patrons who loved mysteries thought the concept was wonderful and we’ve been putting all “A” authors together, all “B” authors together, etc. ever since. We also do the same to the fiction section and we loosely alphabetize the biographies by subject. The latter is my job because bio is one of my favorite subjects. I came across this book as I was doing this job. I shirked my responsibilities and started to read it on the spot. After a chapter, I knew I had to purchase it, because I needed to get back to work.

photo 2 (8)Joyce Carol Oates is also an alumna of Syracuse University. She was initiated into the Phi Mu chapter. When she was in the chapter, the Phi Mu house was next to the Pi Phi house on Walnut Place. When I was there, the house next door to Pi Phi was home to the Beta Theta Pi chapter. Another member of the Pi Phi chapter wrote this in a facebook post, “one of the Beta brothers had a mother who had been a Phi Mu at SU in the ’60s and she was so horrified at the state of the house when she saw it they said she almost cried!”

Later that day, I had to drop some items off at the Church Women United Thrift Shop. The shop does wonderful things for the community and my husband is on the Board (I keep asking him what exactly he doesn’t understand about the “church women” part of the name, but he isn’t the only male on the board and it does help to have some men who can fix things around to help with the minor repairs and maintenance). In dropping off the items, I saw this book and I knew I had to buy 1 (11)

Bill Cook and his family restored the West Baden Springs Hotel (see and the Indiana Landmarks Center, where the Centennial of the Indianapolis Alumnae Panhellenic was celebrated a few weeks ago ( I knew that this book hadn’t ever come through the library book sale or I would have purchased it then for a third of the $2.99 cost. Bill Cook was a Beta Theta Pi at Northwestern; his wife Gayle was an initiate of the Alpha Omicron Pi chapter at Indiana University.

 © Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Fran Favorite, Indiana University, Northwestern University, Syracuse University | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Flanders Fields on Veterans Day and Gamma Phi Beta’s War Work on Its Founders’ Day

Today is Veterans Day, a day when we give thanks to the brave men and women who make it their business to protect the rest of us. The sacrifices they make are many and I, for one, am truly grateful. Long before it became Veterans Day, it was the day on which some young women at Syracuse University found an organization of their own. Some of those early Gamma Phi Beta women also answered the call to duty and served in civilian capacities during World War I.

The haunting poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by John McCrae, M.D., a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Army during World War I. He was a Zeta Psi.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

President Woodrow Wilson, a member of Phi Kappa Psi, proclaimed November 11, 1919, as the first commemoration of Armistice Day (the truce took place on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month although the treaty was signed months later). He said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” After World War II, the day took on the name “All Veterans Day” to honor those of other conflicts. Somewhere along the way, the day became known as “Veterans Day.”

The Poppies at the Tower of London, November 2014 (Photo by Linda Smith Tabb)

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the display of poppies at the Tower of London. It was created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and it was designed by Tom Piper.  Each of the 888, 246 red poppies represents a World War I British military fatality.  (The photo was taken in November 2014 by Linda Smith Tabb, a Pi Phi friend and world traveler extraordinaire.)


 A church oyster supper was the first social event Frances Haven (Moss) attended after enrolling in Syracuse University in 1874. Her father, Dr. Erastus Otis Haven, had been recently elected Chancellor of the university. At that supper, she met the man who would later become her husband, Charles Melville Moss. She also met two members of Alpha Phi, a women’s fraternity founded at Syracuse in October of 1872. Instead of accepting the invitation to join Alpha Phi which had been offered to her, she joined with three other women – Mary A. Bingham (Willoughby), E. Adeline Curtis, and Helen M. Dodge (Ferguson) –  and they created an organization of their own. The date was November 11, 1874. The organization is Gamma Phi Beta, the first of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations to use the term “sorority;” Syracuse Latin professor Frank Smalley coined the word for the women.*

World War I gave sorority women the opportunity to be of service to their country. There was much “war work” done by Gamma Phi Beta including these efforts:

“But there were those of us who went overseas, who, in their indefatigable energy and enthusiasm, carried the crescent into Italy and France and to whom came the wonderful privilege of seeing history in the making and of aiding the splendid men who had offered themselves to a great and glorious cause. Grace Banker (Iota) was chief operator of the American Telephone Service at Coblenz and received the Distinguished Service Medal from Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett for her work during the St. Mihiel drive (see for more information about her).

Grace Banker

Grace Banker

“Mary Katherine Taylor (Delta) was with Base Hospital Number Three which was located at the foothills of the Vosges and had many thrilling experiences; Josephine Russell (Epsilon) did active service in canteen work at a huge artillery training camp in central France and later followed the troops of occupation into Germany; Mary Jones (Kappa), with Base Hospital Number Forty-nine, bore the official title of Red Cross Recreational Hut Director and on her arrival in the large hospital center at Allerey had the excitement of meeting Margaret Reiley (Lambda) who afterwards assisted her in the hut; Margaret Reiley, by the way, had an interesting experience which is worth the telling. One day, as she was gazing into a shop window at Paris, a strange soldier rushed up to her and began to shake her hand most vigorously while she endeavored to explain to him that he must think her some other auburn haired lass from the States. ‘No,’ he shouted, ‘You are the one I mean, for you wear a Gamma Phi pin and I’ve got a girl in Boston town that wears one, too. I haven’t seen anything that looked so good to me since I left home and after the war is over I’m going back to marry that Gamma Phi pin.’

“Jeanette Monroe (Kappa), as Red Cross Dietitian, served in Dijon, France, and for Red Cross Hospital Number One Hundred and One in Neuilly, a suburb of Paris; Ethel Cosgrove, of the same chapter, went to England for the Y.M.C.A. Canteen and served in Eagle Hut, London; from there to Liverpool. where, with a man secretary, she looked after a motor transport corps of two hundred boys; then to Paris where she conducted a Y.M.C.A. bookshop in the lobby of the Palais de Glace on the Champs Elysees; and finally to Prague, Czecho Slovakia, as business manager of a unit which conducted a summer training course in social service. Her work was carried on by permission of the government in the wonderful old Siteradels Castle, once the home of the Austrian governors; Julia Bell, also of Kappa, was Director of the Department of Personnel of the American Red Cross in Paris for a year then joined the Near East Relief and was sent to Tiflis in the Caucasus to work under Colonel W.N. Haskell, who had been appointed ‘Allied High Commissioner to Armenia’ by the Peace Conference in Paris; Mary Clarke (Kappa), in war work near Nancy, was under fire many times, was decorated by the French government, and brought a French protégé to America for education.

“Geraldine Doheny (Lambda) went abroad with the purpose of being a hut worker with the Red Cross but, after reporting in Paris, she was temporarily loaned for canteen service and assigned to duty in the Riviera. Florence French Dickson, of the same chapter, accompanied Base Hospital Number Fifty to France as Dietitian, this unit being composed almost entirely of University of Washington men. Marjorie Templin Wellhouse (Sigma), after assignment to a Base Hospital unit at Atlanta, was transferred to France; Nell Watts (Zeta) after splendid work as Chairman of the Goucher War Work Committee went overseas for reconstruction work; Minnie Mason Beebe (Alpha), a member of the faculty of Syracuse University, engaged in Y.W.C.A. work at the front; Mary Hungate Bennett (Pi) was dietitian at a large hospital in France and Sarah Cole Usinger (Pi) was also in France and now with her husband is doing reconstruction work in that country; Katharine Dame (Delta), through the Bryn Mawr Service Corps, became a member of the American Red Cross Tuberculosis Committee for Italy in the triple capacity of filing clerk librarian and translator; Lillian White Blanzino (Epsilon), who has lived in Italy for fourteen years, was a nurse in the Green Cross Hospital, the Italian branch of the Red Cross, while her husband was in seacoast defense and later on she was sent to America by Count Della Somagila, Managing Director of the Italian Red Cross, to raise five hundred thousand dollars for a surgical hospital in Rome.”

To

* For more on Dr. Frank Smalley and the word “sorority,” see

For more information on Dr. Erastus Haven, the father of Frances, see

For more information about the history of Gamma Phi Beta, This link includes a picture of an early Gamma Phi house on Irving Avenue in Syracuse.

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved.  If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Steeped in New England Sensibilities – Mount Holyoke College and Sigma Kappa

A bit more than 250 miles and 37 years (and a day) separates the founding of Mount Holyoke College and Sigma Kappa, yet both share roots in New England. The story of each of  their foundings reflects the New England sensibility of doing what needs to be done, with a practical hand and a nod to the future.

Mary Lyon was an early pioneer in the quest for women’s education. As a student, she was introduced by her mentor to an environment where women were treated as intellectual equals, an uncommon experience in the early 1800s. Her dream of having her own school prompted her to establish a women’s seminary (a seminary in Mary Lyon’s day was a secular school for women, not a religious training institution). It took her two years to find $15,000 in funding to help make her idea a reality. Chartered in 1836, Mount Holyoke Seminary opened on November 8, 1837. Training women to become strong teachers was its primary mission.

Mary Lyon’s last year of full-time teaching was 1847-48 and she died the following year. By the late 1800’s, it had become necessary for the seminary to evaluate its educational status in order to keep up with the changing American society. Mount Holyoke Seminary moved away from being a seminary and became a full-fledged women’s college. 

Donna Albino, a Mount Holyoke alumna, has an extensive collection of Mount Holyoke memorabilia. Visit to take a look at the wonderful items in her collection.

Donna Albino, a Mount Holyoke alumna, has an extensive collection of Mount Holyoke memorabilia. Visit to take a look at the wonderful items in her collection.


Sigma Kappa was founded on November 9, 1874, by five young women, the only females enrolled at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. They received a letter from the faculty approving the organization’s petition, which included a constitution and bylaws.

The five founders of Sigma Kappa are Mary Low Carver, Elizabeth Gorham Hoag, Ida Fuller Pierce, Louise Helen Coburn and Frances Mann Hall. In Sigma Kappa’s first constitution, membership in Sigma Kappa was limited to 25 women. The original chapter is known as the Alpha chapter. After Alpha chapter’s membership reached 25, a Beta chapter was formed. A Gamma chapter soon followed. Although there were some early joint meetings, the members did not think it feasible to continue that way. In 1893, a vote was taken to limit Alpha chapter to 25 members and to allow no more initiations into Beta and Gamma chapters. In due time, Beta and Gamma disappeared.

The Delta chapter was installed at Boston University in 1904. In 1905, Sigma Kappa became a member of the National Panhellenic Conference. Sigma Kappa’s Alpha chapter closed in 1984 when Colby College banned all fraternities and sororities from campus.

Violets, Sigma Kappa's flower

Violets, Sigma Kappa’s flower

© Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved.  If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Colby College, Mount Holyoke College, Sigma Kappa, Women's Fraternity History | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

The U.S. House of Representatives and the Sorority Women Who Have Served

I’ve done a post about the women Senators who are sorority women ( This Election Day, I was asked about the female House of Representative members who belong to sororities. The list of women who have served in the House is quite long and this was an arduous task. Please do not take that as a complaint. It is a list which needed to be compiled. A good number of the early women did not have the opportunity to join a sorority. They either did not attend college or they attended a college which did not have sororities. I suspect I may have missed a few women who are indeed members, but that information was not readily available in internet bios. Please contact me if you have any corrections.

npc buttons crop

Jeannette Rankin (R), Montana, 1917-19, 1941-43

Alice Mary Robertson (R), Oklahoma, 1921-23

Winnifred Sprague Mason Huck (R), Illinois, 1922-23

Mae Nolan (R), California, 1923-25

Florence Prag Kahn (R), California, 1925-37

Mary Teresa Norton (D), New Jersey, 1925-51

Edith Nourse Rogers (R), Massachusetts, 1925-60

Katherine G. Langley (R), Kentucky, 1927-31

Pearl Peden Oldfield (D), Arkansas, 1929-1931

Ruth Hanna McCormick (R), Illinois, 1929-31

Ruth Bryan Owen, Delta Gamma, (D), Florida, 1929-33 (Later became first woman Ambassador of the United States)

Ruth Baker Prat (R), New York, 1929-33

Effiegene Locke Wingo (D), Arkansas, 1930-33

Willa McCord Blake Eslick (D), Tennessee, 1932-33

Kathryn O’Loughlin McCarthy (D), Kansas, 1933-35

Virginia E. Jenckes (D), Indiana, 1933-39

Isabella Greenway (D), Arizona, 1933-37

Marian W. Clarke (R), New York, 1933-35

Caroline Love Goodwin O’Day (D), New York, 1935-43

Nan Wood Honeyman (D), Oregon, 1937-39

Elizabeth Hawley Gasque (D), South Carolina, 1938-39

Jessie Sumner (R), Illinois, 1939-47

Clara G. McMillan (D), South Carolina, 1939-41

Frances P. Bolton (R), Ohio, 1940-69

Margaret Chase Smith, Sigma Kappa, (R), Maine, 1940-49 (Later became a Senator)

Florence Reville Gibbs (D), Georgia, 1940-41

Katharine Byron (D), Maryland, 1941-43

Veronica Grace Boland (D), Pennsylvania, 1942-43

Clare Boothe Luce (R), Connecticut, 1943-47

Winifred C. Stanley (R), New York, 1943-45

Willa L. Fulmer (D), South Carolina, 1944-45

Emily Taft Douglas (D), Illinois, 1945-47

Helen Gahagan Douglas (D), California, 1945-51

Chase G. Woodhouse (D), Connecticut, 1945-47, 1949-51

Helen Douglas Mankin,(D), Georgia, 1946-47

Eliza Jane Pratt (D), North Carolina, 1946-47

Georgia Lee Lusk (D), New Mexico, 1947-49

Katharine St. George (R), New York, 1947-65

Reva Beck Bosone (D), Utah, 1949-53

Cecil M. Harden (R), Indiana, 1949-59

Edna F. Kelly (D), New York, 1949-69

Marguerite S. Church (R), Illinois, 1951-63

Ruth Thompson (R), Michigan, 1951-57

Elizabeth Kee (D), West Virginia, 1951-65

Vera Buchanan (D), Pennsylvania, 1951-55

Gracie Pfost (D), Idaho, 1953-63

Leonor Sullivan (D), Missouri, 1953-77

Elizabeth P. Farrington (R), Hawaii Territory, 1954-57

Iris Faircloth Blitch (D), Georgia, 1955-63

Edith Green (D), Oregon, 1955-74

Martha Griffiths (D), Michigan, 1955-74.

Coya Knutson (D), Minnesota, 1955-59

Kathryn E. Granahan (D), Pennsylvania, 1956-63

Florence P. Dwyer (R), New Jersey, 1957-73

Catherine Dean May (R), Washington, 1959-71

Edna O. Simpson (R), Illinois, 1959-61

Jessica M. Weis (R), New York, 1959-63

Julia Butler Hansen (D), Washington, 1960-74

Catherine Dorris Norrell (D), Arkansas, 1961-63

Louise Goff Reece (R), Tennessee, 1961-63

Corinne Boyd Riley (D), South Carolina, 1962-63

Charlotte Thompson Reid (R), Illinois, 1963-71

Irene Baker (R), Tennessee, 1964-65

Patsy Mink (D), Hawaii, 1965-77, 1990-2002

Lera Millard Thomas, Delta Delta Delta (charter member Brenau College chapter) (D), Texas, 1966-67

Margaret Heckler (R), Massachusetts, 1967-83

Shirley Chisholm, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), New York, 1969-83

Bella Abzug (D), New York, 1971-77

Ella T. Grasso (D), Connecticut, 1971-75 (Later became Governor of Connecticut)

Louise Day Hicks (D), Massachusetts, 1971-73

Elizabeth B. Andrews (D), Alabama, 1972-73

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), California, 1973-79

Marjorie Holt (R), Maryland, 1973-87

Elizabeth Holtzman (D), New York, 1973-81

Barbara Jordan, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), Texas, 1973-79

Patricia Schroeder, Chi Omega, (D), Colorado, 1973-97

Lindy Boggs, Sigma Gamma Rho, (D), Louisiana, 1973-91

Cardiss Collins, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), Illinois, 1973-97

Millicent Fenwick (R), New Jersey, 1975-83

Martha Keys (D), Kansas, 1975-79

Marilyn Lloyd (D), Tennessee, 1975-95

Helen Stevenson Meyner, Gamma Phi Beta, (D), New Jersey, 1975-79

Virginia D. Smith (R), Nebraska, 1975-91

Gladys Spellman (D), Maryland, 1975-81

Shirley Neil Pettis (R), California, 1975-79

Barbara Mikulski (D), Maryland, 1977-87

Mary Rose Oakar (D), Ohio, 1977-93

Beverly Byron (D), Maryland, 1979-93

Geraldine Ferraro (D), New York, 1979-85

Olympia Snowe (R), Maine, 1979-95 (Later became a Senator)

Bobbi Fiedler (R), California, 1981-87

Lynn Morley Martin, Gamma Phi Beta, (R), Illinois, 1981-91 (Later became United States Secretary of Labor)

Marge Roukema (R), New Jersey, 1981-2003

Claudine Schneider (R), Rhode Island, 1981-91

Barbara B. Kennelly (D), Connecticut, 1982-99

Jean Spencer Ashbrook, Kappa Alpha Theta, (R), Ohio 1982-83

Katie Hall, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), 1982-85

Barbara Boxer, Delta Phi Epsilon, (D), California 1983-93 (Later became a Senator)

Nancy Johnson (R), Connecticut, 1983-2007

Marcy Kaptur (D), Ohio, 1983-present

Barbara Vucanovich (R), Nevada, 1983-97

Sala Burton (D), California, 1983-87

Helen Delich Bentley (R), Maryland, 1985-95

Jan Meyers (R), Kansas, 1985-97

Catherine Small Long (D), Louisiana, 1985-87

Connie Morella (R), Maryland, 1987-2003

Liz J. Patterson (D), South Carolina, 1987-93

Pat Saiki (R), Hawaii, 1987-91

Louise Slaughter (D), New York, 1987-present

Nancy Pelosi (D), California, 1987-present

Nita Lowey (D), New York, 1989-present

Jolene Unsoeld (D), Washington, 1989-95

Jill Long Thompson (D), Indiana, 1989-95

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R), Florida, 1989-present

Susan Molinari (R), New York, 1990-97

Barbara-Rose Collins, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), Michigan, 1991-97

Rosa DeLauro (D), Connecticut, 1991-present

Joan Kelly Horn (D), Missouri, 1991-93

Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), DC, 1991-present

Maxine Waters (D), California, 1991-present

Eva Clayton, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), North Carolina, 1992-2003

Corrine Brown, Sigma Gamma Rho, (D), Florida, 1993-present

Leslie L. Byrne (D), Virginia, 1993-95

Maria Cantwell (D), Washington, 1993-95 (Later became a Senator)

Pat Danner (D), Missouri, 1993-2001

Jennifer Dunn, Gamma Phi Beta, (R), Washington, 1993-2005

Karan English (D), Arizona, 1993-95

Anna Eshoo (D), California, 1993-present

Tillie K. Fowler, Kappa Alpha Theta, (R), Florida, 1993-2001

Elizabeth Furse (D), Oregon, 1993-99

Jane Harman (D), California, 1993-99, 2001-11

Eddie Bernice Johnson, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), Texas, 1993-present,

Blanche Lincoln, Chi Omega, (D), Arkansas, 1993-97 (Later became a Senator)

Carolyn Maloney (D), New York, 1993-present

Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D), Pennsylvania, 1993-95

Cynthia McKinney (D), Georgia, 1993-2003, 2005-07

Carrie P. Meek, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), Florida, 1993-2003

Deborah Pryce, Alpha Xi Delta, (R), Ohio, 1993-2009

Lucille Roybal-Allard (D), California, 1993-present

Lynn Schenk (D), California, 1993-95

Karen Shepherd (D), Utah, 1993-95

Karen Thurman (D), Florida, 1993-2003

Nydia Velázquez (D), New York, 1993-present

Lynn Woolsey, Alpha Phi, (D), California, 1993-2013

Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R), Idaho, 1995-2001

Barbara Cubin (R), Wyoming, 1995-2009

Shelia Jackson Lee, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), Texas, 1995-present

Sue Kelly (R), New York, 1995-2007

Zoe Lofgren (D), California, 1995-present

Karen McCarthy (D), Missouri, 1995-2005

Sue Myrick (R), North Carolina, 1995-2013

Lynn N. Rivers (D), Michigan,1995-2003

Andrea Seastrand, Theta Phi Alpha, (R), California, 1995-97

Linda Smith (R), Washington, 1995-99

Enid Greene Waldholtz (R), Utah, 1995-97

Juanita Millender-McDonald, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), California, 1996-2007

Jo Ann Emerson, Delta Gamma, (R), Missouri, 1996-2013

Julia Carson, Zeta Phi Beta, (D), Indiana, 1997-2007

Donna Christian-Christensen (D), U.S. Virgin Island, 1997-present

Diana DeGette (D), Colorado, 1997-present

Kay Granger (R), Texas, 1997-present

Darlene Hooley (D), Oregon, 1997-2009

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D), Michigan, 1997-2011

Carolyn McCarthy (D), New York, 1997-2015

Anne Northup (R), Kentucky, 1997-2007

Loretta Sanchez (D), California, 1997-present

Debbie Stabenow (D), Michigan, 1997-2001 (Later became a Senator)

Ellen Tauscher (D), California, 1997-2009

Lois Capps (D), California, 1998-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Mary Bono Mack (R), California, 1998-2013

Barbara Lee (D), California, 1998-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Heather Wilson (R), New Mexico, 1998-2009

Tammy Baldwin (D), Wisconsin, 1999-2013 (Later became a Senator)

Shelley Berkley, Delta Zeta (D), Nevada, 1999-2013

Judy Biggert (R), Illinois, 1999-2013

Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), Ohio, 1999-2008

Grace Napolitano (D), California, 1999-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Jan Schakowsky, Delta Phi Epsilon, (D), Illinois, 1999-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Shelley Moore Capito, Kappa Kappa Gamma, (R), West Virginia, 2001-present (Won Senate race, November 2014)

Jo Ann Davis (R), Virginia, 2001-07

Susan Davis, Delta Phi Epsilon, (D), California, 2001-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Melissa Hart, Delta Gamma, (R), Pennsylvania, 2001-07

Betty McCollum (D), Minnesota, 2001-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Hilda Solis (D), California, 2001-09

Diane Watson, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), California, 2001-11

Marsha Blackburn, Chi Omega, (R), Tennessee, 2003-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Madeleine Bordallo (D), Guam, 2003-present

Ginny Brown-Waite (R), Florida, 2003-11

Katherine Harris (R), Florid, 2003-07

Denise Majette (D), Georgia 2003-05

Candice Miller (R), Michigan 2003-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Marilyn Musgrave (R), Colorado, 2003-09

Linda Sánchez (D), California, 2003-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D), South Dakota, 2004-11

Melissa Bean (D), Illinois, 2005-2011

Thelma Drake (R), Virginia, 2005-09

Virginia Foxx (R), North Carolina, 2005-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R), Washington, 2005-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Gwen Moore (D), Wisconsin, 2005-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Allyson Schwartz (D), Pennsylvania, 2005-15

Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D), Florida 2005-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Doris Matsui (D), California, 2005-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Jean Schmidt (R), Ohio, 2005-13

Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R), Texas, 2006-07

Michele Bachmann (R), Minnesota, 2007-2015

Nancy Boyda (D), Kansas, 2007-09

Kathy Castor, Delta Delta Delta, (D), Florida, 2007-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Yvette Clarke, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), New York, 2007-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Mary Fallin, Kappa Alpha Theta, (R), Oklahoma, 2007-11 (Later became Oklahoma Governor)

Gabrielle Giffords (D), Arizona, 2007-12

Kirsten Gillibrand, Kappa Kappa Gamma, (D), New York, 2007-09 (Later became a Senator)

Mazie Hirono (D), Hawaii, 2007-13 (Later became a Senator)

Carol Shea-Porter (D), New Hampshire, 2009-11, 2013-15

Betty Sutton (D), Ohio, 2007-13

Laura Richardson (D), California, 2007-13

Niki Tsongas (D), Massachusetts, 2007-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Jackie Speier (D), California, 2008-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Donna Edwards (D), Maryland, 2008-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Marcia Fudge, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), Ohio, 2008-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Kathy Dahlkemper (D), Pennsylvania, 2009-11

Debbie Halvorson (D), Illinois, 2009-11

Lynn Jenkins (R), Kansas, 2009-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Mary Jo Kilroy (D), Ohio, 2009-11

Ann Kirkpatrick (D), Arizona, 2009-11, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Suzanne Kosmas (D), Florida, 2009-11

Cynthia Lummis (R), Wyoming, 2009-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Betsy Markey (D), Colorado, 2009-11

Chellie Pingree (D), Maine, 2009-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Dina Titus (D), Nevada, 2009-11, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Judy Chu (D), California, 2009-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Sandy Adams (R), Florida, 2011-13

Karen Bass, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), California, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Diane Black (R), Tennessee, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Ann Marie Buerkle (R), New York, 2011-13

Renee Ellmers (R), North Carolina, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Colleen Hanabusa (D), Hawaii, 2011-2015

Vicky Hartzler (R), Missouri, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Nan Hayworth (R), New York, 2011-13

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R), Washington, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Kristi Noem (R), South Dakota, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Martha Roby, Kappa Kappa Gamma, (R), Alabama, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Terri Sewell (D), Alabama, 2011-present

Frederica Wilson, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), Florida, 2011-present

Kathy Hochul (D), New York, 2011-13

Janice Hahn (D), California, 2011-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Suzanne Bonamici (D), Oregon, 2012-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Suzan DelBene (D), Washington, 2012-present, (Won re-election in 2014)

Joyce Beatty, Delta Sigma Theta, (D), Ohio, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Susan Brooks, Alpha Omicron Pi, (R), Indiana, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Julia Brownley (D), California, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Cheri Bustos (D), Illinois, January 3, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Tammy Duckworth (D), Illinois, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Elizabeth Esty (D), Connecticut, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Lois Frankel (D), Florida, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Tulsi Gabbard (D), Hawaii, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Ann McLane Kuster (D), New Hampshire, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Michelle Lujan Grisham, Delta Delta Delta, (D), New Mexico, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Grace Meng (D), New York, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Gloria Negrete McLeod (D), California, 2013-15

Kyrsten Sinema (D), Arizona, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Ann Wagner (R), Missouri, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Jackie Walorski (R), Indiana, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Robin Kelly, Sigma Gamma Rho, (D), Illinois, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)

Katherine Clark (D), Massachusetts, 2013-present (Won re-election in 2014)


Representatives-elect starting in the 114th United States Congress

Alma Adams, Alpha Kappa Alpha, (D), North Carolina, Elected 2014

Aumua Amata, (R), American Samoa, Elected 2014

Bonnie Watson Coleman, Alpha Kappa Alpha (D), New Jersey, Elected 2014

Barbara Comstock, (R), Virginia, Elected 2014

Deborah Dingell, (D), Michigan, Elected 2014

Gwen Graham, Delta Delta Delta (D), Florida, Elected 2014

Brenda Lawrence, (D), Michigan, Elected 2014

Mia Love, (R), Utah, Elected 2014

Martha McSally, (R), Arizona, Elected 2014

Stacey Plaskett, (D), U.S. Virgin Island, Elected 2014

Kathleen Rice, (D), New York, Elected 2014

Elise Stefanik, (R), New York, Elected 2014

Norma Torres, (D), California, Elected 2014

Mimi Walters, (R), California, Elected 2014

(c) Fran Becque,, 2014. All Rights Reserved.  If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged | Comments Off

Female Senators and Their Sorority Affiliation – 2014 Edition

A number female senators are members of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) women’s fraternities/sororities.

With yesterday’s election, another name is added to this list – Shelley Moore Capito, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Duke University. Alison Lundergan Grimes, who was on the ballot, but lost in the Kentucky Senate race, is a Chi Omega from Rhodes College. 

Alison Lundergan Grimes modeling in a Chi O Creations  catalog when she was a student at Rhodes College.

Alison Lundergan Grimes modeling in a Chi O Creations catalog when she was a student at Rhodes College.

Chi Omega

Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas (D), 1/3/1999-1/3/2011

Delta Delta Delta

Elizabeth Dole, North Carolina (R), 1/3/2003-1/3/2009

Delta Gamma

Mary Landrieu, Louisiana (D), 1/3/1997-present (currently in a run-off election)

Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire (R), 1/3/2011-present

Delta Phi Epsilon

Barbara Boxer, California (D) 1/3/1993-present

Delta Sigma Theta

Carol Moseley Braun, Illinois (D), 1/3/1993-1/3/1999

Delta Zeta

Maurine Brown Neuberger, Oregon (D), 11/9/1960-1/3/1967

Gamma Phi Beta

Jocelyn Birch Burdick, North Dakota (D), 9/16/1992-12/14/1992

Deb Fischer, Nebraska (R), 1/3/2013-present (She’s a P.E.O., too)

Kappa Alpha Theta

Nancy Landon Kassebaum, Kansas (R), 12/23/1978-1/3/1997

Claire McCaskill, Missouri (D), 1/3/2007-present

Kappa Delta

Jean Carnahan, Missouri (D), 1/3/2001-11/25/2002 (She’s a P.E.O., too)

Kappa Kappa Gamma

Kirsten Gillibrand, New York (D) 1/26/2009-present

Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia (R) 1/3/2015

Pi Beta Phi

Kay Bailey Hutchinson, Texas (R), 6/14/1993-2013

Lisa Murkowski, Alaska (R), 12/20/2002-present

Sigma Kappa

Margaret Chase Smith, Maine (R), 1/3/1949-1/3/1973


The unaffiliated women, as far as I can tell, in order of when they first served.

I could find no sorority membership information on the following senators. I’ve included their educational institutions, in case someone has additional informatiion.

Rebecca Latimer Felton, Georgia (D), 11/21/1922-11/22/1922, Methodist Female College

Hattie Caraway, Arkansas (D), 12/9/1931 – 1/3/1945, Dickson Normal College

Rose McConnell Long, Louisiana (D), 1/31/1936-1/2/1937

Dixie Bibb Grave, Alabama (D), 8/20/1937-1/10/1938

Gladys Pyle, South Dakota (R), 11/9/1938-1/3/1939, Huron College

Vera C. Bushfield, South Dakota (R), 10/6/1948-12/26/1948. Stout Institute, University of Minnesota, Dakota Wesleyan College

Eva Kelly Bowring, Nebraska (R), 4/16/1954-11/7/1954

Hazel Hempel Abel, Nebraska (R), 11/8/1954-12/31/1954

Elaine Edwards, Louisiana (D), 8/1/1972-11/13/1972

Muriel Humphrey Brown, Minnesota (D), 1/25/1978-11/7/1978, Huron College

Maryon Pittman Allen, Alabama (D), 6/8/1978-11/7/1978, University of Alabama

Paula Hawkins, Florida (R), 1/1/1981-1/3/1987, Utah State University

Barbara Mikulski, Maryland (D), 1/3/1987-present, St. Agnes College

Dianne Feinstein, California (D), 11/10/1992-present, Stanford University (when no sororities were there)

Patty Murray, Washington (D), 1/3/1993-present

Olympia Snowe, Maine (R), 1/3/1995-2013, University of Maine

Sheila Frahm, Kansas (R), 6/11/1996-11/6/1996, Fort Hays State University, University of Texas

Susan Collins, Maine (R), 1/3/1997-present, St. Lawrence University (Phi Beta Kappa)

Maria Cantwell, Washington (D), 1/3/2001-present, Miami University

Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York (D), 1/3/2001-1/2/2009, Wellesley College

Debbie Stabenow, Michigan (D), 1/3/2001-present, Michigan State University

Amy Klobuchar, Minnesota (D), 1/3/2007-present, Yale University (when no sororities were there)

Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire (D), 1/3/2009-present, Shippensburg University

Kay Hagan, North Carolina (D), 1/3/2009-2015, Florida State University (although she may appear on several lists, my sources tell me she is no longer a member)

Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts (D), George Washington University, 1/3/2013-present

Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin (D), 1/3/2013-present

Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota (D), 1/3/2013-present

Mazie Hirono, Hawaii (D), University of Hawaii at Manoa (Phi Beta Kappa), 1/3/2013-present

Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts (D), George Washington University, 1/3/2013-present

Joni Ernst, Iowa (R), Iowa State University, 1/3/2015

© Fran Becque, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Fran Favorite | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Upsilon, Calvin Coolidge, and the Suffragists

It’s hard to write a post on a day when there is so much to write about. It’s election day and it’s also the day when one of my favorite Phi Gamma Delta members (the one who was married to one of my favorite Pi Phi First Ladies) was elected President (he had come first into the job through the death of the previous President). The 1924 election of Calvin Coolidge was only the second Presidential election in which women could vote ( is but one of the many posts about the Coolidges available on this site).

There were many sorority/women’s fraternity members who fought long and hard for women to have that right to vote. There are several posts about the suffragists who wore the badges of Greek-letter organizations. A search of “suffrage” in the little search box on this page will bring  up posts about suffragists such as Carrie Chapman Catt, E. Jean Nelson Penfield, and Alice Duer Miller.

It is also the day upon which Alpha Sigma Tau and Delta Upsilon were founded. Coincidentally, Chester G. Dawes, Coolidge’s Vice President, was a member of Delta Upsilon at Marietta College.

On November 4, 1899, Alpha Sigma Tau was founded by eight young women, Mable Chase, Ruth Dutcher, May Gephart, Harriet Marx, Eva O’Keefe, Adriance Rice, Helene Rice, and Mayene Tracy. They were students at the Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Mildred Doran was a member of Alpha Sigma Tau’s Alpha chapter. In 1927, during the Coolidge administration, her name was in the newspapers. She attempted to be the first woman to fly from the west coast to Hawaii as part of the Dole Transpacific Air Race. The airplane in which she was riding, named the “Miss Doran” in her honor, was lost at sea. She was 22 when she died. Her nephew, Richard DuRose whom she never met, wrote about her and the story is worth reading He has also written, Shining Star, a book about her.


Delta Upsilon, was founded by thirty men on November 4, 1834 at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is the oldest non-secret fraternity. Ten freshmen, ten sophomores and ten juniors met in the Freshman Recitation Room  of Old West College. They met in opposition of the activities of the two secret societies then at Williams. The name they chose was “Anti-Secret Confederation” (ACS).

Union College men established a chapter in 1838, followed by the Middlebury College group in 1845. In 1847, groups at Hamilton College and Amherst College were formed. The Convention of 1864, adopted the name “Delta Upsilon,” a name which several of the chapters had been using.

© Fran Becque, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

Posted in Alpha Sigma Tau, Delta Upsilon, Fran Favorite | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off