I spent the weekend cataloging digital scans of 100+ year old chapter pictures. If I was so inclined, I could write a post on the evolution of the chapter composite. The women who are in the pictures, immortalized as young college women, are long gone from the world.
Some of the chapters whose chapter pictures I cataloged are no longer in existence. The chapters at Barnard College, Goucher College, and the College of Wooster were banned by college authorities. Others, like my own chapter at Syracuse University, were casualties of the ebb and flow of Greek life. The pictures proved that these chapters once existed and that there were members who had strong ties to them.
There are no living alumnae of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) chapters which once were at Barnard (before Columbia University went co-ed and NPC groups colonized there) and Wooster. The numbers of living Goucher College NPC women are dwindling with the youngest of these initiates at 80+ years-old. Artifacts like those early chapter composites and the engraved announcements shown below serve as tangible proof that there were once young college students who were members of the chapter. The chapter meant something to its members and the loss of the chapter mattered keenly to a good many of them.
These engraved announcements were popular among Greek-letter organizations from about the 1890s until the 1920s. Sending the announcements to the governing councils of the other Greek-letter organizations and the other chapters on a particular campus must have been an expensive and time consuming exercise. Today, social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) serves the same purpose.
(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/