This is from one of the sections of my dissertation. It is from the chapter that looks at individual campuses that had either five, six, or all of the seven founding National Panhellenic Conference organizations prior to the 1902 founding of NPC. What is most fascinating about these narratives is the manner in which the chapters were chartered. There were no hard and fast rules about extension in the late 1800s.
University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California*
The University of California at Berkeley was chartered by the state of California on March 23, 1868. Women were admitted to the university in 1870 and their admittance took place without significant controversy (Stadtman, 1970). By 1880, there were 55 women and 213 men enrolled.
Kappa Kappa Gamma was the first women’s fraternity founded on the Berkeley campus. It was chartered on May 22, 1880. The chapter faced strong faculty opposition. Two female students ignored the anti-fraternity sentiment and set upon bringing a women’s fraternity to campus. An application was first made to Kappa Alpha Theta but the group opted to become a Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter. The charter was returned in 1885 due to the isolation of the chapter from other Kappa Kappa Gamma chapters and the faculty’s strong anti-fraternity stance. The charter was regranted on August 5, 1897, after a three-year effort on the part of a local group, Sorosis, that was organized under the patronage of the San Francisco Sorosis, as well a persistent group of the original 24 chapter alumnae (Burton-Roth & Whiting-Westermann, 1932).
On June 2, 1890, Kappa Alpha Theta installed a chapter. A charter member of the chapter at the University of the Pacific and two other former University of the Pacific students who had been part of the group vying for a Kappa Alpha Theta charter, but left the school before the chapter was installed, applied for the charter (Wilson, 1956).
The convention body of Gamma Phi Beta discussed a chapter at Berkeley 10 years before it became a reality. Tau Delta, a local organization, was founded in the fall of 1893. The Tau Delta members were impressed with the information given them by a new faculty member who was a graduate of the University of Michigan as well as a Gamma Phi Beta alumna. Three Gamma Phi Beta alumnae living 50 miles from Berkeley served as a committee to investigate Tau Delta. On April 29, 1894, the four Gamma Phi Beta alumnae installed the chapter at Berkeley (“History of Eta Chapter,” 1913).
Two women’s fraternities, Delta Delta Delta and Pi Beta Phi, were installed at Berkeley in 1900. In the case of the Delta Delta Delta chapter, a group of women read a magazine article about fraternities and corresponded with Delta Delta Delta. A University of Nebraska Delta Delta Delta member studying at Stanford University installed the chapter on April 14, 1900 (Priddy, 1907).
In the spring of 1900, a Pi Beta Phi from the University of Wisconsin visited her cousin, a student at Berkeley. The cousin and her friends were encouraged to apply for a Pi Beta Phi charter. The chapter was installed on August 27, 1900. The ceremony took place in a chapter house that the women rented (Spring, 1936).
Alpha Phi came to Berkeley via Palo Alto. The Stanford University chapter was installed prior to the Berkeley chapter. In 1900, four Berkeley students rented a house together. They had the idea to become a chapter of Alpha Phi. The original four students were joined by five other female students. The group was approached by another national women’s fraternity but they held out for an Alpha Phi charter. The chapter became a reality on May 9, 1901 (Alpha Phi Fraternity, 1931).
*From – Coeducation and the History of Women’s Fraternities 1867-1902, by Frances DeSimone Becque, Dissertation, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, 2002, pp. 110-12. All rights reserved
Citations are in the dissertation’s bibliography. It will be on-line soon.