Sarah Ida Shaw Martin holds a unique place in the women’s fraternity world. Not only was she a founder of Delta Delta Delta, but she was also an influential voice in the history of several other women’s fraternities/sororities, most notably the early years of Alpha Sigma Alpha. She helped found the Association of Pedagogical Sororities which soon afterwards became the Association of Education Sororities. She was a consultant to these groups through her “Sorority Service Bureau.” She also authored one of my favorite books, the Sorority Handbook.
Sarah Ida Shaw was born on September 7, 1867, in the state of Missouri. Her family moved to Boston when she was six. She graduated from Girls’ Latin School and was valedictorian of its Class of 1885. Although she was planning to attend Wellesley College, family circumstances led her to enroll at Boston University. During her junior year, she was the guiding force in the founding of Delta Delta Delta.
She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Boston University in 1889 and served as Tri Delta’s Grand President from 1889-93. She taught high school classical languages and German classes until her marriage in 1896. She died on May 11, 1940.
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