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.

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