Four Founding Days (ΔΔΔ, ΦΣΣ, KA Society, and ΣAM), Ferguson, and UVA

Delta Delta Delta was founded at Boston University on November 27, 1888, which fell on the day before Thanksgiving that year. Founders’ Day is celebrated on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Its founders are Sarah Ida Shaw [Martin], Eleanor Dorcas Pond [Mann, M.D.], Florence Stewart and Isabel Breed.

In the fall of 1888, the four women seniors who had not joined any of the women’s fraternities then at Boston University (Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Phi, and Gamma Phi Beta) discussed their situation. Pond talked to Shaw and they decided to start a society of their own. Pond suggested that they use a triple Greek letter and Shaw chose the Greek letter Delta. Shaw and Pond threw themselves into the details associated with the founding. All was finished by Tuesday of Thanksgiving week, 1888, but the two met again on Wednesday afternoon, before leaving for the holiday. They met in the Philological Library at the top of the college building. Shaw and Pond embraced and said “Tri Delta is founded.”

Shaw and Pond were intent and ultimately successful in  getting the other two unaffiliated seniors, Florence Stewart and Isabel Breed, to join their organization. All four are considered founders.

The second chapter of Delta Delta Delta came about through the efforts of Etta May Budd, the daughter of an Iowa State College professor, who was in Boston studying art. She boarded at the Young Women’s Christian Association and there met Josephine Centre, an early initiate of the Alpha Chapter. Budd, who then became a member of the Alpha Chapter, belonged to two local organizations, one at Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, and another at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. The organization Budd belonged to at Simpson College was called L. F. V. It stood for “Lovers of Fun And Victory,” but the men on campus called the group the “Light Footed Virgins.” L. F. V. was founded in 1871 and by 1889, it had 95 members. On April 25, 1889, nine L. F. V. members signed pledges to become members of Delta Delta Delta. A charter was secured and L. F. V. became the Delta Deuteron Chapter of Delta Delta Delta. An initiation followed on May 10, 1889. In 1897, it became known as the Delta chapter when the first national convention changed the system of naming chapters.

As she had done with the local organization to which she had belonged at Simpson College, Budd attempted to bring the local organization she had founded at Iowa State University, U. D. T. into the Delta Delta Delta fold. In May 1889, she returned to Iowa State with a charter for the local organization. There was much anti-fraternity sentiment on campus and U. D. T. had been forced to disband. Budd organized another group to have the Delta Delta Delta charter and was successful in 1890. However due to the continuing anti-fraternity sentiment, that charter was surrendered two years later. Fourteen members were initiated and two pledged before the charter was returned. Ultimately, the chapter was reestablished on September 21, 1912.


Phi Sigma Sigma was founded at New York’s Hunter College on November 26, 1913. Its founders are Lillian Gordon Alpern, Josephine Ellison Breakstone, Fay Chertkoff, Estelle Melnick Cole, Jeanette Lipka Furst, Ethel Gordon Kraus, Shirley Cohen Laufer, Claire Wunder McArdle, Rose Sher Seidman and Gwen Zaliels Snyder.

The organization’s original name was Phi Sigma Omega, but it was discovered that the name was already in use. In 1918, its second chapter was founded when a friend of one of the founders, a student at Tufts University, expressed an interest in the organization. A third chapter was chartered at New York University.

At the 1918 convention in New York City, founder Fay Chertkoff was elected the organization’s first grand archon. A constitution was approved and a Supreme Council was elected.


Two men’s fraternities were founded on this date. Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Alpha Mu.

Kappa Alpha Society is the oldest of the Union Triad, the three fraternities founded at Union College in Schenectady, NY.  It was established in 1825 by nine men, John Hart Hunter, Thomas Hun, Isaac W. Jackson, John McGeoch, Orlando Meads, James Proudfit, Joseph Anthony Constant, Arthur Burtis, Jr., and Joseph Law. Its second chapter was founded at Williams College in 1833.

Sigma Alpha Mu was founded on  November 26, 1909 at the City College of New York. Its eight founders first met at a meeting of the sophomore class. Its founders are Lester Cohen, Hyman Jacobson, Adolph I. Fabis, Samuel Ginsburg, Abram N. Kerner, Jacob Kaplan, Ira N. Lind, David D. Levinson. 

Two years later, a second chapter was established at Cornell University, quickly followed by chapters at Long Island University and Columbia University.


 I know this post is getting a bit long, but there are two additional items I’d like to mention. Pi Beta Phi’s Headquarters is in a St. Louis suburb and I just returned from a quick visit there. What is going on in St. Louis is heartbreaking in so many ways. This was posted on facebook by the Missouri State Chapter of the P.E.O. Sisterhood: 

As we all watch in amazement at the unrest in Ferguson MO., I want everyone to know that our P.E.O. sisterhood has 2 amazing chapters in Ferguson, Chapters IM and FH-HL. I had the privilege of helping with the merger of FH-HL just 2 years ago. I was embraced by their warmth and loving concern for each other! Please keep this area in your thoughts and prayers as this area regroups from unrest!  Lovingly the Missouri State PEO Executive State Board

Pete Smithhisler, President and CEO of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, wrote this in response to the University of Virigina’s suspension of all fraternity activities until January 2015,  A friend whose daughter is a UVA alumna added this  in a facebook post:

So sad to see the women lumped in with the men. As my UVA grad says, this problem is not only a Greek issue. She did her thesis on sexual assault at UVA. She won an award at graduation for it.

7 daisies

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

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