Happy 100th Sigma Delta Tau. One hundred years ago, on March 25, 1917, seven female Cornell University students founded Sigma Delta Tau. Their organization was originally called Sigma Delta Phi, but when they discovered the name belonged to another Greek-letter organization they changed the “Phi” to “Tau.”
Sigma Delta Tau’s founders are Dora Bloom (Turteltaub), Inez Dane Ross, Amy Apfel (Tishman), Regene Freund (Cohane), Marian Gerber (Greenberg), Lenore Blanche Rubinow, and Grace Srenco (Grossman).
There was also a male involved in the beginnings of Sigma Delta Tau. Bloom asked Nathan Caleb House to write the ritual. “Brother Nat” is the only man to honored with the organization’s gold membership pin. As the story is told on the Sigma Delta Tau web-site, “After leaving Cornell University, Brother Nat was ‘lost.’ In a chance look through the New York City phone book, Nat was ‘found’ and brought as a surprise to the 1958 National Convention. From that time until his death, Brother Nat attended almost every Biennial Convention and maintained correspondence and visits with many alumnae and collegiate chapters.”
Regene Freund, a founder, was the organization’s first National President. Her term began in 1918. Two years later, she graduated and moved to Detroit. As a female lawyer, she had a difficult time landing a job because of her gender. She served as National President until 1922. She then spent the next 35 years as the sorority’s National Counselor.
In 1924, she married another lawyer, Louis Starfield Cohane and they practiced formed their own law firm. In 1924, in the first year of their marriage, the Cohanes were the first married couple to try a case before the United States Supreme Court.
Regene was active in Detroit’s Jewish community and served as President of the National Council of Jewish Women in 1933. She was named one of Detroit’s “Women of Achievement.” In 1991, Sigma Delta Tau honored her with the establishment of the Regene Freund Cohane Outstanding President Award. She died in 1992 at the age of 92.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2017. 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.