Tri Delta “On the Battle Line” 100 Years Ago

Thanksgiving Eve, November 27, 1888, is the date upon which Delta Delta Delta was founded. Although there are four founders, the force behind its founding was Boston University senior Sarah Ida Shaw [Martin]. In the days before research involved a few keystrokes on a computer, she studied the world of Greek-Letter Organizations and she set her mind upon founding one. She, along with fellow senior Eleanor Dorcas Pond [Mann, M.D.] decided to start a society of their own. Pond suggested that they use a triple Greek letter and Shaw chose the Delta. Shaw also developed the mottoes and passwords.

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 on getting the other two unaffiliated seniors, Florence Stewart and Isabel Breed  to join. Although these two did not take part in the actual formation of Delta Delta Delta as Pond and Shaw had done, the four are considered founders. 

One hundred years ago, the United States found itself at war in Europe. College women, although they had few rights and avenues of service opened to them, found ways to contribute to the war effort. The November 1917 Trident, in an article titled Tri Deltas on the Battle Line reported on these brave women:

There are a number of Δs who are actively engaged in war work in varied fields of service. Among them:

Florence Hulett, Θ, expects to go to France in October as a Red Cross nurse.

Margaret Dodd, Θ I, is in Paris with her aunt. She went with the American Ambulance Corps in April, 1916.

Lucille Gallager, ΘΘ, is a Red Cross nurse in active service. 

Ella N. Hair, Λ, has gone to France with a New York Hospital Unit.

Mary Mclntire, Λ, has been called by the Roumanian Commission to go with a special unit for constructive work in that country. They expected to arrive in Petrograd in August.

Clara Taylor, ΔE, sailed September 27 from San Francisco to go to Petrograd via Japan, and do war relief work under the auspices of the Y.W.C.A.

Mrs. W. W. Hanly, Ξ, has been appointed to a commission to plan systematic war work for the women’s organizations of the State of Maryland.

Amy Merkel, Z, is taking a course in Red Cross nursing in New York City, where her husband. Captain Merkel, is stationed with the Ordnance Department.

Alice Ames, M, is under orders to go abroad very soon with the Presbyterian Hospital (Chicago) Unit.

Elizabeth Powell and Gail Dickson, Υ, were so influenced by Red Cross courses last spring that the first has entered Presbyterian Hospital, and the second St. Luke’s, in October, for nurses’ training.

Mrs. (Amy Olgen) Parmelee is ‘Red Cross Captain’ for the public school across the street from her home. With the help of a ”lieutenant’ in each room, the work is done entirely under her supervision. The higher grades knit, the lower grades snip for fracture pillows. The boys’ activities are especially the making of fine knitting needles (the Red Cross and Navy League exchange them at ten cents a pair for yarn), making trench torches, and ration heaters. The children are enthusiastic. Helen Sonnen and Ethel Gale, Y, are among the ‘lieutenants.’

Metta Legler Junkin, ΘT, has composed the music for a patriotic song written by Mr. Junkin. When Mrs. Junkin sings for the soldier boys at the cantonments they take great pleasure in singing it with her, and she has already distributed 35,000 copies of it.

Madge Henry. ΘE, is playing her violin in the southern camps to entertain the soldiers.

Tri Delta’s Alpha Chapter

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