Open main menu

Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (1879)/Alpha Delta Phi

< Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (1879)

In 1830 the literary societies of Hamilton College were engaged in a bitter fight for the supremacy; methods were employed to obtain adherents and practices sanctioned to gain the ends of the organizations, until the better portion of the students looked on in disgust at the conflict. At the same time but three of the Greek-Letter fraternities were then in existence,—Sigma Phi, Kappa Alpha, and Delta Phi. During the height of the contest above mentioned, propositions were made to several or the leading students at Hamilton to form a K. A. lodge. Samuel Eels, then a student at Hamilton, was one of those who were disgusted both with the partisan practices of the literary societies and the badly-concealed selfish intentions of Kappa Alpha's agents. A close student himself, he believed that the aim of the college student should be the attainment of a higher and broader culture than the college curriculum afforded; at the same time he perceived that it was the repression of the social traits of the scholars that was leading to the foundation of the social clubs of which K. A. was a type. Accordingly he conceived the idea of founding a fraternity whose aim should be to supplement the college curriculum by literary work outside of and beyond that prescribed by the college course, and also to develop the social nature and affections of kindred spirits by the cultivation of a fraternal bond of friendship. The attempt of Kappa Alpha failing, mainly through his efforts, he broached the subject to his nearest intimates and friends, and met with a cordial response. In 1832, having associated with himself John C. Underwood, Lorenzo Latham, Oliver A. Morse, and Henry L. Storrs, he organized the Hamilton Chapter of the fraternity, which he called Alpha Delta Phi. The fraternity was rapidly and judiciously extended until it was the pioneer in a large number of colleges, and so wise was the foresight of its founders that to-day the best fraternities are those which practise the principles Eels sought to promulgate.

The chapters are as follows:

  1. Hamilton, Hamilton College, 1832.
  2. Miami, Miami University, 1834 (died 1873).
  3. Urban, New York University, 1835 (died 1830).
  4. Columbia, Columbia College, 1836 (died 1840).
  5. Amherst, Amherst College, 1837.
  6. Brunonian, Brown University, 1837.
  7. Harvard, Harvard University, 1837.
  8. Yale, Yale College, 1837 (died 1872).
  9. Geneva, Hobart College, 1838 (died 1878).
  10. Bowdoin, Bowdoin College, 1839.
  11. Hudson, Western Reserve College, 1840.
  12. Peninsular, Michigan University, 1845.
  13. Dartmouth, Dartmouth College, 1845.
  14. Rochester, Rochester University, 1851.
  15. Alabama, Alabama University, 1851 (died 1857).
  16. Williams, Williams College, 1851.
  17. Manhattan, New York City College, 1854.
  18. Middletown, Wesleyan University, 1855.
  19. Kenyon, Kenyon College, 1858.
  20. Union, Union College, 1858.
  21. Cumberland, Cumberland University, 1858 (died 1861).
  22. Cornell, Cornell University, 1870.
  23. Phi Kappa, Trinity College, 1877.

Alumni chapters have also been established at Cincinnati, 1846; Cleveland, 1866; Chicago, 1867; New York, 1868; Albany, 1875; New England (Boston), 1876; Buffalo, 1876; Grand Rapids, 1878. The Hamilton Chapter has had a very successful career. Mainly through the efforts of this chapter there has been erected at Hamilton the "Samuel Eels Memorial Hall," the property of the fraternity. The Miami Chapter, established through the efforts of the founder, was at first situated at the Cincinnati Law School, but was subsequently removed to Miami, where it remained until the closing of the university. The Urban Chapter, founded by Daniel Huntington, of New York, and the Columbia Chapter, founded by John Jay, now the president of the fraternity, were both short-lived, but they did good service in the establishment of the Harvard and Yale Chapters. When an attempt was made to place a chapter at the former college, the faculty opposed it on account of its secret nature. In order to retain their hold on the college, the members were made honorary members of the three other chapters. In 1838 the chapter became active, and in 1846 its presence was sanctioned by the faculty. In 1857 it was abolished, but was secretly kept up until 1865, when the charter was withdrawn. The A. D. Club was founded on its ruins. It has been re-established this year with bright prospects. The Yale Chapter was the only one ever existing there as a general fraternity drawing members from all classes; it finally became a junior society, lost its place and prestige after the erection of D. K. E.'s chapter house, and was withdrawn in 1872. The Amherst Chapter has a fine scholarship record. It built a hall a short time since, and a lodge, the latter being destroyed by fire in 1879. The Brunonian Chapter was suspended from 1841 to 1851 by the passage of anti-fraternity resolutions. The Geneva Chapter was withdrawn on account of the decadence of the college. The Bowdoin Chapter, for many years eminent, has been of late closely pressed in a college crowded with fraternities. The Hudson Chapter, together with the Middletown, Manhattan, Williams, and. Rochester Chapters, excel in college honors. The Dartmouth Chapter is flourishing, and owns a commodious chapter house. The Alabama Chapter was killed by the enaction of anti-fraternity laws. In 1858 the members met at Shelby Springs, Alabama, and founded a graduate association, which was probably dispersed by the war. The Rochester Chapter was at first termed the "Empire," but the name was changed for obvious reasons. The Manhattan Chapter, established in what was then known as the "Free Academy," has proven the wisdom of its establishment. Its members, though of a less average age, have been worthy rivals of the other chapters. It owns fine rooms, brightened by fraternity "memorabilia," and supports the annual summer camp at Lake George, denominated "Camp Manhattan." At Williams the chapter was formed by members of the Brunonian Chapter, who, together with those of Beta Theta Pi, had moved to a soil more congenial to the fraternities. Discouraged by their distance from the other chapters, the Betas received a reluctant release from their obligations, and assisted in the foundation of the present Williams Chapter. The Middletown Chapter was formerly a local literary society called the "Boetrean," and it has retained its literary character. The Union Chapter was likewise derived from another organization, the "Fraternals;" and the chapter at Trinity was the old local society of Phi Kappa, whose name it still bears. The Cumberland Chapter was established without the sanction of the rest of the fraternity, and was cut short by the war, in 1861. The Cornell Chapter, though smal1, has already built a well-appointed chapter house; and the Kenyon Chapter has its own lodge. A chapter was established at Princeton, in 1865, but was withdrawn in a few months.

The catalogues were formerly issued by the Yale Chapter. The last one published, in 1876, contains 4500 names. The whole number is now about 4950. The fraternity also publishes a song-book, which has reached its ninth edition, and also a memorial of its founder, by his brother. Several pieces of music bear the fraternity’s name, and a numerous family of fugitive pieces. The fraternity is governed by conventions. The exercises at these gatherings are often varied and interesting, and to those who participated the one of '79 will long be memorable.

Alpha Delta Phi is addicted to the practice of electing honorary members, but its rolls contain the names of many eminent men, such as Amos K. Hadley, of New York; Theo. B. Dwight, Hon. Geo. W. Curtis, Prof. Edward North, Alfred B. Street, ex-Governor Denison, of Ohio; Bishop Coxe and John Jay, of New York; Horace Maynard, Bishop Huntingdon, Rev. Phillips Brooks, Jas. Russell Lowen, E. E. Hale, Rev. O. B. Frothingham, Manton Marble, President Eliot, of Harvard; Provost Stillé, of Pennsylvania University; Donald G. Mitchell, the late President Raymond, of Vassar; and General "Dick" Taylor; E. F. Noyes, ex-Minister to France; ex-Governor Chamberlain, of Maine, and many others.

The original badge was an oblong slab, with rounded corners, displaying a crescent bearing the letters "ΑΔΦ," on a field of black enamel; above the crescent a green star, below "1832," in gold. The new badge, which resembles more closely an ornamental breastpin than a college badge, is the star and crescent, with the latter displaying the three letters. The colors are green and white.