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Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (1879)/Alpha Tau Omega

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

This fraternity was founded in Richmond, Virginia, September 11, 1865, by Messrs. Otis A. Glazebrook, Alfred Marshall, and Erskine M. Ross, all residents of the city above named, and all now graduates of the Virginia Military Institute. It was incorporated last year in the State of Maryland. It is strictly a Southern society, and many of its first members had been in the Confederate service; their studies, having been interrupted in 1861, were resumed in 1865 and 1866. On account of this fact, the average age of the undergraduate members was high at the outset, and many of them gained honors and distinctions soon after the close of their collegiate career.

The chapter roll of the fraternity is as follows, in practice,—the name of the State being prefixed to each letter:

  1. Alpha, Virginia Military Institute, 1865.
  2. Beta, Washington-Lee University, 1865.
  3. Gamma, Columbia, Tennessee, 1866.
  4. Iota, Union University, 1867 (died 1873).
  5. Lambda, Cumberland University, 1868 (died 1873).
  6. Delta, University of Virginia, 1868.
  7. Epsilon, Roanoke College, 1869 (died 1878).
  8. Mu, Kentucky Military Institute, 1870 (died 1873).
  9. Nu, Nashville University, 1871 (died 1874).
  10. Xi, Trinity College, North Carolina, 1872.
  11. Omicron, Bethel College, 1872 (died 1872).
  12. Pi, East Tennessee University, 1872 (died 1873).
  13. Rho, Bethel Academy, Virginia, 1873 (died 1874).
  14. Upsilon, Columbian University, 1874 (died 1874).
  15. Phi, Alexandria, Virginia, 1874.
  16. Chi, Chicago, Illinois, 1875.
  17. Psi, Johns Hopkins University, 1877.
  18. Omega, University of the South, 1877.
  19. Alpha Alpha. Richmond College, 1878.
  20. Alpha Beta, Georgia University, 1878.
  21. Alpha Gamma, Louisiana University, 1879.
  22. Alpha Delta, — —, 1879.
  23. Alpha Epsilon, California University, 1879.
  24. Alpha Zeta, Mercer University, 1879.

Alpha Chapter is small, but flourishing; the superintendent of the institute and one or two professors are members of the chapter. Beta is also small, but ranks high at the university. Gamma, Phi, and Chi are alumni chapters, but possess all the rights and privileges of the collegiate lodges. Iota and Nu became extinct With their respective colleges. Lambda, Epsilon, and Mu voluntarily surrendered their charters. Delta is both a large and prosperous chapter. 0micron and Upsilon were disbanded by order of the college authorities. Rho's charter was withdrawn by the fraternity.

The government of the fraternity is vested in three departments, viz.: A congress of delegates. from the various chapters which convenes biennially, and in which all power is vested during its session; the grand officers of the fraternity and a high council, composed of five members chosen by the congress from the fraternity at large; the worthy high chancellor who acts as the judiciary and who decides all disputed cases. No chapters are established without the consent of the high council, and all charters must bear the signature of its chairman. Each officer holds his position for two years. During the session of the congress, besides the regular business of the fraternity, the delegates listen to the address of some chosen orator.

The badge of the Alpha Tau Omega is a Maltese cross consisting of a centre field of black enamel, upon which is inscribed in gold a crescent near the top of the field, three stars immediately below the crescent, the Greek letter “Τ” in the centre, and two hands clasped at the bottom of the field. On the arms of the cross are inscribed the Greek letters "Α" and "Ω" respectively. The colors of the fraternity are gold, white, green, and blue.

Every five years is issued a catalogue of members and a brief history of the several chapters. The catalogue is termed the "Register" and is printed officially. The total number of members to date is about 700, among whom, as being prominent, we may mention the Rev. Otis A. Glazebrook, Richard N. Brooks, late United States Consul at Rochelle; Rt. Rev. Chas. T. Quintard, Bishop of Tennessee; Jno. G. James, Supt. Texas Military Institute; Hon. Jno. V. Childres, of Tennessee; Rev. Thos. T. Eaton; W. H. Cheatham, of the University of Louisville; Major Thos. G. Hayes, formerly of the Kentucky Military Institute; Prof. Chas. B. Percy, of Washington-Lee University; Judge Peter F. Smith; and Hon. John Paul, of the Virginia Senate.