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As stated elsewhere, this fraternity was founded at Princeton, in 1824, as a secret literary. society, John McLean, D.D., afterwards president of the college, being one of the founders. In 1830, when the first movement took place against college secret societies, the lodge became extinct. In 1854, John McLean, Jr., a nephew of Dr. McLean, discovered the records of the fraternity among his uncle’s papers, and determined to re-establish it, and associating with himself G. W. Mayer and Charles Degraw, he again instituted the order. The chapter thus refounded existed in secret until 1860, when it again became defunct. A "Beta" Chapter, however, had been placed at Franklin and Marshall College in 1855, and this latter established a "Theta" at Pennsylvania College some years later. These three chapters make up what is known as the Princeton order.

Another Chi Phi fraternity was founded at Hobart College in 1860 by twelve young men. Calling their chapter the Upsilon, they established a Psi, at Kenyon, in 1861; Sigma, at Princeton, in 1862; Delta, at Rutgers, in 1867; and a graduate chapter termed the Alpha, in New York City, in 1865.

Negotiations having been entered upon by the Hobart and Princeton orders, a union was effected at a meeting which took place at the Astor House in 1867. The united fraternities, since termed the Northern order, together established a number of chapters up to the year 1873, when a further change took place.

At the University of North Carolina, in 1858, a fraternity had been founded bearing this same name of Chi Phi. Before the Rebellion some five or six chapters were established, and after the revival of the college, in 1865, a few more were chartered. The existence of the two orders having become known to members of both, an effort was made to unite them, and after a correspondence of some years delegates from each met at Washington, May 1, 1873, and drew up articles of union, which went into effect the next year. Since then the fraternity has established but few chapters, the entire roll being as follows:

Princeton order.

1. Alpha, Princeton College, 1824 (died 1860).
2. Zeta (formerly Beta), Franklin and Marsha11 College, 1855.
3. Theta, Pennsylvania College, 1867 (died 1872).

Hobart order.

4. Upsilon, Hobart College, 1860.
5. Psi, Kenyon College, 1861 (died 1866).
6. Sigma, Princeton College, 1862 (died 1870).
7. Delta, Rutgers College, 1867.

Northern order.

8. Beta, Muhlenberg College, 1868.
9. Xi, Cornell University, 1868.
10. Omega, Dickinson College, 1869.
11. Sigma, Wofford College, 1871.
12. Nu, Washington-Lee University, 1872 (died 1877).
13. Psi, Lehigh University, 1872.
14. Kappa, Brown University, 1872.
15. Tau, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1873 (died 1876).
16. Chi, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1873.

Southern order.

17. Alpha, North Carolina University, 1858 (died 1867).
18. Beta, Louisiana Centenary College, 1858 (died 1860).
19. Gamma, Davidson College, 1859 (died 1870).
20. Alpha (formerly Delta), Virginia University, 1859.
21. Epsilon, Tennessee Military College, 1861 (died 1861).
22. Epsilon, Hampden-Sidney College, 1867.
23. Zeta, Cumberland University, 1860 (died 1861).
24. Eta, Georgia University, 1867.
25. Theta, Edinburgh University (Scotland), 1867.
26. Iota, Mercer University, 1869.
27. Gamma (formerly Kappa), Emory College, 1869.
28. Lambda, Oglethorpe University, 1870 (died 1871), re-established as the Rho Delta Chapter in 1969.
29. Mu, Trinity College (North Carolina), 1871.
30. Pi (formerly Mu), Kentucky Military Institute, 1872.

United order.

31. Eta (deuteron), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1878.
32. Lambda, California University, 1875.
33. Omicron, Sheffield Scientific School, 1877.
34. Rho, Lafayette College, 1874.
35. Phi, Amherst College, 1873.

There was also a graduate chapter in Philadelphia from 1870 to 1873, and three more chapters—Xi, at Virginia Agricultural College; Omicron, at St. John's College of Arkansas; and Pi, at Randolph–Macon—are sometimes classed with those of the Southern order. The Kenyon Chapter became extinct principally from reverses caused by the Rebellion. The Tau allowed its membership to fall below the requisite number, and the charter was withdrawn. The Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, and Zeta—the entire Southern order—were compelled to suspend by the Rebellion. The Alpha, Gamma, and Delta were re-established. The Beta had been incorporated by the State. The Chi was formerly the Beta Chapter of Alpha Digamma. Eta was killed by the faculty in 1875, but has recently been revived. The Rho was established by members of the Delta of the now defunct fraternity of Iota Alpha Kappa.

The existing chapters are nearly all in an excellent condition, although, by the recent passage of anti-fraternity laws, the future of Mu is uncertain.

The fraternity has issued no regular catalogue, but in 1878 a preliminary pamphlet was published. The present membership is about two thousand. Chi Phi has no honorary members. Among its eminent graduates are the Hon. Wm. S. Stenger; Hon. Emory Speer; Dr. Shadrack Simpson, President of Yadkin College; Hon. Calvin M. Duncan, of Pennsylvania; Ralph H. Graves, Professor of Engineering, University of North Carolina; Prof. H. C. White, of the University of Georgia; Dr. King Wylly, of Savannah; Hon. Walter B. Hill, of Georgia; Col. Delancey Kane, of New York; and Brigadier-General Lucius H. Warren, of Philadelphia. The official organ of the society is a journal called the "Chi-Phi Quarterly," begun in 1874. Previous to that time the Pennsylvania chapters had published a paper called the "Chi-Phi Chackett." A large number of pieces of instrumental music have appeared under the fraternity’s name, and a history of the order is now in preparation. The government of the fraternity is vested in the conventions. During their recesses the executive consists of three officers, members of the Grand Lodge or Chi Phi Chapter, whose headquarters are in New York City. The constitution of the fraternity is printed, and it is not kept secret.

The badge is a monogram consisting of the "Χ" placed directly over the "Φ." It is always jewelled, and a pearl or diamond is set in the centre. The colors are scarlet and blue.