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Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (1879)/Phi Kappa Sigma

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

Founded at the University of Pennsylvania, October, 1850, by S. B. W. Mitchell, J. B. Hodge, A. V. Du Pont, C. H. Hutchinson, R T. Stone, Duane Williams, and A. A. Ripka. Delta Phi was at that time the only chapter in the university, and probably opposition to this chapter was a large factor in the origin of the new order. It soon spread West and South, and has had the following chapters:

  1. Alpha, Pennsylvania University, 1850.
  2. Beta, Princeton College, 1853 (died 1876).
  3. Gamma, Lafayette College, 1853.
  4. Delta, Washington-Jefferson College, 1854
  5. Epsilon, Dickinson College, 1854.
  6. Zeta, Franklin and Marshall College, 1855.
  7. Eta, Virginia University, 1855.
  8. Theta, Louisiana Centenary College, 1855 (died 18Gl).
  9. Iota, Columbia College, 1855 (died 1868).
  10. Kappa, Emory and Henry College, 1856 (died 1861)
  11. Lambda, North Carolina University, 1856 (died
  12. Mu, Louisiana University, 18,58 (died 1861).
  13. Nu, Cumberland University, 1859 (died 1861).
  14. Xi, Mississippi University, 1859 (died 1861).
  15. Omicron, Centre College, 1860 (died 1862).
  16. Pi, Harvard University, 1865 (died 1865).
  17. Rho, Austin College, 1865 (died 1865).
  18. Sigma, Lehigh University, 1870 (died 1877).
  19. Tau, Randolph Macon College, 1872.
  20. Upsilon, Northwestern University, 1872.
  21. Phi, Richmond College, 1873 (died 1877).
  22. Chi, Racine College, 1873 (died 1875).
  23. Psi, Long Island College Hospital, 1876.

The fraternity has been peculiarly unfortunate. The civil war closed abruptly the career of all the Southern Chapters then existing, viz.: Eta, Theta, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Nu, Xi, and Omicron. The Eta alone was revived, and is now one of the best chapters in Virginia. The Iota was rendered inactive by the indirect effect of the war upon Columbia’s prosperity. The Beta had hardly been organized when anti-fraternity laws were passed by the faculty. The chapter continued an active existence in secret, however, for many years, when at the time indicated it ceased to initiate new members. The Pi was mainly composed of graduate members from other colleges, and without discipline soon became inoperative. The Rho was killed by a visitation of yellow fever. The Sigma returned its charter upon finding the quality of the students falling off. The Chi was killed by antifraternity laws. The Phi was for five years one of the best chapters in Richmond. From a variety of causes it became reduced to two men in 1877, and these having connected themselves with another fraternity (ΒΦΠ), the chapter expired.

Phi Kappa Sigma has met with reverses which were sufficient to kill almost any organization. Losing ten out of sixteen chapters at once in 1861, it was enough to bring despondency to the whole order. Obstacles have been surmounted, however, and in Southern Pennsylvania the fraternity is very strong, and bids fair to have as bright a future as any of its numerous rivals.

The government consists essentially of a Grand Lodge and an Executive Board; the former meets annually, and a grand convocation takes place once in three years. The conventions usually assemble in Philadelphia, New York, or Baltimore. There are no honorary members, and undergraduate students only are eligible to membership. Among the alumni are Rt. Rev. D. S. Tuttle, Bishop of Montana; Prof. Dr. Erskine Mason, of New York University; Samuel Dickson, of the Philadelphia Bar; Rev. Wm. S. Boardman, of Camden, N. J.; Biedermann du Pont, of Louisville; Hon. Charles Haight, of New Jersey; Prof. Chas. F. Hines, of Dickinson College; Col. Henry K. Douglas, of Maryland; Hon. E. J. Ellis, of New Orleans; and Judge Taylor Beatty, of Louisiana. The catalogue of the fraternity has been frequently issued, a handsome edition appearing in 1872. Besides the catalogue annual statements of the fraternity’s membership have been published, and other documents of a more private nature. Several pieces of music bear the fraternity’s name. The total number of members is about 1400.

The badge is a Maltese cross, with skull and crossbones in the centre. In the upper arm of the cross is a six-pointed star, in the other arms are the letters “Φ” “Κ” “Ψ.” The colors are black and gold.