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From the Archives: National Panhellenic Council Badge

The history of women’s fraternities/sororities in the United States of America goes back to 1851 when Alpha Delta Pi was founded at Wesleyan College (at the time called Wesleyan Female College). These spaces would have been a haven for women to support each other during a time when very few of them were able to access higher education or pursue a career. This is clearly seen in the founding of Delta Gamma which was envisioned by our Founders as a society of mutual helpfulness. The number of these organizations grew significantly over the next few decades.  

By the 1890s there was an effort to form an inter-sorority consortium. A meeting among several organizations took place in Boston in 1891 to discuss this possibility. But it was not until 1902 when Alpha Phi invited eight other institutions (including Delta Gamma) to a meeting in Chicago that such an organization was officially formed. The purpose was to, “assist collegiate and alumnae chapters of the NPC member organizations in cooperating with colleges and universities and to foster interfraternal relationships.” Today, the National Panhellenic Conference consists of 26 sororities. 

Just two years after its formation Grace Telling, Sigma-Northwestern served as the second Chairman of NPC. Three more Delta Gamma’s who hold this role over the years, Marguerite Lake, Psi-Goucher in 1911, Helen Byers, Mu-Missouri in 1953, and Martha Brown Gamma Nu-North Texas in 2003. This medallion was created using a badge from 1893 that belonged to Mary Halstead, Sigma-Northwestern for Marth Brown during her chairmanship. Halstead severed as an NPC delegate from 1928 – 1932.   

This object serves as a reminder of how Delta Gammas have sought to be leaders not just within our own organization but also in the wider community.   

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From the Archives: Article II

What better Delta Gamma artifact to start the sesquicentennial year with than Article II? Ask 150 Delta Gammas, “What is Delta Gamma?” and you will likely hear the word “friendship” in all 150 answers.  

1877 Delta Gamma Constitution.

The origin of Article II goes back to our very founding. The very first Constitution was written the night Delta Gamma was created. Anna, Eva and Mary were sitting on “Old father Noah”, the name they had given the large four-poster bed in their room when they decided to form a society for mutual helpfulness. Because Anna was seated outside the bed, she slipped out and retrieved a pad of paper and pen. The three then wrote the first Constitution and bylaws. Unfortunately, that document has been lost to time. The oldest Delta Gamma Constitution dates to 1877 and is kept in the Frances Lewis Stevenson Archives at Executive Offices. As it was only four years after the founding, it is likely very similar to the one the Founder wrote that night. 

At that time, the wording that is the predecessor of Article II of today was not its own article; it was section two of article one. It read, “The object of this club is the improvement of its members, morally and intellectually, and for the cultivation of sisterly love.” Revisions were made throughout the years, and in 1885, we see something closer to what we have today.   

1885 Delta Gamma Constitution.

While the wording has changed, we can see the origins of the Article II of today, “The object of this Fraternity shall be to foster high ideals of friendship among women, to promote their educational and cultural interests, to create in them a true sense of social responsibility, and to develop in them the best qualities of character.” As we reflect on the past 150 years of our history, we will be considering not only the times when this ideal has been upheld but also times when it has failed to be upheld.  

What do you think Article II will look like in another 150 years?  

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For Immediate Release: 

Contact: Mallory Borino, Director of Marketing and Communications,

Delta Gamma Fraternity Mourns the Loss of Collegiate Member Bailey Passarella 

Columbus, Ohio [December 5, 2022] – It is with deep sorrow that we share the passing of Gamma Xi-Texas Tech member Bailey Passarella.  

An undergraduate student at Texas Tech University, Bailey was pursuing a biology degree and joined Delta Gamma in the fall of 2021. Bailey was known for her smile that would brighten up any room, her laugh and funny TikToks. Sisters have described her as a constant safe and supportive space and one of the reasons why Delta Gamma felt like home. 

Fraternity President Dr. Amy R. Ayres, Alpha Iota-Oklahoma, shared, “It is with great sadness that Delta Gamma Fraternity acknowledges the passing of collegian Bailey Passarella. For our Gamma Xi sisters at Texas Tech, we wish for peace, comfort and courage during this time of sorrow. We hold Bailey’s family and her collegiate sisters close to our hearts during this difficult time.”

You can view information on Bailey’s memorial service and obituary here.

About Delta Gamma: Delta Gamma Fraternity was founded in 1873 at the Lewis School in Oxford, Mississippi. The Fraternity’s primary purpose is to foster high ideals of friendship, promote educational and cultural interests, create a true sense of social responsibility and develop the best qualities of character. Delta Gamma has more than 260,000 initiated members, 151 collegiate chapters and more than 190 alumnae groups. Delta Gamma Fraternity Executive Offices is in Columbus, Ohio.

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From the Archives: Centennial Quilt

Centennial Quilt, 2022.

Delta Gamma was born in December 1873 when three young women found themselves far from home for the holiday season. They formed a club for mutual helpfulness that has grown into an international organization. We say goodbye to 2022 and enter 2023, the year Delta Gamma will turn 150 years old. For this final blog post of the year, we will look at one of the largest objects kept in the Frances Lewis Stevenson Archives: the centennial quilt.   

In 1973, to celebrate Delta Gamma turning 100 years old, Officer Training Seminar (OTS) was held in Oxford, Mississippi, June 20–26. Kathryn Bell Gray, Mu-Missouri, who served as Fraternity President from 1972–1973, asked delegates to participate in a quilting bee as part of the centennial celebration. In her call to action, she spoke of how common quilting bees were at the time of the organization’s founding and alluded to what a quilt can symbolize, “You pieced your own, or you helped a friend. Then you took it to a gathering of ladies to be quilted. In this Centennial Year, and with your help, Delta Gamma is about to have a quilting bee. We are going to make a friendship quilt stitched with happy memories and hope for the future of our Fraternity.”  

New square sewn on the Centennial quilt.

Kits and instructions were distributed, and each chapter was asked to create a design that reflected their school, location or their chapter in some way. But there were also several requirements for the design. Each had to include the chapter’s letters and installation date as well as the name of the school. Squares for chapters no longer in existence were crafted by alumnae. The center square, larger than the rest, representing the Mother chapter, was done by Mary Ann Dalton Shepard, Nu-Idaho. New sections have been added over time over. As part of the 150 celebration, squares from chapters not yet represented on the quilt were gathered. They were sewn on by Nikki Sabato, Eta Upsilon-Drexel, an alumna initiate who was initiated at the 2022 Convention.

The Centennial Quilt is featured in the Cable Connection section of the Winter 2022 ANCHORA. Stay tuned to learn more about the work put into completing the squares for chapters established since 1973.

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From the Archives: The First Delta Gamma Cookbook

The first Delta Gamma cookbook was proposed to help fund Delta Gamma’s scholarship program. As far back as 1880, there were discussions of how to provide financial assistance to members when Sallie Young, Delta I-Trinity, wrote to the Mother chapter expressing her hope that such a fund could be established. At the 1911 Convention held in Waupaca, Wisconsin this hope finally became a reality. Ruth Rosholt, Lambda-Minnesota, presented a report on an investigation she conducted into fellowships and scholarships in other women’s fraternities. To raise the funds needed, it was decided that $200 from the treasury would be used and 50 cents from every initiation fee and from the annual dues of each member. 

Another funding source would be the sale of the first Delta Gamma Cookbook. This project was led by the Minneapolis alumnae chapter. Compiled from recipes sent in by members, it was published in 1912. By 1913 it had made a $500 profit. The recipes featured in the book came from Delta Gammas far and wide. Two of our Founders contributed to the book. Mary Comfort Leonard submitted several recipes: Southern Corn Meal Spoon Bread, Fruit Cake, Cheese Straws and a drink called Blackberry Acid. Eva Webb Dodd submitted recipes for Ribbon Cake and Divinity Loaf, as well as chocolate and marshmallow filling for cakes. 

Photo of the 1912 Delta Gamma Cookbook
Recipes from 1912 Delta Gamma Cookbook

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From the Archives: The First Alumnae Chapter

Article from the Cleveland Press, March 4, 1968.


The story of Delta Gamma’s first alumnae chapter reflects an important cultural moment in the United States in the 19th century. Allowing women to attend higher education institutions alongside male students was a controversial issue in the 1800s. The first college to admit female students, Oberlin College, did not do so until 1837. When Adelbert College began admitting women in 1883, a Delta Gamma chapter was installed that very year. Out of the 12 female students, seven were Delta Gammas. The women were met with hostility by the male students, as Cornelia Beardslee, Theta II-Adelbert recalls, “The [women] were not popular at Adelbert, and there was a sharp rivalry and jealousy on the [men’s] part as the girls did take the honors in every class.” Despite the women performing so well in their academics, feeling against coeducation grew until, in 1888, Adelbert barred women from attending.  

That year at Convention (the fifth ever held) in Evanston, Illinois, the Delta Gammas from Adelbert applied for a charter of an alumnae chapter. Alumnae had been an active and integral part of the Fraternity for years, and a few had held gatherings. For example, alumnae in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Akron, Ohio, organized from time to time, but no formal alumnae chapter had ever been formed. The Delta Gamma Constitution did not even provide for alumnae chapters at the time women of Adelbert made their request. An article had to be created and incorporated into the Constitution, and the requested charter was ultimately granted.  

Unfortunately, by 1891, the charter was returned. The number of members in the Cleveland area had dwindled to the point that continuing the chapter was not possible. Then, in 1912 meetings were once again taking place with close to 38 Delta Gammas living in the vicinity. Today, there are two Cleveland alumnae chapters, Cleveland East and Cleveland West Shore. This article, published in the Cleveland Press in 1968, details some of the remarkable history of the first alumnae chapter. Though it does contain one error, suggesting Delta Gamma was founded in 1883 instead of 1873.  

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From the Archives: Lewis School Door

Lewis School Door

Sometimes, the most seemingly mundane, everyday object can have an extraordinary history and symbolism. This is the case with this door from the Lewis School. Founded in the mid-1850s by Mrs. C.E. Lewis in Oxford, Mississippi, it went through several name changes over the years. Similar schools for young women, called female seminaries, existed throughout the country, with an estimated 3,000 operating in 1850. They were very often the only option a woman had to receive a formal education. Such institutions were only accessible to a small portion of women. The Lewis School, like other schools for girls at the time, would have focused on teaching their students “lady-like” subjects such as the arts and classical literature with little math or science.  

When the Founders went away to school in 1873, they were virtually completely cut off from their family and friends back home. The closest train station to their hometown Kosciusko was 16 miles away in Durant, and Oxford was another 100 miles away. Roads at the time could be rough and hazardous, and there was no quick, easy way to travel back home. Walking through the door, the school was a metaphorical portal into a new phase of their lives.  

Less than ten years later, the nearby University of Mississippi began admitting women. The Lewis School was able to continue for several years, but like other female seminaries, they could not survive in the face of coeducation becoming more common. Before the building was torn down, alumnae of Psi-Lewis rescued several pieces of the structure, including this door. Its survival, and the survival of the other Lewis School artifacts, is remarkable. Kept in Frances Lewis Stevenson Archives at Executive Offices, it is one of our oldest artifacts. 

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From the Archives: The First Delta Gamma Songbook

First Songbook Cover

Music and songs have been a part of the history of Delta Gamma from its very early days. The publication of the first Delta Gamma songbook came after several years of discussion and frequent changes in who was responsible for its compilation and publication. While some of this early history is murky much of it can be traced through the Convention minutes. The first mention in the minutes of Delta Gamma songs came at the 1883 Convention (the second Convention ever held). Dora Zimmerman, Alpha-Mount Union suggested “a committee be appointed in regard to having more songs added to our list of DG music.” At the 1885 Convention Mary Gladwin, Eta-Akron made a motion to appoint Theta II-Adelbert to compile material for a Delta Gamma songbook “to be brought forward at the next Convention.”  

Song from the First DG Songbook

At that next Convention in 1888, some traction was finally made. The Convention minutes state, “On motion, the compilation of the Song Book was left with Zeta chapter subject to correction and revision by the Grand chapter and the alumnae of Theta chapter.” This alumnae chapter, the very first in Delta Gamma’s history was formed after Adelbert College barred women from attending. This likely explains the responsibility for the songbook being transferred to Zeta-Albion. Later that year the first Delta Gamma songbook was finally published. 

Unfortunately, this first effort did not leave a positive impression. Containing only nine songs it was referred to as a “pathetic little pamphlet.” Just a year later at the 1889 Convention, the songbook committee was at work attempting to create a new version but were struggling to find enough songs, “Miss Osborne, Zeta chapter reports that only 25 songs suitable for publication had been received.” The second version would finally be published in 1895. There have been nine Delta Gamma songbooks published over the organization’s history, the current version contains over 80 songs.  

Note: the history of the Theta chapter of Delta Gamma (Theta-Indiana: 1898-Present; Theta I-Fairmont: closed 1880; Theta II-Adelbert: 1883-1888).