the Delta Gamma Blog

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).