PHI BETA KAPPA. GAMMA CHAPTER OF GEORGIA (EMORY UNIVERSITY)
Phi Beta Kappa Gamma Chapter of Georgia records, 1906-2001

Emory University

Emory University Archives

Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, GA 30322

404-727-6887

rose.library@emory.edu

Permanent link: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/bmk65


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Phi Beta Kappa. Gamma Chapter of Georgia (Emory University)
Title: Phi Beta Kappa Gamma Chapter of Georgia records, 1906-2001
Call Number:Series No. 88
Extent: 9 linear ft. (19 boxes)
Abstract:Phi Beta Kappa Gamma Chapter of Georgia was established at Emory University in 1929. Phi Beta Kappa, founded 1776, is a national student honors society dedicated to liberal education and intellectual fellowship. The collection consists of the records, 1929-2001, of Phi Beta Kappa Georgia Gamma at Emory University. Earlier items include the records, 1906-1963, of Gamma Chapter predecessor, Alpha Epsilon Upsilon Honor Society at Emory College, and the chapter planning files, 1924-1929, of Theodore Henley Jack (b. 1881), dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Emory University. The records include correspondence of the chapter secretary, record books, bylaws, financial records, reports, membership rosters, and printed materials related to the administration and activities of the chapter, including chapter officer elections, member nominations and initiation, Phi Beta Kappa national conferences, and local social events. Notable among members represented in the collection is Goodrich C. White (b. 1889).
Language:Materials entirely in English.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Special restrictions apply: Researchers must contact MARBL in advance to access audiovisual materials in this collection.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.

Source

Transfer

Citation

[after identification of item(s)], Phi Beta Kappa Gamma Chapter of Georgia records, Emory University Archives, Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, Emory University.

Processing

Processed by Ben Nobbs-Thiessen, February 2011.


Collection Description

Administrative History

Phi Beta Kappa is a national student honors society and the first Greek letter society in North America. It was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia as a secret fraternity devoted to liberal education and intellectual fellowship. The establishment of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Emory began in 1906 with the creation of an Alpha Epsilon Upsilon Honor Society by Dr. William Lander Weber, Professor of English at Emory College in Oxford. Weber believed that the creation of this society would increase Emory's chances of securing its own chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in the future. By 1924, Emory had been placed on a tentative list for membership in Phi Beta Kappa and two years later it was placed first on a list of three potential chapter locations in the Southeast. This was in large part due to the tiresome work of Theodore Jack, dean of the School of Liberal Arts. On April 5th,1929, Emory was awarded the third chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (referred to as Gamma chapter) to be installed in the state of Georgia.

The administration of Phi Beta Kappa consists of four executive officers, President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer that are elected by members annually in the spring. The membership includes members in course (undergraduates with a high academic standing), honorary and alumni members (academics with a long, distinguished career) and associate members (those who were initiated by other campus chapters of Phi Beta Kappa before receiving employment with Emory). The principal work of the institution is the biannual election of new members, a process that all four classes of existing members are entitled to take part in. Once elected members have accepted their invitation to join the society, they are subsequently initiated at a formal dinner where they sign the chapter record book and receive engraved certificates and society keys. The chapter also selects members to send to triennial meetings of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa where the business of the society as a whole is transacted. The United chapters convenes to vote on the creation of new chapters, publishes the society's newspaper The Key Reporter and runs a Visiting Scholar Program. Individual chapters have the opportunity to select these guest lecturers from an annual list put together by the United Chapters. In addition to these functions the Gamma chapter at Emory also hosts periodic Atlanta area dinners and anniversary banquets. In 1979, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the chapter's founding, Gamma of Georgia hosted an international conference entitled "Intellect and Imagination."

Phi Beta Kappa is a national student honors society and the first Greek letter society in North America. It was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia as a secret fraternity devoted to liberal education and intellectual fellowship. The establishment of a Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Emory began in 1906 with the creation of an Alpha Epsilon Upsilon Honor Society by Dr. William Lander Weber, Professor of English at Emory College in Oxford. Weber believed that the creation of this society would increase Emory's chances of securing its own chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in the future. By 1924, Emory had been placed on a tentative list for membership in Phi Beta Kappa and two years later it was placed first on a list of three potential chapter locations in the Southeast. This was in large part due to the tiresome work of Theodore Jack, dean of the School of Liberal Arts. On April 5th,1929, Emory was awarded the third chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (referred to as Gamma chapter) to be installed in the state of Georgia.

The administration of Phi Beta Kappa consists of four executive officers, President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer that are elected by members annually in the spring. The membership includes members in course (undergraduates with a high academic standing), honorary and alumni members (academics with a long, distinguished career) and associate members (those who were initiated by other campus chapters of Phi Beta Kappa before receiving employment with Emory). The principal work of the institution is the biannual election of new members, a process that all four classes of existing members are entitled to take part in. Once elected members have accepted their invitation to join the society, they are subsequently initiated at a formal dinner where they sign the chapter record book and receive engraved certificates and society keys. The chapter also selects members to send to triennial meetings of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa where the business of the society as a whole is transacted. The United chapters convenes to vote on the creation of new chapters, publishes the society's newspaper The Key Reporter and runs a Visiting Scholar Program. Individual chapters have the opportunity to select these guest lecturers from an annual list put together by the United Chapters. In addition to these functions the Gamma chapter at Emory also hosts periodic Atlanta area dinners and anniversary banquets. In 1979, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the chapter's founding, Gamma of Georgia hosted an international conference entitled "Intellect and Imagination."

Scope and Content Note

The archives of Phi Beta Kappa Gamma Chapter of Georgia include materials that predate the chapter's founding. These include the archives of its predecessor the Alpha Epsilon Upsilon honor society as well as the chapter planning files of Theodore Jack dean of the College of liberal arts at Emory. The most recent archived materials are the record books from 2001. The records in this collection measure approximately 6 linear feet. The collection is organized into four series: Administrative Materials, Election Materials, Events, and Printed Materials.

The Administrative Materials series, 1906-2001 is arranged into four subseries: Chapter Founding, Record Books, and the Secretary and Treasurer papers. The Chapter Founding subseries contains the Planning Files of Theodore Jack and the early files of the Alpha Epsilon Upsilon honor society. The Record Books subseries contains the annual record books of the institution. These are an abridged version of the archives organized annually. They include annual reports, the signatures of inductees, meeting notices and election materials and are a good place for researchers to begin. The bulk of the administrative materials are found in the Secretary subseries. The secretary's files include a range of items, among them, notices of meetings, annual reports, and records of changes to the bylaws. By far the largest portion of the secretary's papers are devoted to the voluminous correspondence both within the chapter and with the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. The arrangement of the archive reflects the increase in correspondence on the part of the secretary over the years. While earlier folders from the 1930s are organized under the secretary's name, (Goodrich C. White, Charles Hounshell, Arthur Allen papers), beginning in the late 1940s and early 1950s correspondence is archived directly under the categories described above. Though mention of the office of Chapter President and Vice-President appear in the Chapter Bylaws, the bulk of administrative work appears to have passed through the Chapter Secretary. The Treasurer subseries is much smaller and contains budgetary papers as well as order forms for jewelry for initiation certificates.

The Election Materials series, 1930-2001 contains three subs-series: Membership, Nomination and Correspondence. The Membership subseries consists of the frequently updated membership roster (with new initiates) and the related requests for information regarding existing members. It also contains Membership memorabilia such as printer's blocks, stamps and keys(contained in box 8) and Membership cards(boxes 9 and 10). As all members were eligible to vote in the biannual elections, the chapter went to great lengths to keep a current listing of members-in-course, as well as alumni, honorary and associate members. The Nomination subseries is further subdivided at the folder level into Student Nominations and Alumni Nominations,with Honorary Membership nomination subsumed under the latter. In practice, student nomination materials were lists of eligible students along with their GPA (though other factors including academic leadership were taken into account), that were then commented on by the election committee. Alumni and Honorary nominations took the form of a personal recommendation from Phi Beta Kappa members that often included a CV and biographical information. When the election committee had finished making its nominations successful candidates were contacted by the secretary with an invitation to membership. The Correspondence subseries contains these letters of invitation and the acceptance (and occasional rejection) letters from nominees. Initially the chapter only archived letters of acceptance but from 1960 onwards both the outgoing letters of invitation and the responses were preserved. This is reflected in the folder headings.

The Events series, 1929-1983 is divided into four subseries: Banquets, Triennial Councils, Addresses, Visiting Scholars, and 50th Anniversary Symposium. The Banquets subseries covers a series of individual and periodic events sponsored by the chapter. These include the Chapter Installation banquet, a banquet for Princeton Dean Christian Gauss in honor of Emory's Centennial celebration, Spring and Fall Initiation dinners (prior to the late 1950s this information is contained in the Secretary's papers), Atlanta Area Dinners (a chapter-sponsored event through the 1960s) and the 25th and the 50th anniversaries of the chapter's founding. The Triennial Councils subseries contains the records of three Triennial councils (1937, 1961, 1967) that generated significant amounts of correspondence. This is especially true for the 1937 Triennial council which was hosted by the Emory chapter. The minimal correspondence related to other triennial councils is contained in the Secretary's files under United Chapters Correspondence. The Addresses subseries contains the text of the periodic public academic addresses that were a part of the Chapter's functions and role as a liberal arts honor society. These are archived from 1929 up to 1960 and include one address from 1971. The subseries for "Visiting Scholars" takes up where the "Addresses" subseries leaves off beginning in 1957. The Visiting Scholar program was established at the Triennial council of 1955. Selected academics were sent on tours of Phi Beta Kappa's chapters where they spent two days attending classes, meeting members and giving a public lecture. The 50th Anniversary subseries contains video recordings of a 50th anniversary symposium held by the Georgia Gamma chapter of Phi Beta Kappa and co-sponsored with Daedalus, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences's journal. The symposium was titled Intellect and Imagination: The Limits and Presuppositions of Intellectual Inquiry and the proceedings of the symposium were published in the Sping 1980 Daedalus. Participants included physicist Leon Cooper, evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould, neuroscientist Karl Pribram, linguist Charles Hockett, economist Kenneth Boulding, political theorist Judith Shklar, anthropologist James Boon, Sanskritist and historian of religion Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, art historian Leo Steinberg, music historian Leonard Meyer, and philosopher Stanley Cavell. Most of the participants delivered papers at Emory during the spring prior to the symposium. These papers were circulated to the faculty and are included in this collection, as are communications from the University Symposium Committee, chaired by Professor Robert DeHaan.

The Printed Materials series, 1929-1986 is organized chronologically. It includes copies of the Key Reporter, instructional pamphlets produced by the United Chapters, Faculty Publication, published Membership rosters and an official history.

Arrangement Note

Organized into four series: (1) Administrative material, 1906-2001, (2) Election material, 1930-2001, (3) Events, 1929-1983, and (4)Printed material, 1929-1986.


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