Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (1879)/Phi Gamma Delta
This fraternity was founded at Jefferson College in 1848, and before that institution was united with Washington College. It was the first fraternity established there, and remained without a rival until the foundation of Phi Kappa Psi, three years later. The founders were Samuel B. Wilson, James Elliot, John T. McCarty, D. Webster Crofts, Ellis B. Gregg, and N. Fletcher. Situated as Jefferson College was on the border of the North and South, the fraternity extended itself naturally in both directions, and has always had a large Southern element. The war, therefore, had a marked effect upon the society’s prosperity. It has been the policy of Phi Gamma Delta never to absorb any local organizations, and it has extended itself as follows:
- Alpha, Washington-Jefferson College, 1848 (died 1878).
- *Gamma, — —, 1850 (died 1861).
- Delta, Unioll University, 1851 (died 1875).
- Epsilon, University of North Carolina, 1851 (died 1861).
- *Zeta., — —, 1852 (died 1852).
- Zeta, Indiana State University, 1870.
- Eta, Marietta College, 1855 (died 1866).
- Theta, Alabama University, 1856 (died 1877).
- *Iota, — —, 1855 (died 1858).
- Kappa, Baylor University, 1856 (died 1868).
- Lambda, Indiana Asbury University, 1856.
- Mu, Howard College, 1857 (died 1861).
- Nu, Bethel College, 1857.
- Xi, Pennsylvania College, 1.858.
- Omicron, Virginia University, 1859.
- Pi, Allegheny College, 1858.
- Rho, Kentucky University, 1859 (died 1861).
- Sigma, Western University of Pennsylvania, 1863 (died 1871).
- Tau, Hanover College, 1864.
- Upsilon, New York City College, 1865.
- Phi, Maryland University, 1878 .
- Chi, Monmouth College, 1866 (died 1871).
- Psi, Wbash College, 1866.
- Omega, Columbia College, 1866 (died 1873).
- Delta Alpha, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1867.
- Delta Beta, Roanoke College, 1867.
- Delta Gamma, Knox College, 1867 (died 18(8).
- Delta Delta, Hampden Sydney College, 1870.
- Delta Epsilon, Muhlenberg College, 1868.
- Delta Zeta, Washington-Lee University, 1868.
- Delta Eta, Mississippi University, 1870 (died 1879).
- Delta Theta, Ohio Wsleyan University, 1870.
- Delta Iota, Cumberland University, 1870.
- Delta Kappa, Georgia University, 1872 (died 1874).
- Delta Lambda, Thiel College, 1872 (died 1874).
- Delta Mu, Iowa State University, 1873 (died 1874).
- Delta Nu, Sheffield Scientific School, 1875 (died 1876).
- Delta Xi, Western Reserve College, 1876.
- Delta Omicron, Ohio State University, 1878.
- The name omitted at the request of the fraternity.- W. H. B.
The Beta was at Washington College, Pennsylvania, having been established in 1848. The two colleges were united in 1869, and as a consequence the Alpha and Beta Chapters were consolidated under the name of Alpha. The united chapter was killed by the faculty soon after the union, but was revived in 1875, only, however, to become again inactive in 1878. The Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Theta, Kappa, Mu, and Rho Chapters were forced to disband by the Rebellion; Delta was revived in 1871, but died soon after. Theta also was revived in 1876, but was killed by the trustees the next year. Kappa was reorganized in 1866, but soon became defunct. The Rho has not been revived, though several applications have been received from the university. The Zeta as at first established had an extremely small membership. The Eta became weak from the sudden withdrawal of the Southern men from college, and did not long survive the Rebellion. The Iota had but five members, three of whom belonged to other chapters. The Lambda is probably the best chapter in the fraternity, and several of the professors of the university are members. The Nu Chapter has a predominating literary element, and the colege president is a member. The Omicron and Delta Zeta Chapters are very small, but the personnel of the members is of a high character. The charters of the Sigma, Chi, Delta Gamma, Delta Mu, and Delta Nu were withdrawn by the authorities of the fraternity. The Sigma will soon be re-established. Upsilon became defunct from lack of members in 1877, but has since been revived. The Phi Chapter was originally in Kansas, all the members being relatives; from private causes it was moved to Illinois, where family exclusiveness caused its death in 1871. It is now the youngest chapter. Delta Eta has now but one member, and will soon cease to exist. Delta Kappa and Delta Lamba were both killed by a vote of the trustees forbidding secret societies in their respective colleges. An effort was made by members of the Delta Nu Chapter to establish it as a “Junior” society at Yale, and consequently its charter was withdrawn, as before mentioned. The progress of the fraternity has been rapid, although the propriety of its method of extension might be questioned.
The badge of the fraternity is a diamond about an inch in length; in the line of one of the diagonals are placed the letters. Above the letters is a single star in white enamel, and below is inscribed “αώμή.”
Among the names of Phi Gamma Delta’s eminent graduates are those of Rt. Rev. Wm. McLauren, of Illinois; Hon. H. Y. Riddle, of Tennessee; Governor Vance, of North Carolina; Hon. M. C. Hunter; Ed. Eggleston, the author; Hon. W. G. Goodloe, late Minister to Brussels; Gen. Lew Wallace, and Rev. G. De La Matyr, of Indiana; J. M. Thompson, the bowman; and Gen. Geo. A. Sheridan, with many others in professional life.
The fraternity catalogue is issued once in eight years, and is ably edited and handsomely printed. The total membership of the society is now about 2750. The members of the fraternity are generally called "Phi Gammas,” except at the New York City College, where they are called “Fijis,” and have accepted the name. The color of the society is royal purple.