The New Student's Reference Work/Phi Beta Kappa
Phi Beta Kappa, a collegiate Greek-letter fraternity composed of the first third of the senior class in American colleges. This society was founded in 1776 in Raleigh Tavern at Williamsburgh, Virginia, by 44 undergraduates of William and Mary College, of whom John Marshall, afterward chief-justice of the United States, was one. Branches were established at Yale (1780) and Harvard (1781), and since then chapters have been formed in many universities and colleges, with an active membership in 1907 of close upon 13,000. Vassar was the first woman's college to receive a charter.