Phi Beta Kappa
- Existence: 1892-09-07
The Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Tufts University was organized on September 7, 1892.
The Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (PBK), a national honorary society, was chartered on September 7, 1892, 1892 through the efforts of Thomas Wentworth Higginson, President of the United Chapters, Professor William R. Shipman, a member of the society at Middlebury College and the first librarian at Tufts, and Professor Frank Pierrepont Graves, a professor of classics while at Tufts and a member of the society at Columbia University - the year before the original chapter at the College of William and Mary was reactivated. The Tufts chapter was the fourth in the state to be established, and hence the designation "Delta." Nationally, women were first admitted to Phi Beta Kappa in 1875. Among the first cohort of women studying at Tufts, two were initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1896; there were a total of six initiates that year.
The PBK Executive Board of Delta Chapter at Tufts University elects students in the spring who show academic excellence in a wide array of disciplines, as well as intellectual commitment, originality and achievement in a particular area, and the quality of mind characteristic of a true scholar.
Phi Beta Kappa was founded on December 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary. Since then, Phi Beta Kappa has evolved to become the nation's leading advocate for the liberal arts and sciences at the undergraduate level. Phi Beta Kappa elects over 15,000 new members a year from 280 chapters across the United States.
On December 5, 1776, a group of young men at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia met to create a secret society, Phi Beta Kappa, at once intellectual and social in purpose. They held their first meetings in the Apollo Room of the Raleigh Tavern, the same room in which Patrick Henry, in 1774, called for the creation of a Continental Congress to resist British policy. In their clandestine meetings, the members seriously debated a host of questions such as, "Whether a wise state hath any interest nearer at heart than the education of the Youth." Soon afterward, the establishment of chapters at Yale and Harvard insured that Phi Beta Kappa would survive the arrival of General Cornwallis's troops at Williamsburg. Over the years, as more chapters came into existence, the organization evolved into an honor society, intended to recognize academic excellence and intellectual achievement. A national organization was created in 1883, now located in Washington, D.C., to bring together the scattered chapters into some uniformity. The Society now has over 500,000 living members elected over the years by the 280 chapters at colleges and universities throughout the country (electing over 15,000 new members a year).
Found in 31 Collections and/or Records:
(left to right) Raymond G. Ockert and Robert W. Meserve; Photographic History of Tufts College: Vol. 47, Box No. 47, Pg. 4.
This collection document the activities of the Delta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) at Tufts University and consists of artifacts, the membership card catalog (up until 1978), and subject files. Significant topics in this collection include the recruitment and initiation of new Tufts University Phi Beta Kappa members.