International Fraternity History

Posted by admin | | Saturday 5 February 2011 11:47 am

History of Delta Tau Delta International Fraternity

Delta Tau Delta fraternity was founded in 1858 at Bethany College in Bethany, Virginia (now West Virginia). The social life on campus was typical of the small colleges of the day, with activities centered around the Neotrophian Society, a literary society. Two secret groups, named in the original documents of the Fraternity, were operating an attempt to gain control of the society and its honors.

According to a report by Jacob S. Lowe written in 1859, in late 1858 a group of students met in Lowe’s room in the Dowdell boarding house to discuss means to regain control of the Neotrophian Society and return control to the students at large. A constitution, name, badge, ritual and motto were devised, and Delta Tau Delta was born.

Important in the early history of Delta Tau Delta was the initiation of two men, Rhodes Sutton and Samuel Brown, into the fraternity. They were required to ride from what was then Jefferson College in Washington to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania to deliver the Alpha Charter to Ohio Wesleyan College in an effort to keep the fraternity alive.

In 1886, Delta Tau Delta merged with the Rainbow Fraternity, an old and respected southern fraternity founded in 1848 at the University of Mississippi. This was in response to Delta Tau Delta’s declining number of chapters in the South.

After the Ohio Wesleyan chapter disappears in 1875, Allegheny chapter, the fourth and final chapter to hold Alpha designation, assumes control of the Fraternity. James S. Eaton, Alpha (Allegheny) 1875, a “hero” of the Fraternity, travels to Delaware, Ohio to collect what remains of the organization’s records he can find. After discovering what little he can about the loss of the Ohio Wesleyan members, he brings the “Alpha” designation back with him to Allegheny. There, a well-managed group of undergraduates handle their own chapter affairs as well as the supervision of the whole Fraternity. Delta Tau Delta flourishes during Allegheny’s era of control; a magazine is established; 15 chapters are founded, of which eight survive (several others are reestablished later).

Delta Tau Delta now has one-hundred sixteen undergraduate chapters and colonies, over six thousand active undergraduates, over one-hundred fifteen thousand living alumni, and has initiated over one-hundred fifty thousand members since its founding.