This Week in DKE History June 8th - June 14th

June 8, 1864

Lt. Edwin S. Rogers, the 31st Maine Regiment Volunteers (Theta-Bowdoin College) is fatally wounded at Cold Harbour.  The death of Brother Rogers is the subject matter of the famous DKE poem “Brothers in DKE”.  The name of the Southern DKE who comforted Brother Rogers is not known, although extensive efforts have been made by Semmes Favrot of the Alabama Chapter to research the question.  Brother Rogers’s grave in Cold Harbor (Mechanicsville, Virginia) cemetery.

Upon a southern battle-field the twilight shadows fall;
The clash and roar are ended, and the evening bugles call.
The wearied hosts are resting where the ground is stained with red,
And o’er the plain between them lie the wounded and the dead.
And out upon the sodden field, where the armies fought all day,
There came a group of soldiers who wore the rebel gray.
But peaceful was their mission upon the darkened plain:
They came to save their wounded and lay at rest the slain.
And tenderly their hands performed the work they had to do,
And one among them paused beside a wounded boy in blue,
A Northern lad, with curly hair and eyes of softest brown,
Whose coat of blue was red with blood that trickled slowly down.
A bullet hole was in his breast, and there alone he lay
At night upon the battle-field, and moaned his life away.
The rebel paused beside him, and in the lantern’s light
He saw upon the soldier’s breast a fair familiar sight.
It was the pin of D K E, the diamond, stars and scroll,
The emblem of a brotherhood that bound them soul to soul.
He raised his hand and quickly tore his coat of gray apart,
And showed the wounded soldier a Deke pin o’er his heart.
Then close beside the Yankee dropped the rebel to his knee,
And their hands were clasped together in the grip of D K E.
“I’m from Theta,” said the Yankee, and he tried to raise his head;
“I’m from Psi, in Alabama,” were the words the rebel said.
“Brothers from the heart forever” – nothing more was left to say,
Though one was clad in Northern blue and one in Southern gray.
But the Northern lad was dying; his voice was faint at best
As he murmured out his messages to “mother and the rest.”
And as the rebel soothed him, with his head upon his knee,
He heard him whisper “Bowdoin,” and “Dear old D K E.”
And he bandaged up the bosom that was torn by rebel shot;
And bathed the brow with water where the fever fires were hot;
And kissed him for his mother, and breathed a gentle prayer
As the angel’s wings were fluttering above them in the air.
And to a lonely country home, far in the heart of Maine,
A letter soon was carried from that Southern battle plain.
It told about the conflict, and how he bravely fell
Who was the son and brother in that home beloved so well;
It told the simple story of the night when he had died –
All written by the rebel Deke whom God sent to his side.
And when it all was written, the writer sent within
A little lock of curly hair and a battered diamond pin.

And thirty years have passed away, but these simple relics are
Of all a mother treasures dear, the dearest still by far.

A simple tale and simply told, but true; and I thought it might
Well thrill the hearts of loyal Dekes, so I tell it here to-night.
The Northern soldier’s name is found on Bowdoin’s honor-roll;
And the names of both are blazoned fair on DKE’s scroll.
God bless our noble brotherhood; its past is sweet to hear,
And its grandeur and its glory grow with each succeeding year;
And the story of its heroes shall an inspiration be
To us who proudly wear to-day the pin of D K E.

JOHN CLAIR MINOT, Theta (Bowdoin) ‘96

June 8, 1991

The United States Postal Service issues a postage stamp honoring Cole Porter (Phi-Yale University).  The stamp was issued on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Brother Porter, and was issued at Peru, Indiana, his birthplace.

June 8, 2012

Nolan Becker (Phi-Yale University) signed a professional contract to join the Cincinnati Reds organization, following his selection in the 11th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball Draft.  Brother Becker, who finished his junior season at Yale, is the 8th highest selection to come from Yale in the draft’s history.  Brother Becker boosted his credentials for the draft with a 16-strikeout performance in seven innings when Yale posted a 13-7 win over Brown College.  Coach John Stuper was quoted as saying “Nolan has really persevered”, after surgery during his freshman year.  “He never stopped believing in working.  One day this year, he looked like the Nolan I knew was in there.  He reaches 90 to 93 miles per hour and there is a lot more in there.  If you’re building a pitcher, he might be the prototype.  He’s 6 foot 6, with long levers, and he is left-handed.  He is a tremendous athlete.  His coming-out party came on the last day of the season, but his performance didn’t surprise me at all.”

June 9, 1866

William Tecumseh Sherman (Pi-Dartmouth College) was elected as an Honorary member of the Fraternity. His nephew, Henry S. Sherman, was in the Pi Chapter at the time.  His nephew had enlisted at 17 years of age as a Sergeant Major of the 120th Ohio, was promoted for gallantry, and served on the staff of his uncle for some time before resigning to enter the Class of 1866 at Dartmouth.   The President of the Chapter, Nathan Whitman Littlefield inducted Brother Sherman into the Fraternity when Brother Sherman was to the campus to mark the centennial anniversary of the College. Prior to serving as a General in the Union Army, Brother Sherman accepted the job as the first Superintendent of the Louisiana State Seminary of Learning & Military Academy which later became known as Louisiana State University.  The school had been founded in 1853 as the Seminary of Learning of the State of Louisiana.

June 10, 1853

The agenda of the weekly meeting at the Phi-Yale Mother Chapter included the following:  “(a) historical essay; (b) review of the week’s events; (c) a political essay; (d) a fictitious production; (e) discussion; and (f) a debate.”  All of these positions were appointed at each meeting for the next meeting.  At the June 24, 1853 meeting, it was resolved that members would rise before speaking at the meeting.  Meetings were on Friday initially but, after September 22, 1854, meetings were moved to Saturday night.  The February 11, 1862 minutes of Mother Phi contained the following notation:  “There is evidently a lack of interest beginning to show itself in regard to the literary performances of the Society.”  For much of the early decades of the Fraternity, the Fraternity is referred to as a “Society”.  Initially, the name of the Society/Fraternity was noted as being “D.K.E.” whereas it was subsequently referred to in the 20th Century as “DKE”.

June 10, 1858

Alpha Delta Chapter is founded at Jefferson College, Hillsborough, Missouri. The Charter for the Chapter was withdrawn at the 1864 Convention of the Fraternity held at Union College although members were initiated and graduated as late as 1865 from the College.Jefferson College and Washington College merged in 1865 to form Washington and Jefferson College.

June 10, 1861

Theodore Winthrop (Phi-Yale University) was the first Union officer killed in the American Civil War at the Battle of Big Bethel

June 10, 1954

We honor the memory of Charles Francis Adams III, who died this day at age 88.  Brother Adams was the great-great-grandson of the second President, John Adams, and the great-grandson of the sixth President, John Quincy Adams.  Brother Adams served as Mayor of Quincy, Massachusetts (1896-1897), and was appointed by President Hoover as the 44th United States Secretary of the Navy.  Brother Adams served in that capacity between March 5, 1929 and March 4, 1933.  Brother Adams was also a well-known yachtsman.  In 1920, Brother Adams skippered the America’s Cup defender Resolute and soon became known as the “Dean of American Helmsmen”. Brother Adams was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame in 1993.  The Charles Francis Adams Memorial Trophy for yacht racing was established in his memory.  The Navy destroyer USS Charles F. Adams was dedicated in his honor.  As Secretary of the Navy, Brother Adams vigorously promoted public understanding of the indispensable role of the Navy in international affairs and worked strenuously to maintain naval strength and efficiency during a the initial years of the Great Depression.  This photograph shows Brother Adams with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nicholas Longworth (Alpha-Harvard University) on the White House lawn on June 27, 1929.

June 11, 1852

For the initiation of members on that date, Mother Phi published six songs.  At the time, the initiation included a number of songs that were sung by the brothers and by the new initiates sung at suitable times during the initiation.  The songs published included a “Drinking Song” sung to the tune of “Nelly Bly”, and a “Smoking Song” sung to the tune of “Roll on Silver Moon”.

June 11, 1878

John David Isaacs (Eta-University of Virginia) was the chief consulting engineer for the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific Railways.  A bronze plaque at Stanford University credits Brother Isaacs with conceiving and developing the principle of making motion pictures.  The first photographic experiments were carried out with Eadweard Muybridge at Leland Stanford’s farm in Palo Alto.  Mr. Stanford raised the question whether all four of a horse’s hooves were off the ground at the same time during a trot and he sought out Muybridge for advice.  On June 11, 1878, Muybridge settled the question with a single photographic negative showing Stanford’s trotting horse Occident airborne at the trot.  Brother Isaacs developed a trigger to set off each camera, and Muybridge successful photographed a horse in fast motion using a series of 24 cameras.

June 11, 1898

John B. Gibbs (Phi Chi-Rutgers University) became the first American officer on Cuban soil to die during the Spanish-American War.  Brother Gibbs was a medical doctor assigned to the U.S.S. Oregon having received a commission through the intercession of his friend, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Theodore Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University).  Brother Gibbs was killed as U.S. Marines attempted to land in Guantanamo Bay. Is his novel, The Red Badge of Courage was His Wig-Wag Flag”, Stephen Crane details the death of Brother Gibbs as his death was an intensely personal experience for Mr. Crane as Brother Gibbs had treated Crane for fever.

June 11, 1986

We salute the artistic and architectural accomplishments of Chesley Bonestell (Gamma Beta-Columbia University) who died this day at age 89.  Brother Bonestell was a painter, designer and illustrator.  He designed the Art Deco façade of the Chrysler Building and the Plymouth Rock Memorial which was built to mark the tercentenary of the Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock. Paintings of Brother Bonestell were a major influence on science fiction art and illustration.  Brother Bonestell was once dubbed the “Father of Modern Space Art”.  A series of paintings of Saturn as seen from several of its moons were published in Life Magazine in 1944.  In Hollywood, Brother Bonestell contributed special effects, art and technical advice to films such as Destination Moon, When Worlds Collide, The War of the Worlds, and Conquest of Space.  Brother Bonestell was honored internationally for the contributions he made to the birth of modern astronautics, including a bronze medal awarded by the British Interplanetary Society, and being named to the International Space Hall of Fame.  Brother Bonestell has a crater on Mars and the asteroid 3129 Bonestell named after him.

June 11, 2008

We salute the athletic accomplishments of Brian Budd (Phi Alpha-The University of British Columbia) who died this day at age 56.  Brother Budd was a professional soccer player between 1974 and 1981 and played on Canada’s national team in 1976-1977.  In 1978 through 1980, Brother Budd won the World Superstars contest produced by ABC Sports.  Competitors participated in ten different events, including the 100-yard dash, 800-meter run, obstacle course, weight lifting, bowling, rowing, tennis, basketball, bicycle racing, shooting and swimming.  Following his retirement, Brother Budd became a color commentator and director of public affairs for the Toronto Blizzard Soccer Club.  Each year the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame & Museum presents the Brian Budd Award to recognize those who have excelled both in soccer and in another endeavor but who might not otherwise qualify for induction into The Soccer Hall of Fame and Museum.

June 11, 2012

The show “Hurricane Hunters” produced by Aleco Bravo-Greenberg (Eta-University of Virginia) premiered on The Weather Channel.  The docu-reality series explores the stories of the men and women of the Hurricane Hunters, the Air Force Reserve Squadron based in Biloxi, Mississippi.  It follows planes flying directly into hurricanes to get vital meteorological data that can only be gathered by flying into the eye of a hurricane.  Brother Bravo-Greenberg is a partner in Battista Bravo D’Andrea Productions which produces the show in association with High Noon Entertainment.  In the website for that company, Brother Bravo-Greenberg is described as “a bullfighter and equestrian”, having made cameos in media ranging from ESPN to soap operas.

June 12, 1924

George H.W. Bush (Phi-Yale University), the 41st President of the United States, is born.

June 12, 1994

Beta Gamma Chapter is founded at New York University.  The possibility of a Chapter at that University had been raised as early as 1908, with the Minutes of the 1908 Convention reflecting that an application for a Charter at N.Y.U. was denied.

June 12, 2013

The USO announced that the USO Warrior and Family Centre at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014 will be dedicated to Prescott Bush (Phi-Yale University), the father of George H.W. Bush (Phi-Yale University) and the grandfather of George W. Bush (Phi-Yale University).  Brother Prescott Bush chaired the USO National Campaign during World War II which helped raised $34 million in 1942, his first year as Chair.  Brother Bush, who died in 1972 at age 77, also served as a field artillery captain in the American Expeditionary Service Branch of the Army during World War I and went on to become a successful businessman and also represented Connecticut in the United State Senate from 1952 to 1963.  In total, Brother Bush helped raise more than $210 million for the USO.  The Center in Bethesda will feature a bronze bust of Brother Bush with an inscription detailing his contribution to the organization.  The Center will be conveniently located for wounded, ill and injured troops and their families to take advantage of the facilities and the nearby care programs during the recovery process.  President George H.W. Bush made this statement: “I am deeply touched that the USO is remembering and honoring my father’s service In this meaningful way.  Dad was totally devoted to supporting the USO and its noble mission of lifting up our servicemen and women who defended our freedom, and he would be inspired not only to see how that morally important charge has been carried out to this day, but also to see the energy and thought Dean so diligently invested in the USO’s future.  Service was my father’s creed, you might say, and our family is very grateful to know his name will forever be associated with an organization dedicated to “duty, honor, country”.

June 13, 1876

Melvil Dewey (Sigma-Amherst College) published “Classification and subject index for cataloguing and arranging the books and pamphlets of a library”.  The Dewey Decimal classification system was created by Brother Dewey in the years after graduation while he continued to work for Amherst College.  While he is best known for the decimal classification system that is used in most public and school libraries, he also developed the idea of a state library as controller of school and public library services within a state, the creation of hanging vertical files, and the concept of state travelling libraries and photograph collections.  After Amherst College, Brother Dewey moved to Boston where he founded and became the editor of The Library Journal, which became an influential factor in the development of libraries in the U.S. and in the reform of their administration.  Brother Dewey was one of the founders of the American Library Association and served as its President in 1891 and 1893.  In 1883, Brother Dewey became the Librarian of Columbia College and, in 1884, founded the School of Library Economy, the first institution for the instruction of librarians.  Late in life, Brother Dewey helped found the Lake Placid Club as a health resort, was an early promoter of winter sports in Lake Placid, and was active in arranging for the 1932 Winter Olympics to be held there. Brother Dewey was always an active Deke. , For instance, in 1884 he was appointed by the Convention to Chair the Committee on Symbolism and Ritual.

June 14, 1971

Isaac Tigrett (Iota-Centre College) started the first Hard Rock Café in London’s fashionable Mayfair District when he was 22.  At the time, Brother Tigrett was described as a “revolutionary hippie activist with long hair, dressed in King’s Road blue velvets and snake skin boots”.  Brother Tigrett bought out the interest of his partner in the original café in London along with the rights to the name in most of the world, including the United States east of the Mississippi.  Subsequently, Brother Tigrett sold his interest to the Rank Organization.  Brother Tigrett launched the New Hard Rock Café on 57th Street in New York in 1984, with longtime friend and partner Dan Ackroyd.  In 1992, Brother Tigrett started the House of Blues with partner Dan Ackroyd with the prototype opening in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Brother Tigrett sold his interest in the House of Blues in 1998.  In the late 1990s, Brother Tigrett launched The Spirit Channel, an enterprise offering services relating to spirituality and health through the internet, traditional media and physical locations.  He also created “The World’s First Authentic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame”. Numerous musicians provided their rock memorabilia to the Rock Museum created by Brother Tigrett.  Brother Tigrett served as a Trustee and Regent of the Cathedral and on the Executive Board of Directors of St. John The Divine in New York City.  In 1993, Brother Tigrett founded The International House of Blues Foundation which promotes the teaching of music and art in American Public Schools.  To date, nearly one million students have experienced this highly acclaimed program developed with the help of many educators, musicians and actors.  Brother Tigrett founded the National Freedom Award given each year on behalf of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tennessee to an individual who has displayed a dynamic commitment to Civil Rights.  Past recipients of the Nation’s Civil Rights Museum Freedom Award include President Jimmy Carter and Reverend Desmond Tutu.  Brother Tigrett is a Founding Board Member of The Smithsonian Rock & Soul Museum, Memphis, Tennessee.  On January 17, 1996, Brother Tigrett was awarded an Honorary Degree from Centre College for promoting African American Culture and Racial Harmony.  On May 17, 1997, Brother Tigrett also received a Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rhodes College.

June 14, 2012

The documentary “41” debuts on HBO.  The documentary features the life of George H.W. Bush (Phi-Yale University) from his early days in Maine to the present day.  This photograph  shows Brother Bush on his speedboat in Kennebunkport, Maine just before his 88th birthday.