This Week in DKE History March 15th- March 21st

March 15, 1882

The first message from the Advisory Council of the Fraternity was forwarded to Chapters.  The work of the Advisory Council was described as including the selection of a permanent salaried secretary, creation of a permanent internal organization, the collection and deposit and security of a collection of annuals, papers and other documents relating to the Fraternity, and a means of developing “Rapid and perfect and confidential communication” between the Advisory Council and the Chapters of the Fraternity. In the message, the Council sought advice:  “How you interpret the Constitution of the Fraternity in regard to secrecy and in what degree of concealment you keep you meetings; hours of meeting and all other formalities.  Also what established and practical formalities you have at initiations and/or other occasions, and in short … state any information as to your usages, rules, by-laws and ritual of meetings and initiations as may enable your Advisory Council to consider plans towards uniformity throughout the fraternity.”  It was not until 1910 that the Rituals Committee made its recommendations and it was not until 1917 that the “Black Book” was published setting out a uniform ritual for meetings and initiation.

March 15, 1907

St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University, New York City, is opened.  The architect of the Chapel was N. Phelps Stokes (Alpha-Harvard University).  The Chapel was the first building at the Morningside Heights Campus of Columbia University that was not designed by the renowned firm of McKim, Mead and White, of which William Rutherford Mead (Sigma-Amherst College) was a principal.  Brother Stokes was active in housing reform as the co‑author of the Tenement House Law of 1901 and the designer of the University Settlement House which served as the home for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who arrived in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century.  Brother Stokes was the author of a six-volume work entitled “The Iconography of Manhattan Island” published between 1915 and 1928.  During the New Deal, as Head of the Art Commission, Brother Stokes oversaw the WPA Mural program for the City of New York which sponsored murals at locations including the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia Airport, Harlem Hospital and the New York Public Library.  Brother Stokes and his wife were the subject matter of a dual biography, “Love, Fiercely:  A Gilded Age Romance”.  Brother Stokes and his wife were also the subject matter of a John Singer Sargent portrait in oil which now hangs in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting was given to them as a wedding gift.

March 16, 1857

Kappa Psi Chapter is founded at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tennessee, 30 miles east of Nashville.  The Chapter was inactive from 1862 to 1866.  Although revived after the Civil War, the Chapter was so weakened that it became inactive in 1874 after only 62 members had been initiated in 8 years.  The most famous brother from Kappa Psi was James B. McCreary, who served as the 27th Governor of Kentucky (1875-1879), the 37th Governor of Kentucky (December 12, 1911-December 7, 1915), member of the U.S. House of Representatives (March 4, 1885-March 3, 1897) and Senator from Kentucky (March 4, 1903-March 3, 1909).  The current Governor’s Mansion in Kentucky was constructed during the second gubernatorial term of Brother McCreary.

March 16, 2014

The CBS News program 60 Minutes visited Avery Island, Louisiana, where the McIlhenny family have been producing tabasco sauce for nearly 200 years.  Featured prominently was Tabasco CEO Tony Simmons (Zeta Zeta-Louisiana State University), who gave correspondent Sanjay Gupta a rare glimpse inside the production of the sauce known as “Cajun Ketchup”.  McIlhenny is just one of a limited number of United States companies to receive a Royal Warrant of Appointment that certifies the company as a supplier to Queen Elizabeth II.  Tabasco sauce was first produced in 1868 by Edmund McIlhenny, a Maryland former banker who moved to Louisiana around 1840.  Initially Edmund McIlhenny used discarded cologne bottles to distribute his sauce to family and friends.  In 1868, he started to sell to the public and found it necessary to order thousands of new cologne bottles from New Orleans for that purpose.  Originally, all peppers used in tabasco sauce were grown on Avery Island. Today, peppers grown on the Island are used to produce seed stock which is then shipped to growers in Central and South America.  Peppers are ground into a mash on the day of harvest and placed, along with salt, in white oak barrels that were previously used as aging barrels for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.  After aging for up to three years, the mash is strained to remove skins and seeds and the resulting liquid is mixed with vinegar, stirred occasionally for a month, and then bottled into the finished sauce.  Much of the salt used in the production of tabasco sauce comes from an Avery Island salt mine which is one of the largest in the United States.

March 17, 1934

We salute the significant contributions to education made by Francis Preston Venable (Eta-University of Virginia) who died this day at age 76.  Brother Venable was the 9th President of the University of North Carolina, serving in that capacity, between 1900 and 1913.  In 1893, Brother Venable occupied the first endowed chair at the University (the Mary Ann Smith Professorship).  In collaboration with two undergraduate students and one former student, Brother Venable identified calcium carbide, a discovery that led to the development of acetylene and the founding of Union Carbide.  In 1905, Brother Venable was elected President of the American Chemical Society.  Venable Hall at the University of North Carolina houses the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Marine Sciences. It was the first building on campus that was erected by a direct appropriation of money from the State.  Venable Hall on campus was named in honor of Brother Venable in 1925.

March 17, 2000

The Government of Canada issued a postage stamp to honor W.O. Mitchell (Alpha Tau-University of Manitoba).  Brother Mitchell is one of the best-known Canadian authors. He has often been called the Mark Twain of Canada for his vivid tales of the adventures of young boys.  In 1973, Brother Mitchell was made an officer of the Order of Canada. He has schools names after him in Calgary, Alberta, and Kanata, Ontario.  Brother Mitchell received honorary doctorates from five Canadian universities before he died on February 25, 1998.

March 17, 2011

Duncan Andrews (Rho-Lafayette College) dies at age 76.  Brother Andrews served the Fraternity in many capacities, including President of the Board of Directors and Executive Director.  He was also the main contributor and editor of the 150 History book that was published.  Brother Andrews wrote many articles for the Deke Quarterly, and served for a number of years as the Rho representative on the Board of Directors of the Fraternity.  Brother Andrews was an advertising executive and put together important collections of the manuscripts and writings of English poet Sir John Betjeman which he donated to Yale University, published “Tally Ho! Four Hundred Years of Foxhunting”, and published a book about the English engraver Stephen Gooden (1892-1955). Brother Andrews was also an antiquarian bookseller associated with the firm of James Cummins Bookseller in New York.

March 17, 2014

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity voted in favor of establishing an Official Colony of the Fraternity at the University of Illinois.  When the Colony attains Chapter status, it will be a revival of the Delta Pi Chapter of the Fraternity that was founded in 1904.

March 18, 1855

The Charter for Epsilon Chapter at Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, is granted.  The date traditionally given for the founding of Epsilon Chapter is March 25, 1855.  However, in a March 25, 1855 letter to the Pi-Dartmouth Chapter, Clement H. Hill of Epsilon Chapter, states:  “It is my pleasant duty to inform you of the formation of the ‘Epsilon’ Chapter of DKE Fraternity at this College agreeable to a charter forwarded by the Phi Chapter to us on the 18th of March.”  As well, the Minutes of the Phi Chapter reflect the following on March19, 1855:“Petition read and granted”.  At the time of the granting of the charter, there was what has been described as “sharp questioning as to the wisdom of secret societies in college”. In the 1910 Catalogue, there is this description of what occurred when Epsilon Chapter was founded at Williams College:  “To organize a Chapter of a secret fraternity, and especially of one of the largest and most influential, under such circumstances required men of force, men of recognized character and scholarship. Happily there were men of such strong qualities in the college at the time and they heartily united in securing a charter of DKE from Phi at Yale, the parent chapter.” The Chapter was in existence until the late 1960s when the College abolished fraternities.  The former Deke House is now occupied as Brooks House, which is named after Captain Belvidere Brooks, Epsilon-1910, who was killed in action in Villesavoye, France, in 1918.

March 18, 1970

Psi Delta Chapter is installed at Wake Forest University, becoming the 11th fraternity on campus.  Founded as a local fraternity in February 1969, the group was made a Colony of the Fraternity in April of 1969.  At the 1969 Pinehurst, North Carolina Convention, the following resolution was passed:  “... This Convention goes on record as approving the efforts of the Wake Forest Colony Group to become a Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon, and that said approval be communicated to all Chapters in writing together with the written ballots for Chapter status.”  This Resolution was necessary because the Constitution at the time required that there be at least three-quarters of the Chapters in attendance at the Convention in order to approve Chapter status.

March 19, 1927

We salute the significant contributions made to the practice of law by Henry Campbell Black (Alpha Chi-Trinity College) who died this day at age 67.  On August 1, 1891, West Publishing Co. of St. Paul, Minnesota published the first “Black’s Law Dictionary”, which later became the most widely read hard copy legal dictionary.  Brother Black was also the editor of The Constitutional Review from 1917 until his death.

March 19, 1928

Otis L. Guernsey (Phi-Yale University) is appointed as the Vice President of Abercrombie & Fitch Company.  While the late 1920s and early 1930s were not kind to the company, by the mid-1930s, the company was profitable again and, by 1939, the company was calling itself “The Greatest Sporting Goods Store in the World”.  It boasted the world’s largest and most valuable collection of firearms and the widest assortment of fishing flies available anywhere.  Brother Guernsey became President of the Company in 1930 and, during the 1950s, began a strategy of rapid nation-wide expansion by stating:  “The Abercrombie & Fitch type does not care about the cost:  He wants the finest quality.”

March 19, 2012

DEKE Careers was launched with 45 job postings available to undergraduates as provided by alumni members of the Fraternity.  Deke alumni were encouraged to post positions in order that outstanding undergraduate members could be in touch with Fraternity alumni.

March 20, 1920

Tom Martin (Psi-University of Alabama) was named as the President of Alabama Power Company.  Considered by many to be the most significant business and civic leader in 20th century Alabama, Brother Martin, along with partner James Mitchell, initiated projects that continued to benefit Alabama, including the First Economic Development Department of the State and the Independent Southern Research Institute, a diverse network committed to scientific discovery and technology development.  In 1924, Brother Martin created the Southeastern Power and Light Company with acquired the Georgia Railway and Power Company in 1926.  In 1947, The Southern Company was formed.  The Southern Company is a utility holding company with principal subsidiaries providing power in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi.  In the 1990s, the Southern Company expanded its holdings into New England, New York, the Midwest and California, making it the largest power producer in the United States.  As well, the Southern Company owns powers generating operations in Europe, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and South America.  The Martin Hydroelectric Generating Plant on the Tallapoosa River near Tallahassee is named in his honor, as is Lake Martin, which is behind the Thomas Wesley Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River.  Brother Martin was Chief Executive Officer of Alabama Power Company from 1920 to 1963.  Brother Martin chaired the first Community Chest Drive in Birmingham and started the Newcomen Society in Alabama in 1938.  Brother Martin was successful in convincing the U.S. Congress to create the Horseshow Bend National Military Park to commemorate the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

March 20, 1955

We salute the contributions made to marketing and retailing by Robert J. Thorne (Delta Chi-Cornell University) who died this day at age 80.  Brother Thorne was the President of Montgomery Ward between 1912 and 1920 when failing health forced him to retire.  The Robert Julius Thorne Chair in Political Economy in the Department of Economics at Cornell University is endowed in his name.  As well, a fund at Delta Chi Chapter at Cornell was endowed by Brother Thorne and also carries his name.  

March 20, 1985

We salute the contributions made to publishing by Shelton Fisher (Gamma Beta-Columbia University), retired Chair of the Board of the publishing firm, McGraw-Hill Inc., who died this day at age 73.  Brother Fisher became the President of the New York-based publishing firm in 1966, served as Chief Executive Officer (1968-1975), and as the Chair of the Board (1974-1976).  Brother Fisher was the head of the company when it paid $750,000 to author Clifford Irving in the early 1970s for what turned out to be a bogus biography of Howard Hughes.  The story was made into the movie, “The Hoax” (2006), with Stanley Tucci playing Brother Fisher.

March 20, 1992

John J. Maresca (Phi-Yale University) is appointed as the United States Ambassador and Special Representative for Mediation of the conflicts in Cyprus and Nagorno Karabakh.  In that role, Brother Maresca was responsible for helping to develop the Minsk Group which has been the basic forum for negotiation of a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.  Following this posting, Brother Maresca was appointed Ambassador and Special Envoy to open United States relations with the newly independent states of Central Asia and the Caucasus.  Previously, Brother Maresca served as Deputy Head of the United States Delegation for the Negotiation of the Helsinki Final Act, Head of NATO Political Affairs, Director of Western European Relations, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy in Paris.  Brother Maresca served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Europe and NATO at the US Department of Defense in Washington (1986-1989).  In 1989, Brother Maresca was appointed Ambassador and Chairman of the United States Delegation to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and was the principal architect of the agreements which formally ended the Cold War and established new institutions for the post-Cold War era, the “Charter of Paris for a New Europe”, and the “Joint Declaration of Twenty-Two States”, both signed by the heads of State of 33 countries at the Paris Summit of 1990.  Brother Maresca was a Guest Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (1994-1995), the Vice President for International Relations for Union Oil of California (1997-199), and, since 2007, the Rector of the University for Peace headquartered in Costa Rica.  The University for Peace was established in 1980, “to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace and with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence”.

March 20, 2001

Upsilon Omega Chapter is chartered at the University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama. The Chapter was short lived with fewer than a dozen members initiated 

March 21, 1927

We salute the significant contributions made to the study of archaeology by Charles Waldstein, later Sir Charles Walston K.B.E. (Gamma Beta-Columbia University) who died this day at age 71.  After studying in Germany, Brother Waldstein became a university lecturer in classical archeology at Cambridge University.  Brother Waldstein was the Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge (1883-1889).  In 1889, Brother Waldstein became the Director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.  He became a Professor at that institution in 1893.   At the School, Brother Waldstein directed excavations of the Archeological Institute of America at the sites of ancient Plateau, Eretria, where he claimed to have unearthed the tomb of Aristotle and the Heraeum of Argos.   In 1894, Brother Waldstein was made a Fellow of King’s College at Cambridge.  In 1895, Brother Waldstein became the Slade Professor of Fine Art at Cambridge.  He held that Chair until 1901.Brother Waldstein later formed an international committee to promote the excavation of Herculaneum.  Brother Waldstein competed in the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens in the military rifle event, although his final score and place in the competition are unknown.