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Alpha Phi Collection

An inventory of its collection at the Syracuse University Archives


Creator: Alpha Phi.
Title: Alpha Phi Collection
Dates: 1879-1986
Size: 2 boxes (1.5 linear feet)
Abstract: The Alpha Phi Collection contains correspondence, notes, event materials and publications from 1879 to 1986.
Language: English
Repository: University Archives,
Syracuse University Libraries
222 Waverly Ave., Suite 600
Syracuse, NY 13244-2010

Historical Note

Photograph of Three Alpha Phi Members

The Alpha Phi International Fraternity is a sorority that was founded at Syracuse University in 1872. It was founded by Clara Bradley, Florence Chidester, Martha Foote, Ida Gilbert, Jane Higham, Kate Hogoboom, Grace Hubbell, Rena Michaels, Louise Shepard, and Clara Sittser, who are often referred to as the “original ten.” The sorority was formed in order to create a social and intellectual group of women in solidarity during the early years of the University.

The organization was not initially recognized as a Greek letter society and was instead called the Michaelanean Society, a name honoring Rena Michaels, the first president of the society. Meetings were initially held secretly in the rooms of the sorority’s various members, but they quickly moved to an office space on South Salina Street. During this time the first Alpha Phi publication was also established, the Alpha Phi Literary Cabinet. The publication was a quarterly journal that was handwritten and included contributions from members of the organization.

In January of 1873, the charter for incorporation was finally signed and Alpha Phi became the fourth national sorority in the United States and the Alpha chapter of Alpha Phi. In 1874 their incorporation approval was granted and the sorority began looking for more permanent space for their headquarters. Meetings were held in a room in the Onondaga County Savings Bank from 1879 until 1884, when Alpha Phi rented a full house on 613 Irving Street for the purposes of both meeting and residency. In 1886 the sorority bought and built its own house at 207 University Place, which became the first house for a women’s Greek letter organization in the nation. In 1887 Alpha Phi’s document of incorporation was finally recorded into the New York State Archives and the sorority’s second publication, Alpha Phi Quarterly, was established in 1888. In 1910 Alpha Phi sold their house to Syracuse University and moved to 308 Walnut Place, where the sorority is located today. The Alpha Phi Foundation was established in 1956. It was a philanthropic trust with the goal of awarding grants specifically for scholarship and cardiac aid. The foundation is still a part of the sorority today.

In 1962 the sorority’s original house at 207 University Place was torn down to make way for the building of Newhouse. The University helped Alpha Phi to make commemorative gavels out of the cherry and birch wood from the original staircase of the house. The gavels were given to all of the chapters in the United States and Canada.

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Scope and Content

The Alpha Phi Collection contains material from 1879 to 1986 and is divided into three series:

The Correspondence and Notes Series consists of letters between sorority members, meeting notes, and short creative writings.

The Event Material Series contains information regarding Alpha Phi’s bronze tablet on the Hall of Languages, various invitations, and miscellaneous banquet materials.

The Publications Series mainly comprises the Alpha Phi Literary Cabinet and also includes the Alpha Phi Quarterly, a directory, and other collections of writings. As the nature of the Alpha Phi Literary Cabinet is handwritten, it is difficult to conclude which collections of writings are published versions or drafts. Best efforts have been taken to determine which collections are final versions.

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Access Restrictions

Please note that the collection is housed off-site, and advance notice is required to allow time to have the materials brought to the Reading Room on campus.

Use Restrictions

Written permission must be obtained from the Syracuse University Archives and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

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Related Material

The Syracuse University Archives holds information about Alpha Phi and its house in the Clipping Files and Photograph Collection.

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Selected Search Terms


Alpha Phi.
Syracuse University -- History.
Syracuse University.


Greek letter societies.
Student activities.
Higher education.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Alpha Phi Collection,
University Archives,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

The Archives acquired the Alpha Phi Collection from donations by James W. Harrison in 2002, the Nottingham Loveland family in 2004, and Ruth Stafford Peale in 2007.

Processing Information

Materials were rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes.

Finding Aid Information

Created by: Maggie Teschler
Date: 2016
Revision history:

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Correspondence and Notes
Box 1 Correspondence 1891-1902
Box 1 Notes undated
Event Material
Box 1 Alpha Phi Bronze Tablet 1931-1939
Box 1 Invitations 1876-1912
Box 1 Miscellaneous Materials 1872-1964
Box 1 Sponsorship Form undated
Box 1 Alpha of Alpha Phi 1930
Box 1 Alpha Phi Alumnae Directory 1986
Box 1 Alpha Chapter Magazine 1928
Alpha Phi Literary Cabinet
Box 1 1879
Box 1 1880
Box 1 1882
Box 1 1885
Box 1 March 1889
Box 1 1893-1895
Box 1 1893-1896
Box 1 1897-1901
Box 1 1898 (2 folders)
Box 1 1901 (2 folders)
Box 1 1902
Box 1 1902-1903
Box 1 1905-1908
Box 1 1906
Box 1 1910
Box 1 March 1911
Box 1 1911
Box 1 1912
Box 1 1914
Box 1 1915
Box 1 1918
Box 1 1919
Box 1 1921
Box 1 Alpha Phi Literary Cabinet Covers 1884-1904
Alpha Phi Literary Cabinet Incomplete Journal Content
Box 1 circa 1887
Box 1 1890-1897
Box 1 1892
Box 1 1893-1898
Box 1 1893-1901
Box 1 1894
Box 1 1895 (2 folders)
Box 1 circa 1896
Box 1 1898-1905
Box 1 1901-1902
Box 1 1905-1913
Box 1 1907-1911
Box 1 1908-1909
Box 1 circa 1908
Box 1 1909
Box 1 1910-1911
Box 1 1910-1915
Box 1 circa 1911
Box 1 1911
Box 1 1915-1918
Box 1 1916
Box 1 1916-1920
Box 1 undated (10 folders)
Box 2 The Alpha Phi Quarterly 1898
Box 2 The Alpha Phi Quarterly 1986
Box 2 The Alpha Phi Quarterly 1987
Box 2 The Freshman Spread Eagle 1899
Box 2 The History of the Alpha Phi Fraternity, 1872-1902 by Ruth Sanders Thomson 1943
Box 2 The History of the Alpha Phi Fraternity, 1872-1922 1923
Box 2 The History of the Alpha Phi International Fraternity, 1872-1930 1931
Box 3 Milestones 1921-1927
Box 3 Secret Magazine 1929
Box 3 Songbook 1877-1881
Box 3 Songs of Alpha Phi 1904
Box 3 Songs of Alpha Phi 1948
Box 3 Songs of Alpha Phi 1972
Box 3 Songs of the Alpha Phi Fraternity 1892

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