Records of the Radcliffe College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, 1907-1995
Records of the Radcliffe Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa including correspondence; minutes of the Executive Council and of chapter meetings; correspondence and reports of chapter committees; financial records; and scrapbooks and clippings.
Language of Materials
Materials in English.
Access. Boxes 12-18 must be screened by archivist before research use. Appointment may be required. Contact public services.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by the Radcliffe College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa as well as copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Extent8.46 linear feet ((17 file boxes, 1 folio+ box) plus 1 oversize folder)
The records of the Radcliffe Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa (the Iota Chapter of Massachusetts) contain scrapbooks and clippings; correspondence, including photocopies of correspondence regarding the foundation of the chapter; minutes of the Executive Council and of chapter meetings; financial records; and correspondence and reports of chapter committees: the Nominating Committee, the Committee on Undergraduate Elections, the Committee on Alumnae and Honorary Membership, the Committee on Graduate Members in Course, and the Committee on the Encouragement of Scholarship.
Phi Beta Kappa, the national honor society, was organized in 1776. Radcliffe first showed an interest in having a chapter in 1907, but it was several years before the College could overcome "the belief held by some members of the fraternity that it was the duty of the Harvard Chapter either to admit Radcliffe students or to provide them with a kind of sub-chapter." The Radcliffe Chapter- Iota of Massachusetts- was finally organized in May 1914. The petitioners were twenty-one members of the Harvard Chapter, most of them members of the Harvard faculty who taught at Radcliffe.
Membership in the Iota Chapter is awarded to a small number of undergraduates, elected in their junior and senior years, and to deserving alumnae. In addition there are a small number of honorary members. Radcliffe Ph.D.'s were elected as "graduate members in course" beginning in 1939.
The Iota Chapter is administered by an Executive Council made up of the principal officers and heads of committees of the Chapter. Three committees- the Committee on Undergraduate Elections, the Committee on Alumnae and Honorary Membership, and the Committee on Graduate Members in Course- are responsible for election of the various classes of members. The Committee on the Encouragement of Scholarship sponsors lectures, prize contests, and, beginning in 1926, the Annual Dinner, to which promising freshwomen and sophomores are invited. In addition to the dinner, the Chapter has an annual meeting for business and a spring meeting for initiations.
Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Accession numbers: R85-CR55, R87-CR42, R87-CR51, R90-CR40, R91-CR37, R93-21, R95-CR17
Processed: May 1982
By: Eric Nils Lindquist
- Phi Beta Kappa. Massachusetts Iota (Radcliffe College). Records of the Radcliffe College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, 1907-1995: A Finding Aid
- Radcliffe College Archives, Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
- Language of description
- EAD ID
Part of the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute Repository
The preeminent research library on the history of women in the United States, the Schlesinger Library documents women's lives from the past and present for the future. In addition to its traditional strengths in the history of feminisms, women’s health, and women’s activism, the Schlesinger collections document the intersectional workings of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class in American history.
3 James St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA