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Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Chapter, Records

Collection Number: A&M.3186


Record book, photo and certificate of the West Virginia University Alpha chapter of a national honorary fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa. A chapter charter was granted only to those institutions whose standards measured up to a high scholastic ideal. The fraternity's purpose being to undertake to conserve the influences that were restored and liberated by the Renaissance, specifically those influences that refine and humanize mankind. Membership was open to those undergraduate seniors in the top quarter of their graduating class and those graduate students "whose post-graduate work entitles them to such honor." Faculty, illustrious previous graduates, and others of prominence associated with WVU such as its presidents could be elected to membership. Although initially all chapter members were male, in the class of 1911 two women were initiated Anna Grace Cox and Helen M. Wiestling. The certificate is the charter granted in 1910 when Alpha chapter was created. The photo has a separate key of names. Included in the photo are then WVU president, Daniel B. Purinton; first chapter president, Oliver P. Chitwood; and then fraternity united chapters president, Prof. Edwin A. Grosvenor. Also in the photo are Alston G. Dayton, James M. Callahan, I. C. White, Waitman Barbe, and J. N. Deahl. The record book contains constitution and by-laws, membership rolls, treasurer reports, resolutions, and minutes. The minutes are chiefly reports of the nominating committee, proposals to change the constitution and by-laws, and eligibility and disciplinary inquiries. Among the latter is an examination of the behavior and clearing of the name from any wrongdoing of David Alfred Christopher. Christopher was connected with the student protest against taking final exams in the Spring of 1917 due to the outset of American participation in World War I in which much of the student body was inducted into military service, a phenomenon typical on other campuses all over the country. The protest occurred because many other universities for the reason of entry into the war had already cancelled exams. Also noteworthy is the controversy in the 1920's over the appropriation of its name and symbol by a satiric and humorous fraternity on campus later named the Fi Batar Cappar.


  • 1910-1936


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Conditions Governing Access

No special access restriction applies.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. For more information, please contact the West Virginia and Regional History Center.


2.3 Linear Feet (Summary: 2 ft. 4 in. (5 document cases, 5 in. each; 1 small flat storage box, 3 in.))

Physical Location

West Virginia and Regional History Center / West Virginia University / 1549 University Avenue / P.O. Box 6069 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6069 / Phone: 304-293-3536 / Fax: 304-293-3981 / URL:
Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Chapter, Records, 1910-1936
Staff of the West Virginia & Regional History Center
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Repository Details

Part of the West Virginia and Regional History Center Repository

1549 University Ave.
P.O. Box 6069
Morgantown WV 26506-6069 US