Fraternity History 1879-2020
(By Brother William F. Buchanan, National Secretary, Fraternal Year 1941-42)
Since my initiation into Gamma Delta Psi several years ago it has been my belief that many of the Brothers didn’t know enough about the history of their Fraternity. The result was a general lack of spirit and interest in the business of successfully running their chapters and cooperating with the National Board. It wasn’t exactly the newly initiated Brothers’ fault. It was the fault of their officers who were older and had been active longer and who should have known better. The younger members were taught only the barest facts about our all important history and traditions and virtually left to find the rest of it out for themselves.
Through many months of work, I think I have succeeded in producing something that may help that situation. This history isn’t in complete form, no. Too many papers and records have been lost, by the ones who have gone before, to uncover all the details and facts of our first years. That is something that we must guard against in the future. However enough has been uncovered to give us a general idea of how our Fraternity grew from four young men in New Haven to thirty eight chartered chapters all over the Eastern United States.
I would especially like to thank brother Arthur H. Jackson, Alpha #2c, the only living charter member, for his invaluable support and help. Also the following Brothers for their help and information: Brother Howard C. Townsend, Omicron #51; Brother Robert H. Chamberlain, Alpha #226; Brother Pierre J. Wurts, Alpha #82; and Brother H. E. McLure, Iota #156.
NOTE: This letter was written during Brother Buchanan’s term of National Secretary the year 1941-42.
The Fraternal Beginning
Before starting principally with the History of Gamma Delta Psi, it is only fitting that we go back through the halls of time to the 17th Century. Leaving our continent entirely, and going to Europe. For it is there that the student organizations and clubs first originated.
I suppose we could go back even further than that. To be more specific, men have congregated together for enjoyment or relaxation since the beginning of time. The Greeks and Romans would serve as examples of that with their magnificent baths and temples. But it was not until around the sixteen hundreds that men formed organized clubs along the lines as we know them today.
In Germany and England, especially, grew the early roots of the “Fraternal Tree”. Students in the Universities and Colleges of those countries followed their natural desires for friendship and mental or physical betterment in forming their own societies. They were basically the same as our Fraternities that we have today.
Dueling clubs predominated in most of the German Universities. There were dramatic and literary organizations, all combined with a certain amount of social activity. They gathered in the college halls or the town tavern to sing the old songs and watch the efforts of their friends in the clubs literary or dramatic accomplishments.
Thus as the eighteenth Century came into view we find a sound Fraternal base established in Europe from which our American colleges could build upon.
College Fraternities in America
In 1636 Harvard was established as the first college in America. Fifty-seven years later, in 1693, America’s second oldest college was established at Williamsburg, Virginia named William and Mary after the English sovereigns. It was there that Americas first Fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa was founded on December 5th, 1776.
Here we should pause for a few minutes and talk about this mother of all our Fraternities. Phi Beta Kappa was preceded by a student social club called “The Flat Hat”. In ’76 the members met at the Raleigh Tavern in Williamsburg and a new society with Greek letters for a name was formed. It contained all the characteristics of our modern day organizations with a distinctive badge, secret grip, ritual, and motto. Her second chapter was at Harvard in 1779 with several others being established in the ensuing years. She finally ceased operations as a social Fraternity and became a National Honorary Fraternity for students obtaining honor marks in college. Their badge is a golden key with the letters Phi Beta Kappa thereon.
Some years after Phi Beta Kappa was founded, another fraternity sprung up at Union College at Troy, New York. She was called Kappa Alpha and was organized on November 26, 1825. Kappa Alpha is the oldest secret brotherhood of a social and literary character which has been in continuos existence in American colleges and is the parent of the vast system of American College Fraternities.
The next school year at Union saw Sigma Phi established in March 1827. While in the fall of the school year 1827-28, a third Fraternity was formed at Union named Delta Phi. These three Fraternities completed what is known as the “Union Triad” — the first Fraternities in the “Yankee” North.
Miami College in Oxford, Ohio fostered the next three Fraternities. Namely Beta Theta Pi in 1859, Phi Delta Theta in 1842 and Sigma Chi in 1855. These three comprised the “Miami Triad”, the first Fraternities
in the West. Understand, that all this time these Fraternities were expanding and spreading their ideals to other colleges all over the North and Midwest. They sometimes ran into stiff opposition from the college authorities and other non-secret clubs. However, they kept on fighting and growing until they triumphed in the end. Without these forebearers, Gamma Delta Psi would never have been born.
1841 saw the Mystical Seven Fraternity founded in the south at Emory College, marking the first southern organization. Several University of Alabama men formed the South’s second Fraternity, Sigma Alpha Upsilon, in 1856. Thus completely covering the entire Pre-civil War United States.
The Civil War marked the first real blow to America’s College Fraternities, especially in the South, where whole chapters bravely enlisted en masse in the army, many of whom never came back to start their chapters up again. On the other hand, the Civil War era marked the beginning of the first High School Fraternities in America.
High School Fraternities
Those hectic Pre-War days announced the beginning of High School Secret Societies in America, as the Revolutionary did the College Fraternities. The first Secondary School Fraternity was founded in 1859 and was named Omega Eta Tau. As Phi Beta Kappa and Kappa Alpha fostered the first College Fraternities, Omega Eta “broke the ice” for High School Fraternities.
However, the Civil War stopped any immediate spread of the new type of Brotherhood for a considerable time. The war struck hard at the American organizations. The whole vast system practically collapsed in Dixie. The Yankee North was not hit quite so hard, and even managed to found Theta Chi at RPI during the struggle.
Four years after the War ended, our second High School Fraternity was founded at Brockport, New York on October 11, 1869, named Gamma Sigma. This was exactly ten years after our first High School Fraternity was founded and goes to show the importance the Civil War played in our Fraternal history. By this time things were more stabilized and we saw a more rapid growth of Secondary School Fraternities.
Two months later in December 1869, Alpha Zeta was founded at Schenectedy, New York, marking the third organization. 1872 was the year for Theta Kappa Omega at Mayfield, California. The fifth and sixth were both formed in 1876 and named Alpha Phi and Alpha Chi Sigma, respectively. Two more followed in 1878, marking the seventh and eighth, number seven being Sigma Psi, and number eight, Pi Phi.
By this time I am sure that I have destroyed all illusions that Gamma Delt’ was the first High School Fraternity. We definitely were not, by twenty years. However, we were among the first few, and can be classed among the “Fathers” of High School Fraternities. We were the first High School Society to be founded in New England. All others being founded in New York, Pennsylvania, the Mid-west or the West Coast.
As we begin to talk about our Fraternity’s beginning, we should first of all look over the lives of the men who laid the foundation and gave the ideas to start her. There were four of them: Walter Rowling Dann, #1, Arthur Henry Jackson, #2, Wylie Brantly Jones, #3, and Alexander Jay Wurts, #4.
Brother Walter Rowling Dann, #1, was the son of John Alden and Sarah Rowling Dann. He was born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1861 and received his early education in the city schools. He graduated from Hillhouse High in 1980 and entered Yale University several years later. He only stayed at Yale for about one year, and left in 1884. From there he went to New York City where he was employed by the Compagnie Haitienne, a large dye and chemical plant. During the later part of his life he managed the firm’s logwood plantation at Port De Paix, Haiti. He was connected with this firm up until the time of his death on Thursday, February 3, 1910 at the Roosevelt Hospital in New York City after a brief illness following an operation for intestinal trouble. Funeral services were held the following Saturday and the remains were interred at a small cemetery in Manilius, New York.
To all who knew him, he was a man of sterling uprightness, simple in tastes, but high in ideals. He had a forceful temperament calculated to succeed, and his sudden death cut off a life just in the prime of its usefullness. He was ever a good fellow and with his death, Gamma Delta Psi suffered a severe loss.
Alpha #2 was Arthur Henry Jackson who was born on August 25, 1863 in New Haven and attended grammar and high school in that city. He entered Yale but left shortly afterward in April of 1881 to take a position in the office of O. B. North & Co., manufacturers of saddlery and carriage hardware.
Five years later he joined the staff of F. S. Bradley & Co., a wholesale hardware distribution firm. When Buckingham, Clark & Jackson acquired the Bradley organization in 1892, he was a member of the firm. 1893 saw the marriage of Miss Mary Torbett to Mr. Jackson. In 1899, he resigned from BC & J and went with Baldwin-Robbins Co. of Boston and afterwards with Decatur & Hopkins Co. He traveled with them until December 1936, when he retired.
While in college, Brother Jackson was active in the Yale Symphony Orchestra in which Brother Wurts and himself played coronet. Later he was with the New Haven Orchestral Club for about twenty two years, being its conductor 12 out of 22 years. He was also very active in the choir of St. Paul’s Church, New Haven and was a fifty year member of the Hiram Lodge, number 1, F & AM.
Brother Jackson attended our 1940 convention held in New Haven and spoke to all the brothers about fraternity back in the “old days”. Brother Jackson died on November 9, 1948, the last of Alpha Chapter’s founding members to pass to Nirvana.
Alpha #3 was Brother Wylie Brantly Jones who was born August 15, 1862 in Hartford, Connecticut. Some years later his family moved to New Haven to live where Brother Jones received his education, graduating from Hillhouse in 1881. He entered Yale University in 1883 but soon dropped out and took courses in stenography. On February 27, 1884 he married Miss Lillian M. Brown and moved to Burlington, Vermont where he worked as a stenographer with the Wells-Richardson Co., a large drug manufacturing concern. In 1900 he resigned and moved to Binghamton, New York where he went to work for Wyckoff, Seaman and Benedict, distributors of the Remington typewriter.
He was with them for a few years and then resigned to organize his own business in Binghamton under the name of Wylie B. Jones Advertising Agency. He later had branches in London, Paris, and Sydney, Australia. He died at his home in February 1919 after a short illness. The remains were taken to New Haven and interred in Evergreen Cemetery in that city.
Brother Jones was well known in the advertising world and was considered one of the foremost advertising authorities. He was chosen to be the head of eight experts in a discussion on advertising conditions conducted by the Chicago Tribune in the summer of 1918. He was active in the launching of several World War 1 fundraising campaigns and his generosity to public charities was recognized by all.
Alpha Chapter #4 was Brother Alexander Jay Wurts, the original founder of our Fraternity. He was born in the little mining town of Carbondale, Pennsylvania on March 3, 1862. Shortly after his birth, his family was obliged to move to Europe to live with an aunt who had recently lost her husband. His family was related to John Jay, the first Justice of the Supreme Court.
They lived in Nice, France, during which time Brother Wurts naturally became quite proficient in French. Four years later when they returned to the United States, they decided to live in New Haven so that their five sons (of which Aleck was the fourth) could attend Yale.
He attended the public schools of New Haven and later entered Yale in September of 1881. He graduated from the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale in 1883 with a Ph. B. and then attended Stephens Institute from which he graduated with his M.E. degree in one year. After that he spent two years in Germany studying electrical engineering at Hanover and Berlin, and soon after his return, obtained a position with the electrical research laboratories of the Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Company in 1887. He worked with George Westinghouse on the development of the Nernst Lamp, a notable achievement in electrical lighting. During this period the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia awarded him the John Scott Medal for his inventions in lighting arrestors and five non-arcing metals. Then from 1898 until 1904 he was the head of Nernst Lamp Division with the Westinghouse Co. In 1904 through his association with Mr. Westinghouse, he became acquainted with Andrew Carnegie and was appointed the first faculty member at ‘Tech”, as head of the Electrical Engineering Department. That same year he was awarded the gold medal from the St. Louis Worlds Fair for his scientific development of the Nernst Lamp. In 1924, due to increasing deafness, he was compelled to give up teaching and became of the Student Welfare Committee. In 1925, he established a fund at “Tech” to help needy students through the college. Through this and many other favors he won the admiration and love of the entire student body.
On January 21, 1932, after two weeks illness due to typhoid fever, he died at his home in the Schenley Apartments in Pittsburgh. He was buried in Allegheny Cemetery in the same city. He married twice, Miss Jennie Childs in 1890, who died in 1924, and Miss Elizabeth Reed in 1927. He had two children, one son and one daughter.
The Beginning of Gamma Delta Psi
Gamma Delta Psi was founded at James Hillhouse High School on April 13, 1879. Brothers Walter Rowling Dann, Arthur Henry Jackson, Wylie Brantly Jones and Alexander Jay Wurts founded the Fraternity. 13 Members signed the original charter, including the above four.
ALPHA CHAPTER APRIL 13, 1879
1c Walter Rowling Dann
2c Arthur Henry Jackson
3c Wylie Brantly Jones
4c Alexander Jay Wurts
5 George Dudley’ Merrick
6 Joseph Hedley Townsend
7 Henry Willard Medfield
8 Henry Lawerence Smith
9 John Stone Pardee
10 Oliver Thomas Osborne
11 Arthur Bixby Ferguson
12 David Denison Lambert
13 James Bishop Bulford
“Our idea was that a Fraternity body small enough to be wieldy of kindred spirits with similar ideals could accomplish something for ourselves and for the school.” The above quotation was made by Brother Arthur H. Jackson in a letter to Brother William Buchanan, National Secretary in 1941.
Three of our founders, Brothers Dann, Jones and Jackson were old friends before they entered High School. It was Brother Wurts who conceived the idea of Gamma Delta Psi and was advised by one of his brothers who was a Yale Fraternity man.
ALPHA Chapter of Gamma Delta Psi met once a week in a corner room on the top floor of Hillhouse High. Brother Wurts held the first social function in his barn, admission was peanuts! Brother Wurts designed our pin in the shape of a crescent because the fraternity, like a new moon, was bound to grow. It should be noted that the pin issued today is much smaller than the original pin designed and worn back in the early days of our organization.
In 1884 Gamma Delta Psi became a National Fraternity with the induction of BETA Chapter at De Veaux Military Academy in Suspension Bridge (now incorporated into Niagara Falls), New York. GAMMA Chapter was founded in 1885 at Maryland Military and Naval Academy at Oxford, Maryland. Our strength continued with the addition of DELTA Chapter in 1887 at Grand Rapids H. S. in Grand Rapids, Michigan, along with EPSILON Chapter founded also in 1887 at Bridgeport H. S. in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Gamma Delta Psi continued to grow with the induction of ZETA at Central H.S. in our Nations Capital, Washington D.C. in 1891.
The Gay Nineties Chapters
In 1893, Brother George A. Clark, M.D., Epsilon #50 who was practicing in Brooklyn, N.Y. helped organize Gamma Delta Psi’s seventh chapter. He became #1c of ETA Chapter in Brooklyn Boys High School, Brooklyn, N.Y. on December 16, 1893. Our first chapter in New York City and destined to be one of the leaders in the Crescent.
THETA Chapter was granted its charter on December 21, 1894 at Hartford Public H.S. in Hartford, Connecticut. The third chapter in Connecticut and the eighth chartered chapter in the Fraternity. Although we could only boast of six active chapters at this time it must be remembered that she only existed a short fifteen years and had just passed through a crucial “organization period”. Her growth was slow but sure. Back in the late 1880’s GAMMA went dormant, and around 1891, ZETA was suspended and its charter revoked.
On February 22, 1895, IOTA Chapter was founded at Detroit Central H.S. in Detroit Michigan. IOTA was active till the late 1950’s.
1896 marked the birth of a new chapter and the loss of an old one. On September 22nd, the Board of Trustees of De Veaux Military Academy where BETA was located, passed a resolution forbidding “the existance of secret societies among the boys”. Thus BETA was dissolved—our second oldest chapter. However seven months before that, on February 7, 1896, KAPPA Chapter was granted a charter for Springfield Central High School, Springfield Massachusetts, our first chapter in that state. Number 10c of KAPPA was Everett E. Belding, a Brother who was later to become the first national president of our Fraternity.
The seven active chapters were increased to nine actives by the fall of ’97. LAMBDA Chapter was chartered in New Bedford High School, New Bedford, Massachusetts, and MU Chapter was chartered in Berkeley High in New York City. LAMBDA, the second chapter in Massachusetts, as was MU in NYC.
At this time I may mention that although many of these chapters drew their members from the schools named on their original charters. Many more added additional schools to their charters, several groups drawing members from as many as four and five high schools in their cities. Thus some older chapters active today may be drawing most or all their membership in a different school entirely than that named on the original charter.
The third group requesting admission to the Fraternity from Massachusetts came from Brookline, now a part of Boston, and they were granted their charter on February 6, 1898 at Brookline H.S. as NU Chapter, thus bringing the total of active chapters up to ten.
On February 15th of 1898, the battle ship Maine was sunk and two months later the U.S. declared war on Spain. The conflict was short and decisive, but it marked the first experience with war that the Fraternity had in its earlier years. Only nineteen years old and with ten active chapters, she endured the struggle famously and came through none the worse for the experience. As in later wars, among the leading Generals was a Gamma Delt’, none other than the famous Teddy Roosevelt and his roughriders. The war ended that summer and a formal treaty was signed the next year.
Gamma’s twentieth anniversary was appropriately climaxed by the addition of two new chapters. XI Chapter was granted admission in January of 1899 from Hotchkiss School in Lakeview Connecticut and OMICRON received its charter on June 10, 1899, located at Lockport High School, Lockport, New York.
Ten organizations were granted charters into Gamma Delta Psi during ‘the Gay Nineties” making a grand total of fifteen chapters. Only BETA, GAMMA and ZETA were not operational. At that time we had a grand total membership of 925.
But the greatest forward step of all during 1899 was the first National Convention.
It was held in the spring of 1899 in New Haven, with ALPHA Chapter as hosts. A fitting place for the first National Convention, this gathering welded the Fraternity into one group instead of many scattered groups. The Brothers who attended began to realize even more just how big Gamma Delt’ was growing. About this time possibly action was first taken to have the Garnet and Silver published. National news and plans were issued by ALPHA, the mother chapter, with news also sent in from various chapters.
And so, on the eve of the turn of the century, we find Gamma Delta Psi one of the biggest and best in the land. Twelve large, active chapters, most of which had rooms or houses at this time, well governed and with conventions and a national magazine just starting to bind them even closer together, and this was only the beginning!
The Early Part of the Century
The turn of the century. Gamma Delta Psi was officially “of age”, celebrating her 21st birthday in April of that year. She had accomplished much. Although only twelve of her fifteen chartered chapters were active, all of her actives were strong and well organized. Beyond a doubt, these were the best years the fraternity has ever seen. In reading through old Garnet and Silver’s of that time, it is pleasing to note the activities and accomplishments of these chapters. They were leaders everywhere. All of the chapters either maintained rooms, or better still, a house. Many of the chapters published papers or yearbooks for the school. This placed them in top positions with the school authorities. ALPHA published the “Crescent Annual” and the “Senior Class Yearbook”, DELTA published a paper called “The Helios”, and THETA put out a book called “Ovil Annual” while RHO and IOTA published “Helicon” and “Crescent” respectively. These publications were entirely financed and circulated by the various chapters to the students of their schools. They were often large and very beautiful books entailing much expense. However, in reading about these enterprises, it is very interesting to note that they always made money, sometimes upward of several hundred dollars.
Also, it seemed to be the practice of the chapters to put on stage plays and minstrel shows. They sometimes wrote their own plays and they always financed them and managed them by themselves. ALPHA and KAPPA presented plays regularly.
The athletic teams were practically dominated by the “Gamma” men. Every chapter could boast that at least half of their men went out for sports. They were represented equally as well in other school enterprises.
All that sounds impossible, but nevertheless, it was all very true. Our Fraternity could have easily been compared to any of the larger college fraternities of that time. We may well be proud of these early activities because they gave us a good name–a good foundation– something that everyone today should work hard to be worthy of. But let us go on…
At the second annual convention held at Bridgeport, Connecticut under the auspices of EPSILON Chapter, in April 1900, the sixteenth chapter of Gamma Delta Psi was awarded its charter. Located at St. Louis High School, in St. Louis, Missouri, she was designated as PI.
Another convention, another chapter, and our first Fraternity catalogue. In 1900, Gamma Delta Psi published the first official catalogue under the management of ALPHA Chapter. It was a large garnet colored book with a gold facsimile of our pin on the cover. It entailed much expense, and sold for $1.50, including mailing.
The next few years of our existence after 1900 were rather routine. We gained several new chapters during that time however, namely, RHO Chapter at Milwaukee Academy and High School in 1901 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Along with RHO, we gained SIGMA at Nichols Prep, Lafayette High, Central High and Masten Park High in Buffalo, New York, in the year 1902. TAU Chapter was granted a charter at Lakeview High School in Chicago, Illinois, while UPSILON Chapter was chartered at Cleveland University School in Cleveland, Ohio. Both charters were granted in 1902. This brought our active strength up to seventeen chapters, and an approximate membership of 1,500.
The next two years witnessed the loss of two of our chapters. MU of NYC, New York folded in 1903 and the newly acquired PI Chapter of St. Louis ceased activities during the next year. These losses were probably the opening guns in the “fraternity war” on secondary school fraternities that raged about this time. School authorities clamped down vigorously on practically all our chapters, an many a hard won battle was fought out in the courts or in the Board of Education chambers of the different cities where our chapters existed. This anti-fraternal legislation lasted nearly ten years, but to our credit, in end, we came out on top, and still intact. A glowing example of the cooperation and hard work that existed in our fraternity at that time with our chapters helping each other by sending arguments and pro-fraternity decisions to each other when in need.
At the 1904 convention, Massachusetts gained a fourth chapter in Lowell High School, Lowell Massachusetts, under the name of PHI Chapter.
It is interesting to note that during this time the United States had a Gamma Delt’ for its president–Brother Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909).
The next year was perhaps the most important in our history. NU Chapter of Brookline, Massachusetts sponsored the 1905 Convention and during these sessions, the fraternity decided to experiment with a central governing committee or a board of one alumnus delegate from each chapter and presided over by a president who should be responsible to the chapters for the maintenance of the fraternity’s welfare. The motion was duly made, seconded and passed by the assembly, and at the next convention it was made a permanent body, and an article was added to the constitution, in order to make place for the new organization.
Our first National President was Brother Everett Elijah Belding, #10c of KAPPA Chapter, Springfield, Mass. By a coincidence, he was born the same year as his fraternity was – 1879, which made him 26 years old at the time of his presidency. Brother Belding was a very prominent man in Springfield, being a member of the state legislature for a number of years and one of Springfield’s foremost newspapermen. He died on March 24, 1940 in Springfield, after a week’s illness and is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in that city.
As previously mentioned, before the founding of the board in 1905, ALPHA Chapter presided at conventions, chartered chapters, and generally acted as the “mother” chapter. But “A business without a head soon fails” and “Too many cooks spoil the broth” applied to our fraternity despite ALPHA’s leadership. It was evident that a separate body must be set up for the sole purpose of leading and governing the chapters. Hence, the National Board of Control of Gamma Delta Psi. Besides the setting up of the board, three more chapters were established at that convention. CHI Chapter at Eau Claire High School, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, PSI at Kiskiminetas Springs School, Saltsburg, Pennsylvania, and OMEGA Chapter at Mercersburg Academy, Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. The two latter chapters were the first chapters to be founded in Pennsylvania and brought our active strength to seventeen. About this time, LAMBDA Chapter of New Bedford, Mass., and UPSILON Chapter of Cleveland, Ohio both went dormant. Lost two — gained three. OMEGA Chapter of Mercersburg existed sub rosa as school authorities there never permitted secret societies to exist. She died out about two years later (1907), the cause being rather evident.
With the chartering of OMEGA Chapter, the twenty-four letters of the Greek Alphabet were exhausted. So it was decided to place the Greek letter “ALPHA” before the regular letters of the alphabet and repeat the same –ALPHA ALPHA, ALPHA BETA, ALPHA GAMMA, etc.
Three years rolled by rather unceremoniously. 1906, 07 and 08. ,About that time XI of Lakeview, Conn. disbanded due to continuing “Anti-Fraternity” laws. Sixteen active–eight dormant chapters. As mentioned before, 1907 saw the loss of OMEGA. By this time, our membership must have totaled about 2,000. Also about this year, the Fraternity adopted a “Traveling Button” for recognition while out of town.
The Fraternity’s Tenth Annual Convention was held at Buffalo, New York under the auspices of SIGMA Chapter on April 20-22, 1908. ALPHA ALPHA Chapter of Washington and Jefferson Academy, Washington, Pennsylvania was given a charter. The second catalogue of our Fraternity, was published by KAPPA in 1906, was continuing to be sold, two years after printing.
The First Catalog of the Fraternity
of Gamma Delta Psi (Kappa Chapter, 1906)
Next year Gamma chartered the largest number of chapters in her history. Six chapters were admitted to the Crescent in 1909. They were:
ALPHA BETA Randolph-Macon Military Academy Front Royal, Virginia
ALPHA GAMMA Montclair High School Montclair, New Jersey
ALPHA DELTA East Orange High School East Orange, New Jersey
ALPHA EPSILON DeWitt Clinton High School New York City, New York
ALPHA ZETA Central High School Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
ZETA (re-granted Charter after being suspended back in 1890’s)Western High School District of Columbia
However, as good as the news was, it was spoiled by the losing TAU of Chicago. This still gave our active chapters an all time high of 22. ALPHA GAMMA and ALPHA DELTA along with ALPHA EPSILON were chapters of Sigma Phi Fraternity and with the assistance of ETA, they were all inducted into Gamma Delta Psi. All of these chapters went dormant early in the century, but these brothers never forgot their Gamma days. Some 18 years ago, Cedric Major, President of Lehigh Valley Railroad in course of conversation with Ray N. Spooner, mentioned Gamma Delta Psi and to the surprise of both, discovered Major was a member of ETA and Spooner of the ALPHA EPSILON Chapter, both chapters non-existent for well over 19 years. The ETA boys fore-gather annually in New York City for an annual dinner. An invitation was extended through Spooner to the members of ALPHA EPSILON to join the ETA boys and also to members of the ALPHA GAMMA Chapter. So, up until the mid 1960’s, forty to fifty Brothers came each year from far and near, a very outstanding group of men, prominent in many fields. These dinners were eventually stopped because, of the poor health, death and loss of contact of these Brothers. Still…a lot must be said for the outstanding Brotherhood shown over half a century.
Next year, 1910, Gamma lost one of her “old guard” chapters. EPSILON disbanded at Bridgeport, Conn., closing twenty-two years of activity in the Crescent. The addition of another chapter kept the actives up to twenty-two though, as ALPHA ETA Chapter of Niagara Falls High School, Niagara Falls, New York was chartered that April. Walter Ellsworth Batterson number 101 of THETA Chapter, Hartford Conn., became our second National President. Brother Batterson succeeded Brother Belding.
Another important step was taken at the 1910 Convention was the publication of Gamma Delta Psi’s National Catalogue by ALPHA Chapter. It was somewhat smaller and had a blue cover instead of garnet. It contained a membership roll of thirty-one chapters, –nine dormant– and recorded the names of over 1600 Brothers. It sold for about $2.
No chapters were chartered for the next three years. The Fraternity was seeing banner years at this time. A goodly number of chapters, of which all had a central headquarters. A strong national governing body publishing an excellent “Garnet and Silver”. Things were in good condition, The National Whistle of Gamma came into use about this time also, which was used as a membership sign. This practice has died out over the years.
RHO Chapter of Milwaukee Wisconsin disbanded around 1912 decreasing our actives to twenty-one. This was again because of anti-Fraternity legislation against high school fraternities. The 51st member of that chapter was Brother Douglas MacArthur, initiated in 1901. He is listed in the National Catalog.
Another Gamma Delt’ had just completed his term of office as president of the USA at this time. He was Brother William H. Taft. Brother Taft succeeded Brother Teddy Roosevelt as president. Quite a coincidence.
Editor’s Note: it is believed that neither brother Taft or brother Roosevelt actually pledged for Gamma, but were awarded honorary memberships out of a sense of patriotism.
Our twenty active chapters succeeded in chartering another chapter in 1913. That was ALPHA IOTA of Central High School and Nottingham High School both of Syracuse, New York. It is good to notice that our chapters were generally established in the larger cities in many states. Thereby giving us a bigger and better range of fellows. We weren’t confined to one or two localities, but all over the Eastern and Mid-Western USA. In every big city from Virginia to Massachusetts—from Wisconsin to Missouri.
Another grand old chapter left us about 1913. That was THETA of Hartford, Connecticut. THETA had always been one of the leaders in the Crescent. Brother Batterson had been a member of this chapter. Active since 1894–going on twenty years, the cause was again, the school authorities.
Well, we all know only too well what happened the next year. World War 1 broke out all over Europe. The USA remained neutral and nervous. Gamma Delta Psi celebrated its 35th year of organization. Thirty-five years of success. Thirty-two chapters shined in our roster. Almost a chapter a year, her total membership totaling over two thousand Brothers. Her alumni in all walks of life–but never forgetting the Crescent–always willing to lend a hand.
We again had another tit for tat situation. About this time PHI Chapter of Lowell, Mass. disbanded and LAMBDA of New Bedford started up again. This was our first revival of a dormant chapter. Although ZETA was established in 1891, her charter was revoked the same year and not re-granted until 1909 so that she really had never been active until the later date. Hence, LAMBDA was our first re-born. Our actives still totaled twenty.
NOTE: The exact date for the disbandment of a certain chapter cannot always be given. That is why the phrase “about this time” is often used. It may be a series of months that the chapter became dormant. It is often hard to keep in touch with a chapter on its deathbed. So we must therefore, generalize on the dates of becoming inactive for most of the chapters.
The second year of the “Great War”. 1915 rolled around and with it the death of another chapter–ALPHA ALPHA of Washington, Pennsylvania. This chapter had only been active for some seven years. However, a third Michigan chapter was born to the Fraternity–ALPHA KAPPA of Port Huron, High, Port Huron, Michigan. At this time, you might be (along with this editor) wondering what happened to ALPHA THETA Chapter.
NOTE: Around this period, 1915-25, the editor changes from Brother Buchanan to Brother Stockdale (with additional work from Brother Al Smith, ALPHA PHI, IBC Editor-Historian 1960.
This Historian can only speculate on why we never had an ALPHA THETA. As you know by now, the “anti-fraternity” lobby was quite strong at that time. Most likely, this chapter was chartered, pending a school board decision on high school secret societies. Evidently the decision was negative. This is only theory and should be investigated by next years Historian.
Brother Howard Cole Townsend #51 of OMICRON chapter, became our WW 1 National Board President. At this time an important change was made in our pins. Before, they had been the larger badge-type insignia about the size of a quarter. They were basically the same–gold with black enameled lettering of Gamma Delta Psi in Greek, only flat across the face. They were considerably larger and not rounded like the present day pin. Our insignia has always been the Crescent Moon of gold, from 1879 on.
Brother Townsend’s chapter became inactive about this time. This was a breach of the Constitution, as a president must come from an active chapter. However, for some reason or another, nothing was done about it.
- The United States declared war on Germany, and Gamma Delta Psi entered into it whole heartedly as she did in other wars. The World War may well mark the end of our so-called “prosperous era”. Three chapters fell about this time. The most we’d ever lost in one year. These losses left us with sixteen chapters active, seventeen dormant. The first time the dormant list had exceeded the active. The newly folded chapters were:
KAPPA Springfield, Massachusetts (one of the “Old Guard”)
ALPHA BETA Front Royal, Virginia (located at a military school)
ALPHA EPSILON New York City, New York (anti-fraternity legislation)
- The final year of the war. More Brothers had gone into the service. By the time it was over, close to one hundred of them would not return alive. In many cities influenza epidemics prohibited people congregating together. Many chapters had to suspend their meetings and activities altogether. Others who were lucky enough to be able to hold their regular meetings found themselves without any of their valuable alumni help and support. Times were not so good.
No convention was held in 1918. This is the first time the convention had been skipped since its inauguration in 1899. The war was the reason.
The following year 1919, the war ended recently and the Brothers could once again turn their undivided attention to the Fraternity. The 1919 Convention was held in East Orange, New Jersey under the auspices of ALPHA DELTA Chapter on May 2 and 3 with Brother Townsend presiding. ALPHA LAMBDA Chapter of Central High School, Newark, New Jersey was granted admission into the National Crescent. The constitution of the Fraternity became the topic of discussion at this convention as it was sorely in need of revising. Even the National Board copy was not complete. So plans were made to rewrite and reprint the National Constitution. Jacob Reed & Sons were also voted National Haberdashers to furnish the Fraternity with hatbands, neckwear, and mufflers. This practice has died out over the years also.
Tragedy struck the Fraternity when Brother Wylie Brantly Jones, ALPHA #3c was killed in an automobile accident between Binghamton and New York City.
About this time the Garnet and Silver and the National Catalogue were both non-existent and this situation, of course did not help in strengthening the common bonds which link the Chapters together. Attempts were made at the 1919 Convention to remedy this situation.
From the years 1919 to 1923, no new chapters were taken in and Gamma remained more or less stagnant. This situation was brought about by the confusion that existed after the war years and also the inefficiency of the National Board members. An example of this was shown at the convention of 1923 when the President of the National Board, Brother Corwin failed to appear and his post was taken over by the Vice-President. Reports of the Chapters financial status which were supposed to be sent out by the National Secretary annually, had not been done for two years! All the chapters were out of touch with the National Board and each other. Correspondence was non-existent and this along with the other problems haunted Gamma.
In 1920, it was obvious to all chapters that Bro. Townsend, National President was violating the Constitution by running the Fraternity the way he wanted to and had failed to call a 1920 Convention. The active and alumni Chapters could not tolerate this and called on President Townsend and Secretary Flemings immediate resignation. This was done with those Brothers being replaced by a temporary Board composed of Brother Edward J. Stewart Jr. NU #79 as President, Brother Alfred H. Corwin, ALPHA DELTA, as Vice-President and Brother Gordon M. Leland NU #120 as Secretary.
1921 saw the beginning of what continues to be the greatest contribution by any one Brother…Chapter-wise…Board-wise…Fraternity wise. Brother Edward Jessup Stewart of NU Chapter. His name will continue to become more familiar as we go along.
The 1921 Convention was held in Philadelphia Pa. on March 31 and April 1 under the auspices of ALPHA ZETA Chapter of that city. Brothers Stewart and Leland had drafted a Constitution which was accepted at this Convention. At this Convention, Brother Alfred H. Corwin, of ALPHA DELTA was elected National President, and Brother E.J Stewart was elected Vice-President. No Chapters were inducted.
No Convention was held in 1922, no reason given, which lead us to a much needed 1923 Convention. Things started off on the wrong foot, with President Corwin unable to attend. So on April 19, 20 and 21, Brother Stewart ran the Convention, sponsored by ALPHA, and held in the City of our original founding. The distribution of shingles, a new identification, was adopted at this Conclave and was to be handled by the National Board. Brother John L. Gilson, ALPHA, was elected National President, Brother Stewart of NU, Vice-President, and Brother Fred Graves Jr., ALPHA, was elected to the post of Secretary.
1924 was to be one of the better years of the “troubled twenties”. Convention was held in the borough of Brooklyn, New York City, under the auspices of ETA Chapter on April 24, 25, 26, 1924. This Conclave was the scene of two new Chapters being born, ALPHA MU of Upper Darby High School, Upper Darby (Metro-Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, and ALPHA NU Chapter of Dartmouth, Massachusetts at Dartmouth High School. ALPHA NU was sponsored by LAMBDA of New Bedford, Mass. and ALPHA MU was founded by Brothers from ALPHA ZETA Chapter, Philadelphia. ALPHA MU, was hampered, however by anti-fraternity feeling in the school and never really got started.
In 1924, an official method of mourning a deceased Brother was agreed upon. Black cloth or thread was to cover the face of the gold Fraternity pin, to denote mourning.
ALPHA BETA of Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, Virginia, dormant since 1915 was re-granted a charter, but went dormant again a few years later. Brother Stewart, known to many of his Gamma Delta Psi Brothers as “Junior”, was elected National President, Brother Frank D. Green, ALPHA ZETA, was elected Vice-President, and Gordon M. Leland, NU, was elected Secretary.
In 1925 ALPHA OMICRON Chapter was inducted into the Fraternity at Lower Merion High School, Ardmore (Metro-Philadelphia), Pennsylvania. ALPHA MU and ALPHA NU, chartered one year earlier, both went dormant. The Fraternity had about 20 active chapters at this time, a definite number not available because many chapters were not attending Conventions and not corresponding with the National Board. It should be noted that a letter was skipped in the sequence of the Greek Alphabet, namely ALPHA XI. The explanation of this is that a new Chapter almost in the process of being chartered (possibly St. Louis) fell apart for some reason, the name ALPHA XI already had been used for this Crescent Club, so this letter was actually skipped.
The 1925 Convention was held in Brookline (Metro-Boston), Massachusetts, on April 23, 24, and 25, under the auspices of NU Chapter. At the Convention, a National Ritual was accepted, since most Chapters previously had used their own ritual, basically with the same idea in mind. L.G. Balfour was assigned to make our Fraternity jewelry, and has done so to the present day. NU Chapter was given custody of the records of the newly established NIRVAHNAH Chapter of Gamma Delta Psi National Fraternity. This Chapter functions to remind us of the many fine Brothers, now deceased, who served our Fraternity in their lifetime.
Election results at the 1925 Convention saw Brother Stewart reelected as National President, Brother William V. Nungesser of ALPHA LAMBDA was elected Vice-President, and Brother Richard B, Peirce of NU was elected Secretary. It should be noted at this time, that the Constitution of our Fraternity stated that the President and Secretary must live within a 10-mile radius of each other. The Vice-President was not required to do this, so in most cases he lived at the other end of the Fraternity Chain. For example, the President lives in Massachusetts, as does the Secretary, so the VP lives in Detroit or Philadelphia, that way National Board officers were spread throughout the USA.
1926 according to Convention minutes was a fairly good year for GDP. Our number of active Chapters was now at 18. These Chapters were ALPHA, DELTA, ZETA, ETA, IOTA, LAMBDA, NU, SIGMA, CHI, PSI, ALPHA GAMMA, ALPHA DELTA, ALPHA ZETA, ALPHA ETA, ALPHA IOTA, ALPHA KAPPA, ALPHA LAMBDA and ALPHA OMICRON.
The 1926 Convention was held under the sponsorship of the newly formed ALPHA OMICRON Chapter of Ardmore Pa. Convention occurred on April 1,2,3 1926 in Philadelphia. At this Convention, Brother Stewart, NU, was again elected President Of our National Board, Brother Nungesser was re-elected Vice-President, and Brother Peirce was re-elected National Secretary. As was custom, also, according to Constitution, the President also acted as Treasurer, which put a terrible burden on whoever was National President. It was in 1926 that ALPHA, was to publish a National History, but since ALPHA, along with every other chapter was making a supreme effort to finish the National Catalog, the History was given a second billing.
Fraternal year 1926-27 passed by with no major changes, no new chapters, one dormant chapter. The Garnet and Silver was published regularly by various chapters throughout the Crescent at $0.25 per copy. They contained reports from all chapters and National Board Officers, and included pictures of chapters.
During this time, many chapters had alumni Chapters, boasting large numbers of regular alumni members attending meetings. EPSILON and KAPPA, both dormant for many years, still held annual banquets. ALPHA, ETA, NU and DELTA were the four Chapters with the most active Alumni. It is interesting to note that these were 4 of our oldest chapters, with Alumni Clubs, something that has died out over the years and was very important.
The 1927 Convention was held in March under the auspices of IOTA Chapter. Convention was at the Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit. At that time it was brought out that ALPHA DELTA Chapter of East Orange, NJ had gone dormant. The remaining active members went over to the two other Jersey chapters. We were down to 17 active chapters.
E.J. Stewart, NU #79 was again elected National Board President. Brother Fred M Deane Jr. of DELTA was elected Vice-President, and Brother Donald Richardson of NU was elected Secretary.
The remaining years of the 1920’s were of no great historical importance. Gamma Delta Psi, under the leadership of Brother Stewart, continued to improve itself with a new accounting system, and several Garnet and Silver editions.
FACT: THE STOCK MARKET “CRASHED” OCTOBER 29, 1929
The School Year 1929-30 passed rather unceremoniously. Our actives still held up their strength of seventeen. Still no new chapters. Our membership must have totaled well over 5,000 at this time.
A peculiar thing happened at the 1930 Convention, held in New Haven, on April 24, 25, 26, under the sponsorship of ALPHA. Brother Stewart declined to run for office again, and Brother Bruce Carpenter, ZETA, was elected to the office of National President. At the time of his election, the delegate who nominated him believed he would be residing in Washington, D.C., his home. Instead, he was transferred to New York City by the firm for which he worked, and consequently did not live within a radius of ten miles of the National Secretary as ruled in the Constitution. A breach of the Constitution. Brother Stewart took over the governing of the Fraternity temporarily and declared the election null and void. A re-vote was taken for the President, through the mail, and Brother Harrison W. Bullard of ETA was elected President. There was no Vice President. Eric Cunningham of ETA was National Secretary.
At the 1931 convention held in New Bedford, Conn., under the auspices of Lambda Chapter, Brother Bullard was elected Pres., Bro. Charles Davis, Lambda, V.P., and Brother Harold O. Purvis, ETA, as National Secretary. In 1932, a convention was not held. The Depression was in full force at this time and had an impact on everyone. Records state that during the 1931 convention only the Alumni Bros. of ETA volunteered to sponsor a 1932 convention, and even that was shaky at best. From 1931 to 1933 when the next convention occurred, Gamma Delta Psi stagnated. Bro. Davis resigned as VP and Thomas H. Egan of Lambda was appointed to replace him. Bro. Bullard did not publish a Garnet & Silver. Instead, he sporadically sent bulletins to cut costs. Chapters were lax in paying dues so the board had little to work with.
When IOTA came through to play host to the 1933 conclave, Brother Bullard dropped out of the picture entirely. According to then VP Egan, “It was certainly discouraging when I arrived in Detroit to find Bro. Bullard was absent.”
At this convention held at the Whittier Hotel, a Charter was granted to Alpha Pi Chapter at Simon Gratz H.S. in Philadelphia, PA. This was an offspring of Alpha Zeta. Also, our fraternity song,
“Like a River’s Flowing Waters” was adopted. Another resolution adopted, with reservations, was that “Gamma Delta Psi accept chapters from the Dominion of Canada.”
Bros. Thomas Egan was elected President, Edsel Ford of Iota, VP, and Stanley Weeks of Lambda as Secretary.
A point that should be made at this time is the age of our National Board members. Bro. Egan was 28 years old and married when elected president, having already graduated from college and now in the business world. His vice-president was Bro. Edsel B. Ford of IOTA, who was President of the Ford Motor Car Company. Bros. Ford was in his 50’s. Secretary of the National Board was Bro. Joshua H. Weeks of Lambda. Bro. Weeks was 37 years old and a practicing M.D. In 1933 a fraternity pin cost $3.75.
Fraternal year 1933-34 was a year of rebuilding. Correspondence improved, a Garnet and Silver was published and the treasury became fairly respectable. The bad news was that there would be no convention in 1934. The “Great Depression” and its after effects still hung over Gamma Delta Psi. So, the National Board and our 16 Chapters continued on for another year.
The 1935 convention was held in Arlington, Virginia with Zeta of Washington as sponsor. At this, our 33rd Convention, Brother Egan was re-elected President. Gary Drysdale of IOTA was elected Vice-President and Edmond Normandin of Lambda elected Secretary. Alpha Nu chapter of Upper Darby, Pa. was also re-activated. Records state “The Washington convention was a financial and social success, but gentlemen, the minutes of that convention were in such an incomprehensible state when the National Board received them, that we could not print them and forward these minutes to the chapters. This unfortunate happening makes the legislative acts of the Washington Convention Void.” Times certainly have changed……. .
1935-36 brought about two Garnet and Silver’s published by Alpha Iota of Syracuse. This Chapter was also to host our 34th convention. “On to Syracuse” was the cry for the July 1 and 2, 1936 conclave. Chapters in attendance were: Alpha, Delta, Zeta, Eta, Iota, Lambda, Nu, Alpha Eta, and host chapter Alpha Iota. Bros. Egan and Normandin were returned to the National Board and Bro. Cornelius Gray of Zeta was elected Vice-President.
The years 1937 and 1938 were some of the worst for the National Board. There were no Garnet and Silver’s printed, no conventions held, and no correspondence on file. In the 1936 convention issue of the Garnet and Silver, our number of chapters were about 17. By the time the next convention was held, our number of chapters had dropped to 12, and only eight were in attendance at the convention.
The 1939 convention (our 35th) was held June 29 and 30 in Detroit, with IOTA as host. As of Jan. 1, 1939, the fraternity had been operated by E. J. Stewart who served as Pres. Protem. In his reports he states…”Former National President Egan gave me practically no help because he had become entirely out of touch with the chapters…and also the depressing condition of his home city….heartbreaking since Lambda had been one of the oldest and most faithful… .” So, the alumni of Nu pulled the fraternity out of its hole and Gamma Delta Psi was off and running.
Bro. Stewart, using his 29 years of fraternity experience was able to get much accomplished in Detroit. Rules, regulations, and amendments were enacted. Forgotten methods of running a chapter and forgotten traditions of GDP were again a part of our fraternity. When elections were held, Bro. Stewart was unanimously elected president, his VP was Robert B. Sliker of Alpha Eta and Sec. was William E. Smith of Nu. In 1936, Gamma’s 12 active chapters were located in Conn., N.J., N.Y., Mich.,Mass., Pa., and Wash. D.C. We had existed for over 60 years.
The 1940’s would prove to be even more complex than the decade previous. Behind the leadership of Bro. Stewart, “Gamma” moved ahead. Garnet & Silver’s were published every four months, Sigma of Buffalo and Eta of NYC were brought back into the active ranks, while we lost Alpha Omicron of Phila., Pa. Chapters weren’t corresponding that well (Max Brandstetter of Zeta was champion letter-writer but some inter-chapter ties were occuring.) Alpha Eta of Niagara Falls and Alpha Iota of Syracuse were making efforts to socially get together even though 150 miles apart. Alpha Eta was also very instrumental in helping Sigma back on its feet.
New Haven, Conn. was the setting for our 36th convention. Delegates from seven of 12 chapters were present. At this convention Bro. Stewart declined to run for Pres. in favor of a younger brother. Bro. W.E. Smith (Nu) was elected Pres. VP was Robert C. Williams, of Alpha Iota, and secretary was George Smith of Nu. Bro. Arthur H. Jackson attended one of the sessions of the convention which was being held some 60 years after he and three other members conceived the idea of GDP . For the first time an award was given to the Cor. Sec. who carried out the duties of his office in an outstanding manner. Bro. Max Brandstetter of Zeta, who sent out over 215 letters received the award, which was a green onyx stone in a sterling silver setting with the fraternity crest mounted on the stone.
In December of 1940, a new concept was introduced into the fraternity. Under Secretary George Smith, a mid-year conclave was planned. The conclave was centered around the chapters in the East and was strictly voluntary. Meetings that lasted a day were held in NY, NJ, and Penn. and involved over seven chapters. Though not a total success, it did bring together chapters which for many years were isolated from one another. Many chapters only outside contact with other chapters was delegates attending conventions. Another new development surfaced at this time. While meeting with Alpha Zeta of Phil., it was noted that racial makeup of schools were beginning to be a problem. The inner cities were getting more minorities, while “whiteflight” to the suburbs accelerated.
President W.E. Smith was forced to step down from office in early 1941 because of health problems. The VP, because of a busy schedule was unable to serve as Pres., so Bro. E.J. Stewart assumed the office of Pres. Pro Tem. Eleven active chapters were now in exisitence. Alpha-New Haven, Delta-Grand Rapids, Zeta-DC, Iota-Detroit, Nu-Brookline, Sigma-Buffalo, Alpha Gamma-Glen Ridge, N.J., Alpha Zeta-Philadelphia, Alpha Eta-Niagara Falls, Alpha Iota-Syracuse, and Alpha Kappa-Port Huron. Eta of New York was active in name only. Plans for expansion were in two cities of NY state, but both fell through. Garnet & Silvers of this time period stated that the draft was starting to take away some of our alumni Bros.
The 1941 convention, our 37th, was held out on the Western fringes of our fraternity. With Delta as hosts, our meeting was held in Detroit, Michigan. It was conceded at this convention that Eta of NYC, and Alpha Zeta and Alpha Omicron of Philadelphia were both gone. GDP was not longer active in Pa. for the first time in 36 years. The red carnation was adopted as our fraternity flower that year.
Walter Mimnaugh of Alpha Eta was elected Pres. George Smith of Nu was elected VP and William Buchanan of Alpha Eta was elected Sec. In appreciation for his never ending dedication to the fraternity, a resolution was passed providing E.J. Stewart with copies of convention minutes for “this and each succeeding convention of GDP as long as Brother Stewart shall live“.
Bro. Mimnaugh set out on a huge project of reactivating several old chapters early in his year as Pres. He had District Deputies for six of his seven districts attempting to contact alumni of dormant chapters in the hopes there might be a spark of life. A Garnet & Sivler was published in Nov. 1941. The world was beginning to enter a new era. On December 7, 1942, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Gamma Delta Psi would go to war.
Bro. Mimnaugh in a sense of fraternal and national patriotism, established the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Honorary Chapter. This chapter, in honor of the Rho Alumni, was created so that alumni of GDP would receive recognition for exceptional work they were doing in the area of national and civil defense. It was quite an unique idea which was appreciated by all those who were touched by it. Unfortunately, the fast pace of life forced upon working brothers left little or no time for fraternity. A few banquets were held in various cities to celebrate the honorary chapters creation, but as mentioned before, the war effort had everyone running.
The 1942 convention was held on June 25, 26, and 27 in Buffalo, NY under the joint sponsorship of Sigma and Alpha Eta. Seven chapters were in attendance. They were Delta, Zeta, Iota, Nu, Sigma, Alpha Eta and Alpha Iota. Places were reserved for Alpha, Alpha Gamma, and Alpha Kappa in the hopes that they were still active and would be in attendance.
A constitutional change was accepted on June 26th that would change the course of GDP. Bro. John M. Burns of Iota moved the constitution be ammended to “in the North American continent” instead of the “United States of America“. This change was to pave the way for what would be the greatest expansion in the history of Gamma Delta Psi. It would be another 12 years until Alpha Phi of Mimico-New Toronto would make our fraternity truly international.
At this convention, Alpha Rho of Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, Va. was granted a charter. This, the 41st chapter of our fraternity was an outgrowth of Zeta chapter which was across the Potomac River in Wash. DC.
Because the Selective Service had already contacted him, Bro. Mimnaugh decided against running for re-election. He suggested a person to be either too young or too old for the draft to serve as President. George D. Smith of Nu was elected as President, John McNeil Burns of Iota as VP, and Blake Potter of Nu was elected Sec. Gamma Delta Psi would not call a convention until four years had passed. This convention, our 42nd, was held in Detroit on the weekend of June 20, under the auspices of Iota chapter. The best way to review those four “lost” years is to quote from the 1946 convention minutes in which outgoing President John Burns states, “At the 1942 convention in Buffalo, Brother George D. Smith, Jr. was elected President, and I was elected VP. Shortly after that meeting Brother Smith passed on, …. (drowned while swimming in New Hampshire) …. and I became President. For the first four months I might add that I was President in name only. The reason being that former National President Walter E. Mimnaugh refused to send me the records or the money. He finally told me that he had given a false treasurers report at the convention (1942) and that he would send me the records when he got good and ready. Well, after writing many letters and making threats, Brother Mimnaugh made good his debt to the fraternity. In November of 1943 I finally received the records, but no money. I had lost much time, but the chapters rallied to my support with some money and by the time the school year had ended I had secured the $250 from Mimnaugh, and had completed what I though was a good year considering all that stood in our way. Brother Robert cole of Delta was elected National VP that year via the ballot by mails…. Sigma became inactive June 1943 and Alpha Iota shortly after that….
In July 1943, I entered the service as did the other two members of the Board. We decided that as long as none of the Board members were going to be able to carry on and since we were unable to hold a convention that it would be better to freeze the National Board until a time when it could carry on as it should.”
In 1945, Maxie Brandstetter of Zeta was elected Deputy to the President and would be responsible for keeping correspondence going between the chapters. At the 1946 convention Alpha, Zeta, Iota, Nu, Alpha Kappa and Alpha Rho were in attendance. Delta of Grand Rapids was on the doorstep of extinction with only three actives and some tough anti-fraternity laws. Sigma and Alpha Iota had folded during the war and Alpha Eta was not present. Alpha Kappa in Port Huron was in attendance but was also under pressure from a strict anti-fraternity school board.
Zeta made a complete sweep of the elections with Don Lichty as Pres., Maxie Brandstetter as VP, and Sidney Hamilton as Secretary. Our National Treasury contained $97.28.
Things would go from bad to worse with GDP and the world. The “cold war” was occuring and more and more young men were being called into the service. Bro. Pres. Lichty was one of them. Bros. Brandstetter and Hamilton were both unable to serve on the board, so Bro. John Cosgrove of Iota was appointed Pres. in 1947-48. Bro. Cosgrove relinquished the office and in turn appointed John Woods, also of Iota. Nu Chapter of Brookline, Mass., because of the changing makeup of students in its schools folded in 1948. Our remaining charter member of Alpha, Arthur Henry Jackson, Alpha #2 died on Nov. 9, 1948.
When the 1950 convention (our 40th) was called to order over the June 23rd weekend, the host chapter, Alpha Eta of Niagara Falls, wasn’t quite sure what or who to expect. No one present had ever previously attended a convention. The person responsible for setting up the 40th convention was Bro. William Fermoile (AH #305) who, at the time of the convention, would serve as national Pres. Pro Tempore. Bro. Fermoile states, “Between 1945 and 1949 the Brothers of alpha Eta didn’t know other chapters even existed . . . . (try to remember all the older Brothers of several chapters had been drafted into the service) . . . . One week, I think it was Easter vacation 1949 or 1950, …. several Brothers and myself drove in my 1947 DeSoto to Detroit to visit Bro. Woods. This was the start of talks to re-start the National Board and to try and start up old and new chapters. We had the convention in Niagara Falls, NY YMCA….”
Alpha, Zeta, Alpha Eta, Alpha Kappa, and Alpha Rho were present. Iota, the chapter in which appointed Pres. Bro. Woods came from was absent. So was Bro. Woods.
All was not bad new though. At 2:33 p.m. June 23rd, 1950, Walter E. Mimnaugh, Past National President entered the meeting. He states that he was in Boston visiting a Fraternity Brother and had heard from him that a convention was taking place in Niagara Falls. Asked to assume chairmanship of the convention by Bro. Fermoile, Bro. Mimnaugh assumed the office of National Pres. Pro tempore for the duration of the convention in an effort to carry on the proper procedures of the meeting.
Officers elected were William Fermoile, Pres.Francis J. McGouldrick, Alpha Chapter, VP, and Raymond Pierce of Alpha Eta as Secretary. At this convention a Crescent Club from Canisius High School in Buffalo was granted a charter and became Alpha Sigma Chapter, our 1st new chapter in eight years. Also, the idea of a 75th anniverary convention in 1954 to be held in New Haven was first discussed.
In Sept. of 1950, Bro. William Fermoile attended the University of Detroit. He, along with many other Brothers felt the future of Gamma Delta Psi did not have to completely belong in secondary schools. This line of thinking brought about Alpha Tau chapter which was granted a charter at this University.
The Korean War was having its effect on the fraternity and was making it virtually impossible to keep active brothers after graduation. An official convention was not held in 1951 with the war most likely playing an important part. Brother Fermoile, who had left the University of Detroit and transferred to Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY, remained as President. Then in July of 1951 Brother Fermoile joined the Air Force. His VP, Brother McGouldrick, had also been called to similiar duty and was unable to serve as president. Brother Fermoile asked once again for Brother Walter Mimnaugh to come to the aid of “Gamma”. Brother Mimnaugh agreed and assumed the title of National President-treasurer, Pro-Tem. The first action of Brother Mimnaugh was to have formal sanction from the active chapters on his appointment as President.
A conclave of sorts was to be held in July at the Knights of Pythius Hall in Pt. Huron, Michigan, with Iota, Alpha Kappa, and Alpha Tau attending. Due to the hospitalization of Brother Mimnaugh in Boston, and problems with Brother James Fermoile‘s automobile, this meeting was cancelled. Finally, in January of 1952, he was able to get approval to assume office. Unfortunately, during this time, Brother Mimnaugh was handed the charters for both Alpha Sigma and Alpha Tau Chapters. Members from Alpha Sigma chapter were taken practically en masse into the armed forces. These losses brought us down to seven active chapters, the lowest Gamma Delta Psi had ever been since 1893. Our treasury was at $55.47 in the red.
The 1952 convention was held July 4, 5, 6, in Washington, D.C. with Zeta as sponsors. Chapters in attendance were Zeta, Iota, Alpha Eta, Alpha Rho, and strangely enought Alpha Sigma, and Alpha Tau chapters. Delegates from these two chapters were Brothers James and William Fermoile who acted as delegates to give the conventon a quorum.
Chapters supposedly active but not in attendance were Alpha, Alpha Kappa, and Alpha Omicron of Lower Merion, Pa. Thought to be dormant, the National Board discovered Alpha Omicron to be active when they tried to purchase fraternity pins through L. G. Balfour. A very independent group, this chapter made little contact with the National Board and was eventually dropped from active status.
Brother Mimnaugh and the convention made important changes in the constitution that would carry on for quite a few years. The National Board was expanded from three to five members. New officers were to be a VP for Plans & Expansion and a VP for Operations and Reorganization. Also, the secretary would now become Secretary-Treasurer and an office of Editor-Historian was established.
An advisory body know as the Board of Trustees was established. Composed of five former National Officers for staggered 5 year terms, they would audit the Secretary-Treasurer books and act as a receiver of the fraternity in case of the inability of the entire National Board to function.
No longer would president and secretary be required to live within ten miles of each other, thereby giving more chapters an opportunity to have board officers.
Elected to the recently revamped National Board of Control were:
- Walter E. Mimnaugh, President, Alpha Eta
- James L. S. Fermoile, Vice-Pres, Alpha Eta
- Eugene Canham, Vice-Pres, Alpha Kappa
- Joseph M. Matusek, Sec/Treas, Zeta
- Wallace McGarry, Editor/Historian, Zeta
- Edward J. Stewart, Chairman/Bd of Trustees, Nu
Also discussed at the convention was the possibility of joining the InterFraternity Congress (IFC). Tentative agreement was reached, but future study was deemed necessary.
In order to clear up unfinished business from the convention, a mid-year conclave was held Dec. 27-28, 1952 in Niagara Falls, with Alpha Eta hosting. Chapters attending approved the granting of a charter to a Crescent Club from the University of Buffalo. Alpha Upsilon, with Secretary James Fermoile as a charter member, was our 2nd attempt at breaking into the college ranks. Its charter was granted in early 1953. And finally membership to the InterFraternity Congress was approved. This organization, founded in 1947, contained national and international high school level fraternities with its primary purpose being to promote a high level of inter-fraternal relationships among its member organizations. Benefits from membership would soon be realized.
Fighting within the National Board, failure of chapters to pay dues and all around lack of cooperation plagued the fraternity up until the 1953 convention.
Gamma’s 42nd Annual convention was held at the Centrue Club in Niagara Falls, NY. Walt Mimnaugh was re-elected president with Eugene F. Canham of Alpha Kappa and Joseph M. Matusek of Zeta serving as Vice Presidents.
Fraternal year 1953 – 54 would be a year of great accomplishment. It would also prove to be another confusing and trying year for our national board. Beta Chapter, our second oldest chapter and dormant for over 60 years was reactivated. It was discovered that the town of Suspension Bridge was incorporated into the city of Niagara Falls, where Alpha Eta was located. A few members, including Bros. Mimnaugh and J. Fermoile, shifted over to help found what was known as Beta Reactivated Chapter.
Although with good intentions, this chapter could not gather enough support and folded. A bright spot in 1954 was the publication of the Garnet & Silver, the first published in 10 years. The biggest highlight of the year and for many years to follow uas the induction of our first Canadian Chapter into the Grand Crescent. Alpha Phi of Mimico Secondary was granted a charter on March 18, 1954. Alpha Phi had been founded with the help of the Inter-Fraternity Congress.
Our 75th Diamond Jubilee Celebration was to be held in NYC under the chairmanship of Bro. Jim Fermoile. But due to problems of distance, cost, and lack of alumni support, it was re-scheduled to occur within the Convention.
So in our 75th year, Gamma Delta Psi was holding it 43rd Convention at the Elks Club in Niagara Falls. Brother Jim Fermoile who had more or less been running the Fraternity with Mimnaugh since March of 1954 was elected President. (Brother Mimnaugh chose not to run after losing a power struggle to Fermoile.) James Hyde (Zeta) and William Stephens (Alpha Phi) were elected Vice Presidents.
At this convention, the charters of our two college chapters Alpha Upsilon and Alpha Tau were officially revoked because of the absolute inability of these two chapters to become recognized by the national Inter-Fraternity Conference (college level) they had ceased to exist. The idea though, was again to surface later.
Fraternal year 1954-55 started off with seven active chapters:
- Alpha, New Haven, Conn.
- Zeta, Washington, D.C.
- Alpha Eta, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
- Iota, Detroit, Mich.
- Alpha Kappa, Port Huron, Mich.
- Alpha Rho, Arlington, Va.
- Alpha Phi, Toronto, Ont.
Alpha Chapter was on the verge of folding due to anti-fraternity sentiment at Hillhouse H.S. In October, Bro. Fermoile was elected IFC Academic Vice President. This would be only one of many “Delts” to hold IFC offices.
On Nov. 28, 1954 VP Stephens wrote of a prospective chapter in Oakville, Ontario, ” ….there are 10 fellows just jumping to form a Chapter….” Sponsored by Alpha Phi, this chapter was chartered as Alpha Chi on Feb. ??,1955 at ????.
On April 17, 1955, the Grand Crescent increased by one with the addition of Alpha Psi Chapter. Located in the New Toronto area, this chapter was an alumni chapter with its members coming from Alpha Phi.
Gamma Delta Psi’s 44th convention was held July 1,2,3, at the Yacht Club in Grosse Point, Michigan. Iota Chapter served as hosts. Five chapters were in attendance. Three were absent. Alpha Chapter founded some 76 years ago would not appear for the convention. Efforts to keep our “Mother Chapter” had failed and the honor of oldest chapter in the crescent passed to Zeta. Officers elected to the International Board of Control were Pres. Jim Fermoile, VP Walter Simmons (Iota) and Ken Gardiner (Alpha Psi). One of the first issues tackled by the new board was the merger of Gamma Delta Psi with Chi Sigma Chi. Located in the US and strongest in Ohio, this organization was having problems similiar to “Gamma”. Low finances, old chapters folding, tradition being lost and difficulty forming new chapters were common problems. Correspondence between Bros. Fermoile and Chi Sigma Chi was kept secret and only top level board members were kept posted on events.
A summit meeting was held on Jan. 28 and 29, 1956 in Jamestown, NY between the two organizaitons with the mutual agreement being to stay independent of each other.
In fraternal year 1955-56, new chapters would be founded, Alpha Omega in Lewistown, NY (sponsored by Alpha Eta) on ______________ and expansion into southern VA with the addition of Beta Alpha Chapter (Sponsored by Zeta) chartered on May 12, 1956. Beta Alpha located at Hopewell H.S. in Hopewell, VA, was started by a group of boys, many of whom were former pledges of other fraternities in Hopewell. The Chapter president of the Pi Phi fraternity (an IFC member) in Petersburg, with the true interfraternity spirit gave them the address of Pres. Fermoile. The result would be expansion into new territory. With chapters in Ontario, Wash., D.C., Va., Michigan and NY, Gamma Delta Psi was truly international.
While the fraternity gained two chapters, Alpha Kappa of Pt. Huron, Mi., folded. The 1956 convention (our 45th) was held at the Royal York in Toronto with Alpha Phi, Alpha Chi and Alpha Psi as hosts. The enthusiasm and hard work the new Canadian chapters had shown paid off when Frank Wilson of Alpha Phi was elected President. The presidency had gone to a Canadian as would most of the Board of Control. Vice-Pres. elected were Richard Fermoile (Alpha Eta) and Terry More (Alpha Chi).
The Fraternity continued to grow with the addition of three new chapters:
- Beta Beta-Port Credit Secondary-Port Credit, Ontario
- Beta Gamma-Thomas Dale HS-Chester, Virginia
- Beta Delta-West Hill College-West Hill, Ontario-chartered May 15, 1957
The Hotel Statler in Buffalo, New York, on June 28, 29, and 30, was the scene of the 1957 Convention. The idea of a “rally” of geographically closely located chapters was introducted. Election results were:
- President – Geoffry Smith – Alpha Phi
- VP – Robert Oxberry
- VP – Tony Taylor – Beta Alpha
In 1957 a fraternity pin cost $5.50. One of the biggest accomplishments of the past Fraternal year was the printing of our constitution. Pocket sized, and very professional looking, it was to replace an old and outdated constitution.
The 1958 Convention (our 47th) was held July 3, 4, 5, 1958 at the Westbury Hotel in Toronto. Chapters present were Zeta, Alpha Phi, Alpha Chi, Beta Beta and Beta Delta. Chapters absent were Iota (most likely had folded), Alpha Eta, Alpha Rho, Alpha Omega, Beta Alpha and Beta Gamma. Officers elected were:
- President – Frank Wilson, Alpha Phi
- VP Expansion – Ron Fleming, Alpha Chi
- VP ReOrganization – Paul Graham, Alpha Phi
- Sec/Treasurer – Doug Jamieson, Alpha Phi
- Editor / Historian – Al Smith, Alpha Phi
Gamma Delta Psi’s Board of Control was completely Canadian administered. This topic was discussed at length in the Fall issue of “The Garnet and Silver”. Editor-Historian Al Smith wrote “…Gamma Delta Psi now stands at the crossroads in her life. One road leads to international understanding and the sharing of American and Canadian ideas and the other is a road the Canadian chapters may tread alone.” In November of 1959, Brother Wilson stepped down as President due to his acceptance at a college in Manitoba. Bro. Ron Fleming assumed the duties of President.
Beta Epsilon Chapter of Malvern Colliegiate, Toronto, Ontario, which had been chartered in mid-summer of 1958, lasted only a year and had ceased operations by November of 1959. Alpha Rho of Arlington, Va., active since 1942, was also to cease operations.
Gamma Delta Psi got off to a good start with the chartering of a Crescent Club from Gordon Graydon Secondary in Port Credit, Ontario. Given the name Beta Zeta, this would be Gamma’s 7th Canadian chapter.
The 1960 Convention was held Sept. 2, 3, 4 at the Prudhomes Hotel in Vineland, Ontario. Eight chapters were present, two were not. Correspondence (or the lack of it) and dues to the Board of control were the hot topics of this convention. Individually chapters reported good years, but few chapters met with others socially. Our treasurey contained $170. Election results were:
- President – Ronald R. Fleming, Alpha Chi
- Vice President – Doug Jamieson, Alpha Phi
- Vice President – David Borum, Beta Alpha
Alpha Psi, our third Canadian chapter, and our third attempt at a non-secondary school level chapter folded due to lack of interest. A chapter was gained to offset this loss. Beta Eta of Nelson H.S. in Burlington, Ontario was granted a charter on Oct. 9, 1960.
In an effort to encourage better communications between chapters and the Board of Control, VP Jamieson created a monthly publication entitled “The Inter-National Grip” (later shortened to “The Grip“). Three or Four pages long, it informed brothers of latest individual, chapter, Board and IFC developments.
Gamma’s expansion program brought forth two chapters in the spring of 1961:
- Beta Theta – Agincourt Collegiate, Agincourt, Ontario-April 16
- Beta Iota – Westdale Secondary, Hamilton, Ontario-April 30
On April 17, 1961, Doug Jamieson and two other active Brothers attended the 67th annual reunion of Eta and Alpha Epsilon Chapters in New York City. Attended by over 45 alumni, many of whom had graduated around the turn of the century, it was proof that the spirit of Gamma Delta Psi carries on throughout life.
In the summer of 1961, the fraternity was to gain a 3rd active chapter in New York state with the addition of Beta Kappa Chapter from Amherst HS, Amherst (near Buffalo), New York.
The 1961 convention was held at the Park Motor Hotel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. Officers elected were:
- President – Douglas Jamieson, Alpha Phi #62
- V. President – Bob Chaconas, Zeta
- V. President – Byron Scott
- Secretary – Ken Marskell, Beta Zeta
- Historian – Al Smith, Alpha Phi
President Jamieson divided Gamma Delta Psi’s 15 active chapters into four districts, each with its own district deputy. Active chapters in the fraternity were: Zeta (District of Columbia); Alpha Eta, Alpha Omega, and Beta Kappa (New York); Alpha Phi, Alpha Chi, Beta Beta, Beta Delta, Beta Zeta, Beta Eta, Beta Theta, and Beta Iota (all from Ontario). Virginia chapters included Beta Alpha, Beta Gamma, and the recently chartered Beta Lambda chapter. Admitted on October 15, 1961, from Prince George County, VA, this group ran into problems with school authorities at Prince George HS and would fold by the next convention. Some of the Brothers would eventually transfer to the nearby Beta Alpha Chapter.
Canadian expansion continued with the addition of Beta Mu Chapter at Royal York Collegiate in Toronto.
Our ________________ convention was called to order on September 1, 2, 3, 1962 at the Royal York in Toronto. Ten chapters and a Crescent Club were present. Chapter reports indicated a great difference in the number of active brothers in Chapters (30 active in Alpha Eta, 12 active in Zeta) and an even greater financial difference ($725 in Beta Gamma‘s treasury-$30 in Beta Kappa‘s).
Officers elected were:
- President – V. Kenneth Marskell, Beta Zeta #1
- V. President – Dan Schiralli, Alpha Phi
- V. President – Len McAdams, Beta Gamma
- Sec. Treas. – James Pollard, Beta Delta
- Hist-Ed. – Pat Young, Beta Delta
Three weeks after convention on Sept. 23, 1962, the Richview Collegiate Crescent Club was chartered as Beta Nu. On October 28, 1962, a Crescent Club from St. Catharines Collegiate, St. Catharines, Ontario, was granted a charter. Known as Beta Xi, this was a “stepping stone” chapter. For years Presidents of the Board of Control had wanted a continous link between Ontario and VA. The addition of Beta Xi filled a gap between Beta Iota (Hamilton) and Alpha Omega (Lewiston).
For the first time since 1935, Gamma Delta Psi held its annual convention in the Washinton, D.C. area. As was becoming tradition, this event was held close to the Labor Day weekend. With Zeta as hosts at the Mayflower Hotel, this would be the first convention for many Virginians and first visits to Washinton, D.C. for many Canadians. Fourteen chapters were in attendance. Civics were a major chapter function at this time. Projects ranged from donating hospital beds, canvassing door to door, raffles, and dances for charities.
A problem which GDP had never encountered on a fraternity level arose at this convention. A Canadian chapter had inducted young man of African Canadian descent into GDP , at that time greatly upsetting some members. A special committee headed by Doug Jamieson attempted to defuse this explosive situation. Elections gave the following results:
- President – Mac Stoodley, Alpha Phi #86
- V. President – Frank Walker, Zeta
- V. President – Bob Guthrie, Beta Zeta
- Sec-Treas – Doug Bonesteel
- Historian – Doug Jamieson, Alpha Phi
- Editor – Rae Rotchell, Alpha Chi
Although no chapters were gained this year, efforts were made to strengthen the weak links in the chain of “Gamma Delta Psi”. The IBC continued to stay active by holding rallies, picnics, and publishing the “GRIP”.
On April 15, 1964, Gamma Delta Psi mourned the loss of one of its most famous brothers, Douglas MacArthur. Inducted July 25, 1901, he was Rho Chapter’s 31st Brother. Before his death, his wife had sent a reply to a Beta Alpha get well card and a few years earlier he had responded to a letter sent to him by Bro. Joe Mason of Beta Gamma.
Beta Alpha was host to our _________________ convention held at the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach, VA. Sept. 4, 5, 6, 1964. Dan Schiralli of Alpha Phi, a last minute candidate was elected President. The constitution was ammended to drop the Vice President of Plans and Expansion and Vice President of Re-organization & Operations. Replacing them would be Vice Presidents of North and South.
- Vice President, South – Maurice Wilson, Beta Alpha
- Vice President, North – Bob Guthrie, Beta Zeta
- Sec. Treasurer – Mark Courtemanche, Beta Zeta
- Historian – Doug Jamieson, Alpha Phi
- Editor – Clyde Emerson, Beta Alpha
The number of chapters would grow with the addition of Beta Omicron, Meadowbrook, HS, Chesterfield Co., Richmond VA _________ 1964; Beta Pi, Colonial Heights SH, Colonial Heights, VA, December 10, 1964; Beta Rho, Etobicoke Collegiate, Burhamthorpe HS, Toronto, Ont. March 7, 1965; Beta Sigma, Aldenwood Collegiate, Toronto, Ont. April 25, 1965 Our only loss was Beta Kappa of Amherst, New York.
Throughout the year, the Board correspondended regularly with past national President, E.J. Stewart, of Massachusetts. Brothers Schiralli and Guthrie visited Brother Stewart during this time being the first Canadians from GDP to meet this great brother. He turned over to these brothers the treasure house of letters, records, garnet & silvers he had acquired over his many years in Gamma Delta Psi.
As this successful year drew to a close, the Board published its 2nd Garnet & Silver in three years. Convention was held at the Constellation Hotel in Toronto on ________________. Officers elected were:
- President – Robert E. Guthrie, Beta Zeta #4
- V. President, North – Bill Kerr, Beta Mu
- V. President, South – Rick Davis, Beta Alpha
- Sec. Treasurer – Richard J. Smith
- Editor – Wayne Smith
Doug Jamieson, Historian, chose not to run for re-election. While holding that position for years, he gathered much history from members, and corresponded with several members who had been in as early as the turn of the century.
Zeta chapter, founded in 1891, and our oldest (and only single letter) active chapter was to have its charter revoked this year. Bro. Pres. Guthrie was at that time an authoritarian and lifted the charter due to drinking at fraternity functions.
Many of the active brothers in Zeta were out of high school making recruiting of “new blood” quite difficult. Oldest active chapter honors passed to the sporadically active Alpha Eta Chapter.
Three new chapters were added to offset the loss of Zeta.
- Beta Tau-Dinwiddie HS Dinwiddie Co., VA-Sept. 4, 1965
- Beta Upsilon-Parkdale Collegiate Toronto, Ontario-December 19, 1965
- Beta Phi-Earl Haig ? Toronto, Ontario-May 8, 1966
- Beta Chi-Scarlet Heights Collegiate Weston, Ontario 1966
Between conventions, GDP ‘s budget outlay was over $2100. Chapter dues were $40. Beta Omicron, active just two years, folded by convention. The John Marshall Hotel in Richmond was the site of the 1966 convention over the Labor Day weekend. Bob Guthrie was unopposed for his 2nd term as Pres.
- V. President, South – Don Graves, Beta Gamma
- V. President, North – Rick Smith, Alpha Phi
- Sec/Treasurer – Brian Osborne, Beta Sigma
- Historian – Sam Brown, Beta Gamma
- Editor – Barry Yeates, Beta Mu
Two weeks later on September 11, 1966, a charter was granted to a group from Prince George HS. Beta Psi would be the South’s 5th active chapter.
The North would gain four new chapters with the addition of Beta Omega, Aldershot & Burlington HS, Burlington, Ontario __________, 1966; Gamma Alpha, Thistletown Collegiate, Rexdale, Ontario-Nov. 13, 1966; Gamma Beta, Applewood Heights Sec., Mississauga, Ont.-April 9, 1967
For quite a few years, Bro. Guthrie had been trying to re-activate the Board of Trustees, which had not functioned since 1959. He visualized an organization which would serve not only in an advisory capacity, but if necessary could step in to work on projects which only a group of proven dedicated persons could do. On such projects was the re-writing of the badly outdated consitution. In November of 1966, Bro. Guthrie named (pending approval) Bros. Doug Jamieson, Paul Graham, Ron Fleming, Ken Marskell, and Mac Stoodley to this newly revitalized body. On April 3, 1967, Gamma Delta Psi inducted Brother James L. S. Fermoile as Grand Brother “1”, the award, created by the B. of T. was awarded to any member of the fraternity who in the opinion ?????????????????????????????????????????.
Over 140 brothers registered to attend Gamma Delta Psi’s 56th convention sponsored by Beta Zeta at the Holiday Inn in Toronto on September 2, 3, 1967. It was attended by Alpha Phi, Beta Alpha, Beta Beta, Beta Gamma, Beta Delta, Beta Zeta, Beta Eta, Beta Theta, Beta Mu, Beta Nu, Beta Pi, Beta Rho, Beta Sigma, Beta Tau, Beta Tau, Beta Phi, Beta Chi, Beta Psi, Beta Omega, Gamma Alpha, Gamma Beta, and Gamma Gamma. Absent were our two NY chapters Alpha Eta and Alpha Omega. Also, Beta Iota and Beta Xi. Beta Upsilon had gone dormant. Many constitutional changes were made at this convention, but the highlight of the weekend was the banquet. Bro. E. J. Stewart of Nu attending his first convention in over 20 years was the honored speaker. Brother Guthrie was re-elected to a 3rt straight term as IBC President. VP of the South was Ron Adams of Beta Alpha and his Northern counterpart was Barry Yeates of Beta Mu. Danny Gardiner of Alpha Phi was elected Secretary and Paul Gibson of Beta Mu as Treasurer. Dues were raised from $40 to $85.
On November 26, 1967, Gamma Delta chapter of West Humber Collegiate, Rexdale, Ontario, was granted a charter. Before the 1969 covention charters were also granted to:
- Gamma Epsilon-Matoaca HS, Ettrick, VA 1968
- Gamma Zeta-Surry Academy, Spring Grove, 1968
- Gamma Eta-Laura Second Sec., St. Catharines, Ont. 1968
- Gamma Theta-Petersburg HS, Petersburg, VA 1968
- Gamma Iota-Laurier Collegiate Toronto, Scarborough 1968
Shifting away from Labor Day weekend (many brothers started school by then) our 57th annual convention was held Aug. 4, 5, 1968 at the Constellation Hotel in Toronto. Conventions over the past few years were break even or money making affairs, but not this one. Due to the violent nature of some members, the fraternity found itself with a _______ damage bill over a thousand dollars.
A group of GDP alumni and non-alumni from John Tyler Community College in Chester, VA presented a report at the convention. Founded on March 18, 1968, this group was seeking recognition from Gamma Delta Psi.
Gamma Delta Psi entered the seventies in better shape than it had over its last 90 years of existance. This decade was to be a decade of change. Society was going through a transition that would alter everything. The draft, drugs, inflation, apathy, and changing social mores would play an extremely important part in the history of Gamma Delta Psi.
The 1970 Convention was held at Niagara Falls, Ontario, with the IBC as hosts. We were to gain two chapters at this meeting. Gamma Mu, Ridgeway-Crystal Beach HS, Ridgeway, Ontario was our Canadian addition. Gamma Nu of Hayfield High School, Fairfax County-Alexandria, Virginia was the Southern addition. By looking on a map, it can be seen that Gamma Nu was a stepping off base for Southern trips North and a layover for Canadians coming South. This factor would make Gamma Nu a very important chapter during its existance.
Bob Guthrie was re-elected president with Eric Maginnis of Alpha Phi as Northern VP and Doug Darby of Gamma Epsilon as Southern VP. for the first time the presence of drugs were to be noticed at the convention. Also, the question of a college level affiliate was discussed, often in quite heated debates.
In the South, Doug Darby would be replaced by Ron Hartman of Beta Tau chapter as Southern VP.
As was the tradition, the convention was to be held in the South. New Orleans and Alexandria, Gamma Lambda and Gamma Nu respectively, had volunteered to host because of distance factors, the group from Metro-Wash. were to host Convention.
Bro. Guthrie, as with other famous brothers who have led us, felt it was time to turn the reigns over to “younger blood”. This “younger blood” was John Miszuk of Beta Zeta.
Dues were to be of extreme importance at this convention. Many chapters questioned the need for paying $100 yearly and not receiving $100 worth of services. What started out as a North vs. South debate blew wide open. The South gained enough support to have dues reduced to $90. No chapters were chartered.
Between convention 1971 and the upcoming Toronto 1972 convention, the South encountered many problems. The S-VP, Ron Hartman, was very lax in his duties, to the point of an uprising by many Southern Chapters. Coming to the convention would be a united front determined to have a fair portion of Southern say in how GDP would be administered. The 1972 convention was held in Toronto under the sponsorship of the IBC. Bros. Miszuk was re-elected Pres. unanimously, the Northern VP was Dave Myers of Alpha Chi and the Southern VP was Kevin Stockdale of Gamma Nu. Both VP were newcomers to the IBC and would inject some new ideas and a pledge for improved Can-Am relations. During this year the South sponsored its first softball tournament to equal the Canadian hockey tournament.
The 1973 convention was held in Toronto with the IBC as hosts. At this meeting, Brother Pres. Miszuk announced he would not stand election for a 3rd term. Dave Bartlett #10 of Gamma Alpha, a former IBC Distric Deputy and Historian, stepped forward to lead the fraternity. His Northern VP was Dave Myers and Danny Wyatt of Beta Pi was elected as Southern VP. Chapters having their charters lifted were Beta Delta, Beta Chi, Gamma Beta, Gamma Mu, all Canadian chapters.
It was at this convention that the membership was to learn of the loss of a very dear Brother. E.J. Stewart of Nu Chapter, Pres. of our National Fraternity for ????years, died at the age of 75. It can be safe to say that if Grand Brother Stewart did not step forward and accept the duties as President in 1939, GDP would not have existed through some of its most difficult times. Truly a “Grand Brother“.
On July 4, 1976, the US celebrated 200 years of independence. Gamma Delta Psi did its part in recognizing the Bicentennial by holding its convention in Hamilton, Ontario over the July 30, 31, Aug l, weekend. Bro. Doug Jamieson of the Trustees served as chairman of the convention. 12 Chapters were in attendance and four were absent. Chapter reports indicated that things seemed to be going rather well at the local level except for cor. As for the IBC, there was a problem of finding energetic young members to assume IBC positions. For this reason most of the IBC officers elected were older members with little time to devote to fraternity. Bro. Sowchuck was unopposed in his reelection bid for President, as was Bruce Johnstone for Northern VP. Cor. Sec. of the year, David Stevens of Gamma Theta, was the new Southern VP. also elected at this convention as Sec. was Bro. Gerry Thompson of Beta Xi, known to us all as “Sparky”. This brother was to be a whirlwind all year long. Not only assuming the Secretary office, Brother Thompson took on many other responsibilities and woul be a familiar figure at any function, Northern or Southern. At the upcoming convention, he would receive the IBC Achievement Award for the outstanding work he performed on the Board of Control level. Because of going to college away from home, Bros. Thompson was unable to stay on the IBC. But being that valuable a brother, he was elected to the Board of Trustees at age 19, the youngest trustee ever.
One low point of the convention was the lifting of Beta Zeta‘s charter. This charter had provided many outstanding brothers, and was one of Canada’s and Gamma’s most active chapters in its heyday.
Fraternal Year 1976-77 moved along very quickly. The North, as it had over recent years, was having problems obtaining district deputies. The South continued to stagnate by not expanding successfully for over seven years. The major turnabout that year was to be the induction of Douglas R. Jamieson into the Order of the Grand Crescent.
To coincide with our 98th birthday, the Board of Trustees set the April 15, 1977 weekend as the date for Bro. Jamieson to receive highest honor. According to Trustee Chairman Barry Yeates, “the turn out for this get together was approximately 60 Brothers and was comprised of a good mixture of both active and alumni members. Unfortunately, only two brothers were in attendance from the U.S. GB #1, Jim Fermoile and Trustee member Kevin Stockdale….“.
The 1977 covention was held at the Holiday Inn West in the capital city, Richmond, Virginia, over the July 29, 30, 31 weekend. The IBC was the host as had been the unfortunate rule over the past years. This convention, one of the most orderly in quite a number of years, was also quite profitable. Bro. Sowchuck was able to obtain a $600 profit after paying a very minimal damages bill. Brotherhood soared with many Can-Am parties and business was accomplished correctly and promptly. Six charters would be lifted at this convention. Alpha Eta, our oldest active charter, and Gamma Omicron, one of our youngest charters; thus GDP was no longer active in NY state. Gamma Epsilon of Matoaca and the new Gamma Pi of Richmond also had their charters revoked. Two Canadian chapters, Alpha Chi of Oakville, and Beta Sigma of Toronto would also lose their charters. Both charters had a great part in our history since our expansion into Canada and their loss would widen the gap between St. Catharines Chapters and Rexdale Chapters.
Bro. Sowchuck was re-elected to a third consecutive term, done only previously by GB’s Stewart, Fermoile, and Guthrie. Bro. Johhnstone was re-elected to a record breaking third term as NVP, and Chuck Howerton of Beta Tau was elected as SVP. Our eleven active chapters were: BA, B, , , , , , , , . Gamma Psi continued to operate its Beta Chapter at Richard Bland College.
Fraternal Year 1977-78 was a very poor year for an organization just a year from Centennial. Corespondence was close to non-existant with Gamma Alpha and Gamma Theta being the only exceptions. Rallies were poorly attended and there was little enthusiasum. The problem in the South was even greater with a total lack of cooperation or leadership from Bros. Howerton. Gamma Delta of Rexdale did create light at the end of the tunnel by having a very successful bike-a-thon from Toronto to Montreal, over 340 miles.
The convention was held in Toronto in late July. Only one active Southern chapter was in attendance. Even the Southern VP didn’t show up! At times during meetings, there were more IBC and Trustee members present that active members. Bro. Sowchuck was re-elected as President, Bro. Tim Poe of Gamma Theta as Southern VP and Bro. Warren Rudel of Beta Xi as Northern VP.
GAMMA DELTA PSI entered the 1980’s on a high spirited wave of Brotherhood, determined with illustrious plans for organizational expansion and widespread membership growth. Riding on the curtails of a prosperous Centennial Year of 1979, year-long celebrations inevitably gave way to the changing of the guard. Cast from within the ranks of the IBC, delegates at Convention 1980 elected the Fraternity’s first American born International President in more than two decades, Brother Kenneth R. Martin (Gamma Theta).
The Fraternity’s Roll of Active Chapters remained stable at seven. The Crescent consisted of the following chapters:
- BETA ALPHA (Hopewell High School – Hopewell, Virginia)
- BETA XI (St. Catharines Collegiate – St. Catharines, Ontario)
- BETA PI (Colonial Heights High School – Colonial Heights, Virginia)
- GAMMA ALPHA (Thistletown Collegiate Institute – Rexdale, Ontario)
- GAMMA DELTA (West Humber Collegiate Institute – Rexdale, Ontario)
- GAMMA ETA (Laura Secord High School – St. Catharines, Ontario)
- GAMMA THETA (Petersburg High School – Petersburg, Virginia)
- GAMMA XI (Fort Erie Secondary School – Fort Erie, Ontario)
Our one-hundred and first year witnessed Gamma Delta Psi’s return to the romance of Fraternity, as long forgotten traditions were renewed and neophyte customs established. This was a time when Fraternity was boastfully proud of its International designation, as most high school fraternities throughout North America previously enjoying that appellation had long succumbed to maintaining merely national status.
The IBC inherited a sound foundation from which to further build and expand upon the successes of previous Administrations. The Scott Crosby (Gamma Alpha) and the preceding Don Sowchuck (Beta Xi) lead campaigns of the late and mid-1970’s, bequeathed a fundamentally competent organization into the hands of an anxious corps of youth-oriented and equally enthusiastic IBC Officers. The Fraternity was relatively stable financially with a strong and ever growing Trust Fund, while maintaining adequate liquid assets in the International coffers.
The Fraternal Year of 1981-1982 was a pivotal turning point for the governing body of Gamma Delta Psi as Brother Martin resigned from the office of International President citing personal indifference’s. He was succeeded for the remainder of the term by the Southern Vice-President, Brother Drew Arthur (Beta Pi). The year climaxed with Convention ’82 being held at the Howard Johnson’s – St. Catharines, Ontario. Most notable among Convention registrants was a surprisingly formidable constituency of Southern Brothers from Virginia.
The early-Eighties was a period in History for Gamma Delta Psi which engendered a new species of Brothers. Many a young Fraternity Men experienced and relished themselves in the comforting and accepting melting pot of our International keystone. Chapters as a whole traveled often and Brothers from both sides of the border, gained invaluable exchanges and nurtured unbreakable Bonds of Brotherhood.
The newly elected International President was Brother Michael Kuch (Gamma Alpha) and he was supported by an experienced cast including two re-elected Vice-Presidents, Brother Angus McIlraith (Gamma Alpha) for the North and in the South, Brother Drew Arthur (Beta Pi). The first edition of our monthly newsletter THE GRIP was published in December 1982 after an absence of some twenty-two months. The new Administration quickly established themselves as a comprehensive and hard working governing body planning an array of Fraternity events for the ensuing year.
On November 13, 1982, the IBC in collaboration with Gamma Alpha Chapter, sponsored a Brotherhood Stag in Rexdale, Ontario. The event was widely attended with an excellent showing of Brothers from Gamma Xi Chapter. A month later, the IBC co-hosted with Beta Xi Chapter a Christmas Semi-Formal Dance in St. Catharines on December 11, 1982. A net profit of $600 was realized on a gross of nearly $1500. The social was made possible with the monetary resources of the Board of Trustees, Beta Xi Chapter, Gamma Alpha Chapter and IBC Officers. Nearly one-hundred and seventy patrons attended the dance where liquor sold for only $1.25 a shot. Exactly $100 was lost in a non-refundable security deposit to the banquet hall as the result of a brief melee between a small group of surly attendants. On December 14th, Brother Greg Campbell (Beta Xi) resigned from his post of Secretary-Treasurer on the IBC.
The second consecutive edition of THE GRIP was distributed in January 1983 to Chapters and Alumni members with a total production cost of only $18.32. The first INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENCE WEEK was staged and promoted by the IBC during January 10-16, 1983. The self described purpose of this event was simply to promote the ideals and benefits of Fraternity correspondence from within its members.
In the February 1983 edition of THE GRIP, Brother Brett Crook (Gamma Alpha) was appointed new Secretary-Treasurer of the IBC. The Fraternity’s trophies were cleaned and restored with funds made available through the IBC’s general account.
On March 13, 1983, a Northern Rally was held under the auspices of the IBC in Rexdale, Ontario. THE GRIP’S March 1983 edition was highlighted by two noteworthy announcements. Brother Kevin M. Stockdale (Gamma Nu) was voted by the Board of Trustees into the Order of The Grand Crescent, Gamma Delta Psi’s highest Honor to be bestowed upon a Brother. And, introduced for the first time on the pages of our monthly newsletter was BROTHER A.J. BREWSKI, Fraternal Investigator – Gamma’s own serial comic strip.
On April 16, 1983, Gamma Delta Psi inducted as the seventh member into the Order of The Grand Crescent, Grand Brother Kevin Stockdale in a Ritual & Stag at the Holiday Inn, Richmond, Virginia. THE GRIP was published for the fifth consecutive month in April. A Northern Reception was hosted by the Board of Trustees in Rexdale, Ontario for Grand Brother Stockdale on May 14, 1983. A gold Fraternity Pin sold for $53 (US).
THE GRIP continued to be published with the May 1983 edition being the sixth publication of the year. Correspondence to the newsletter and office of the President was strong, most notably amongst interested and supportive Alumni.
The IBC announced the donation of a new award to the considerable collection of stellar hardware already within the Fraternity’s inventory of trophies, with the KEVIN M. STOCKDALE EXPANSION AWARD. Named on behalf of the Fraternity’s youngest and most recent inductee into the Order of the Grand Crescent, the new citation was to be bestowed upon the Brother showing the most initiative towards the expansion of Gamma Delta Psi.
Convention 1983 was held at the Ramada Inn, Petersburg, Virginia on the weekend of July 29-31. Brother Michael Kuch was given a vote of confidence to serve the second year of his two-year term as President. Brother Shawn Stewart (Gamma Alpha) was elected as Northern Vice-President but served only a few weeks and resigned citing personal differences with the President. Brother Drew Arthur returned as Southern Vice-President for his third term.
Embarking upon the Fraternal Year of 1983-1984, the IBC set forth a plan that would further unify the Bonds of International Brotherhood and pay homage to a nearly forgotten tradition of Gamma Delta Psi. With the combined efforts of a strengthened Board, an objective was established to publish our annual yearbook the GARNET & SILVER within the next eighteen months.
The Board was hampered by an off year. The Fraternity had lost one of its Canadian Chapters in Gamma Delta. The Chapter’s Charter was revoked at the past convention on the premise that the host school of West Humber CI did not have any active members enrolled their for two years and without hopes of returning any. An October issue of our newsletter was published, giving notice of a November 6th date for a Northern Rally.
The 1984 Convention held great promise for the Brotherhood of Gamma Delta Psi. The Fraternity oldest known living Brother, Malcolm S. Dixon (Chi) flew to Virginia from California to attend our annual Convention. Later that year, Brother Shux would celebrate his 80th Birthday. Brother Tim Poe (Gamma Theta) was elected as Southern Vice-President and Brother Doug Johnson (Beta Xi) elected to serve as the Northern Vice-President. The IBC had augmented it’s corps of officers with the appointing of six District Deputies serving the Canadian and American Chapters. The office of Secretary-Treasurer was split in three posts: Northern Secretary; Southern Secretary and Treasurer.
The Second Annual INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENCE WEEK was promoted through the pages of THE GRIP and staged for September 10-16, 1984. Preliminary work on the Garnet & Silver commenced in the autumn with the formation of an executive publishing committee consisting of President Michael Kuch with fellow IBC officers Stephen Moore (Gamma Alpha) and Bill Michelin (Gamma Eta) serving in the capacity of Co-Editors.
A festive Southern Brunswick Stew was held by the IBC in November under the guidance and tutelage of Brother Barry Poe (Gamma Theta). The quintessential formal function of the decade was staged at the Jordan Point Country Club in December. The Gamma Delta Psi Southern Christmas Dance & Reunion played host to over one-hundred Alumni Brothers and dates in Hopewell, Virginia. Live music was provided by The Grandeurs and the IBC still managed to show a hard earned profit of $200. The event was solely attributed to the diligence and fortitude of the entire Poe family, and especially Mrs. Carla Poe. The evening was highlighted by an enormous Crescent formed in the parking lot with an estimated gathering of eighty to one-hundred Brothers passing the Grip under the stars.
THE GRIP continued with successful publications distributed in January, February and April of 1985. Our annual publication the GARNET & SILVER became a reality in April with Gamma Delta Psi first year book in over a decade. The IBC celebrated with a much anticipated excursion to Nags Head, North Carolina for a long weekend at a rented beach cottage.