1882: A Time for Expansion

Beta Chapter (Michigan) charter members, 1882.

Beta Chapter (Michigan) charter members, 1882.

At the beginning of 1882, Alpha Chapter had 59 collegiate and alumnae members, many of whom felt it was time for expansion. Kate Gardner (Syracuse, 1883) took the initiative of inquiring to a friend at the University of Michigan as to whether there might be girls there who would be suitable for forming another Gamma Phi Beta chapter. The friend sent her a list of six girls and Kate and Ella French (Syracuse, 1877) left for Ann Arbor to meet them and determine their suitability.

All went well and, anticipating Beta Chapter’s (Michigan) Initiation, Alpha Chapter (Syracuse) made some revisions to the Constitution that would ensure the orderliness of this and future expansion. One provision declared, “Each chapter shall take its name from the letters of the Greek alphabet in their regular order,” while another called for conventions to be “held with the chapters in the order of their founding.”

Charter member Jennie Emerson Miller's (Michigan, 1881) badge with opals and a white enamel crescent.

Charter member Jennie Emerson Miller’s (Michigan, 1881) badge with opals and a white enamel crescent.

On June 7, 1882, Kate Gardner and Ella French of Alpha Chapter (Syracuse) were present for the installation of Beta Chapter at the University of Michigan. The charter members were Isadore Thompson (Scott), Jane Emerson (Miller), Delia Rood (Dott), Jessica Thompson (Washburn) and Elizabeth Cornell (Stebbins).

Pictured above: Beta Chapter (Michigan) charter members and early initiates.