Guide to the Society of the 9019 records, 1892-1943


The Society of 9019, organized in February 1890 under the leadership of John Spencer Bassett, was an honorary scholarship fraternity. The society began at Trinity College and continued on at Duke University. Acceptance into the 9019 was based, in part, on an academic average of 90 or above. It was also conditioned upon a scholastic average of 2.25 quality points, making it similar to the male only Phi Beta Kappa society. The 9019 is credited with establishing the South Atlantic Quarterly, supporting scholarly activities among North Carolina high schools, and establishing student-faculty forums on a variety of timely subjects. The group disbanded in the early 1940s.

The 9019 records contain ritual and member lists, program and contest advertisements, ceremonial robes, founding documents, letters, photographs, memorabilia and other papers related to this honor society. The dates of the materials range from 1892-1944.

Descriptive Summary

University Archives, Duke University
Duke University. The Society of the 9019.
Society of the 9019 records 1892-1943
Language of Material
5.5 Linear Feet, 2500 Items
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

The 9019 records contain ritual and member lists, program and contest advertisements, ceremonial robes, founding documents, letters, photographs, memorabilia and other papers related to this honor society. Major subjects include: intellectual life; student societies; initiations and rites and ceremonies; oratory competitions, and the South Atlantic Quarterly. The dates of the materials range from 1892-1944.

Restrictions on Access & Use

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access Restrictions

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

In off-site storage; 48 hours advance notice is required for use.

warning Use Restrictions

Copyright for Official University records is held by Duke University; all other copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Contents of the Collection

Letters 1892-1910 (payments for various services)
Box 1
Letters 1911-1917 (letters of recommendation from high school administrators declamation contests)
Box 1
Letters 1922-1928
Box 1
Letters 1929-1936
Box 1
1930; Alumni; spring initiation, 40th year anniversary celebration planning; photographs
Box 1
Letters regarding the 9019 Interscholastic Declamation Contest 1910-1919
Box 1
Advertisements and official programs for various declamation contests from 1910-1929
Box 1
Articles of incorporation, constitution, and minutes Book – A bound notebook containing names and addresses of members (not a complete listing); certificates of initiation for the years 1939. Memorabilia
Box 1
1936 clipping (transferred from the W.H. Pegram Papers to the 9019 Collection). The folder is labeled: “Clipping, 1936) – There is a photo of and caption about the charter members of the 9019.
Box 2
Contains a 1939 certificate of initiation in the 9019 (there are others in box 1)
Box 2
Book – Minutes 1919-1934
Box 2
Loose papers – Origin of the name 9019; John Spencer Bassett (founder) memorial charter; declamation contest papers.
Box 2
Eugene S. Edwards papers on the 9019. 1892-1904.
Box 2
Printed materials, flyers, etc.
Box 2
The 9019 and the South Atlantic Quarterly
Box 2
Various literary writings (fragile); probably subject matter for declamation contests and discussion amongst the members.
Box 2
The Pearl Speaker, a source-book for orations.
Box 3
Minute book 1916-1918.
Box 3
Treasurer’s records bound together by rope; two notebooks and one folder with 9019 financial records.
Box 3
The membership list is arranged by graduating class on a stack of index cards.
Box 4
Folders containing printed membership lists
Box 4
Folders containing printed ritual procedures
Box 4
A ceremonial initiation ritual notebook
Box 4
Contains ceremonial robes
Box 5
Contains ceremonial robes
Box 6

Historical Note

The Society of the 9019 was the first honor society at Trinity College. In February of 1890, John Spencer Bassett founded the Society of the 9019 and became its first president. Bassett’s desire to arouse the intellectual and literary interests of students and to stimulate interest in the history of the South inspired him to create the 9019. The 9019 recognized the outstanding students of the college, encouraged its members to promote scholarship on campus and in the community, and fostered a "true college spirit." The origin of the name is a representation of a) the 90 percent average required for admittance and b) the number of original members. As a precursor to Phi Beta Kappa, the 9019 provided a unique opportunity for recognition and involvement in campus activities. Notable contributions include the creation of the South Atlantic Quarterly and supporting scholarly activities among North Carolina high schools via annual declamation contests. The 9019 continued operation throughout the transformation to Duke University, but competing fraternities and World War II brought an end to the organization.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • University Archives Photograph Collection, 1861-2006 (University Archives. Duke University.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Society of the 9019 Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.


The Society of the 9019 records were received by the University Archives as a transfer from Mrs Mattie Erma E. Parker in 1978.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives Staff, September 2006

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, June 2007

Accession 78-38 is described in this finding aid.

Descriptive sources and standards used to create this inventory: DACS, EAD, NCEAD guidelines, and our local Style Guide.

This finding aid is NCEAD compliant.