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Guide to the Omicron Delta Kappa, Rho Circle Chapter (Duke University) records, 1926-1971

Abstract

Contains the records of the Rho Circle chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa, established at Duke University in 1926.

Types of materials include bylaws, certificates of membership, correspondence, financial records, history, manuals, membership lists, minutes, newsletters, reports, programs, and photographs. Major topics include governance of a leadership fraternity, member selection, honor societies at Duke University, Duke-Navy relations during World War II, leadership, and Omicron Delta Kappa. Materials are present from 1926 to 1971, however the bulk of materials are from 1926 to 1963.

Descriptive Summary

Repository
University Archives, Duke University
Creator
Omicron Delta Kappa. Rho Circle Chapter (Duke University).
Title
Omicron Delta Kappa, Rho Circle Chapter (Duke University) records 1926-1971
Language of Material
English
Extent
4.25 Linear Feet, 4250 Items
Location
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.

Collection Overview

These records were produced by Omicron Delta Kappa in the course of their activities as a campus leadership honor society from 1926 to 1971. The bulk of the material consists of correspondence, information on membership elections, minutes, and information on national and provincial conventions. Physical types of materials include by-laws, certificates of membership, correspondence, financial records, history, initiation ritual, manuals, membership lists and cards, membership selection point system, minutes, newsletters, reports both from the Rho Circle and from national and provincial conventions, programs, and photographs.

Administrative Information

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

The History and Membership folder contains pages that originally were bound together as a book, dating from 1926-1933. Financial records show the income and expenditures, although some of this information is also contained in the minutes. The folder titled "Point System," which details the system by which students earned recognition by the society, although there is some indication in the minutes that the student body in general was not aware of this system of points. Unclaimed certificates are membership certificates never collected by members for various reasons, and show what the certificates looked like over the years.

History and Membership, 1926-1933
Box 1
Bylaws, 1931, 1962, undated
Box 1
Initiation rituals, undated
Box 1
Point system, 1932, undated
Box 1
Financial records, 1931-1950
Box 1
Certificates (unclaimed), 1933-1955
Box 1
Report of the Rho Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa, 1933-1959, undated
Box 1

Correspondence is divided into three sections: general chapter correspondence, the banquet of 1950, and that of faculty and Rho Circle chapter member Frank C. Brown. The correspondence addresses general chapter business, chapter development, and the initiation banquet of 1950.

1930-1935
Box 1
1936-1938
Box 1
1939-1940
Box 1
1941-1945
Box 1
1946-1950
Box 1
1951-1953
Box 1
1954-1955
Box 1
1956-1959
Box 1
1960-1963
Box 1
1964
Box 1
1965-1971, undated
Box 2
Banquet, 1950
Box 2
Office of Frank C. Brown, 1926-1933
Box 2
Office of Frank C. Brown, 1934-1939, undated
Box 2
Office of Frank C. Brown, 1934-1939, undated, photographs
Box 2

Contains letters of invitation to membership, responses, and general member lists.

Membership elections, 1932
Box 2
Membership elections, 1933
Box 2
Membership elections, 1934
Box 2
Membership elections, 1935
Box 2
Membership elections, 1936
Box 2
Membership elections, 1937
Box 2
Membership elections, 1938
Box 2
Membership elections, 1939
Box 2
Membership elections, 1940
Box 2
Membership elections, 1941
Box 2
Membership elections, 1942
Box 2
Membership elections, 1943
Box 2
Membership elections, 1944-1946
Box 2
Membership elections, 1947
Box 2
Membership elections, 1948
Box 2
Membership elections, 1949
Box 2
Membership elections, 1950
Box 2
Membership elections, 1951-1955
Box 2
Membership elections, 1956-1961
Box 2
Membership elections, 1962-1968
Box 2
Membership elections, honorary, 1932-1934
Box 2
Membership elections, honorary, 1955-1963
Box 2
Membership elections, honorary recommendations, 1952
Box 2
Membership lists, 1945-1962, undated
Box 2
Membership updates for "The Circle", 1938
Box 2

The minutes detail the interests and activities of members from about 1931 to 1963. The minutes from 1930-1931 are contained in the "History and Membership" folder in Series 1. Some topics covered in the minutes are fraternity rushing, social standards, school spirit, membership elections, national and provincial business, student government activities, honor system and cheating, politics on campus, the Beta Omega Sigma sophomore honor society, Duke-Navy relations during World War II, and campus activities and events. The material related to Duke-Navy student relations is located throughout the 1942-1945 minutes. The January 10, 1942 minutes contain an itemized fraternity plan of wartime economy. The 1942 minutes contain a proposed constitution for an inter-honorary fraternity council.

1931-1938
Box 2
1938-1942
Box 2
1942-1946
Box 2
1946-1955
Box 2
1961-1963
Box 2

Contains information on conventions such as announcements, programs, and reports are contained in the "National and Provincial Conventions" folders.

Notes and minutes, 1950-1954, undated
Box 2
Notes and minutes, 1930-1949
Box 2
Notes and minutes, 1947, 1949
Box 2
Invitations and programs, 1930-1961
Box 2
Convention at Duke University, 1933
Box 2

Contains printed materials produced by the Rho Circle chapter and Omicron Delta Kappa headquarters.

Newsletter, "The Circle", 1927-1970
Box 2
Newsletter of the General Council of Omicron Delta Kappa, 1955-1961, undated
Box 2
Omicron Delta Kappa manuals, 1947, 1968-1970
Box 2

Historical Note

Omicron Delta Kappa was founded at Washington and Lee University in 1914 as a campus leadership honor society. It soon expanded to other colleges and the Rho Circle chapter was established at Duke University in 1926. Omicron Delta Kappa admitted juniors and seniors as well as faculty members and honorary members both alumni and non-alumni on the basis of character, scholarship, distinguished achievement, and consecration to a great purpose. The five categories of campus life that were emphasized were scholarship, athletics, social and religious activities, publications, and the arts. Election to membership was considered one of the top honors that could be conferred at Duke University. The focus of the Rho Circle chapter was service to the university and community through the cooperation of all campus leaders. The first president of the Rho Circle chapter was Marshall I. Pickens, later head of the Duke Endowment.

The Rho Circle chapter maintained a good relationship with other national officers through correspondence of well-connected faculty and administrators, such as Frank C. Brown. Omicron Delta Kappa became inactive in the late 1960s or early 1970s as a result of general student opposition to the "elitism" of special leadership distinctions. There were also disputes within the national organization about scholarship standards and the fraternity's refusal to admit women. Although correspondence continued between William J. Griffith, the longtime secretary of the Duke University chapter, and the national officers, the society has never been reactivated at Duke.

Subject Headings

Related Material

  • Photograph Collection (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • Interfraternity Council Records. (University Archives, Duke University.)
  • William J. Griffith III papers (University Archives, Duke University.)

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Omicron Delta Kappa, Rho Circle Chapter (Duke University) Records, Duke University Archives, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Provenance

The Omicron Delta Kappa, Rho Circle chapter records were received by the University Archives as a transfer in 1974, 1991, 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah A. Nerney , 1999

Updated by Emily Glenn, January 2003

Encoded by Sherrie Bowser, January 2008

Accessions A74-79, A91-69, A97-73 were merged into one collection, 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.