Preliminary Guide to the Phi Beta Kappa (WSU Chapter) Records

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Phi Beta Kappa. Washington Gamma. Washington State University.
Phi Beta Kappa (WSU Chapter) records
Date [inclusive]
circa 1969-1990
1.75 Linear feet 3 boxes.
Location Note
(MASC Staff Use: MS.1985.23: 2-7-17-3; MS.1986.50: 2-7-18-3; MS.1986.55: 2-7-17-3; MS.1988.19: 2-7-18-3; MS.1991.05: 2-7-18-3)
Materials are in English.

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Biographical/Historical note

Phi Beta Kappa began with a small gathering of students on December 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The aims of the then secret society were to promote friendship, morality, and learning among the students. Five of these original members decided on the design for the Phi Beta Kappa medal (or key) which has been retained to this day. In 1778 members opened the way to election of nonstudents to the Society, i.e. graduates and others known as alumni and honorary members. The "secret" side of the Society came to an end in 1831 when the Phi Beta Kappa branch at Harvard declared that this policy was unsuitable and abolished it. The attempt to establish a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at Washington State University (then State College of Washington) was begun on March 12, 1925, when the school was visited by the National Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa, Dr. Oscar M. Voorhees. Faculty members Fermen L. Pickett, Frederich D. Heald, and Olaf P. Jenkins arranged for a meeting between Voorhees and all local Phi Beta Kappa members. It was then that a goal for establishment of an official chapter by 1928 was set. The charter was granted by the National Council meeting at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, in September of 1928. The formal dedication of the Gamma Chapter of Washington State was held on April 6, 1929, and was presided over by Voorhees. The first officers elected were: President, Alfred A. Cleveland; Vice-President, Fermen L. Pickett; Secretary, Helen M. Richardson; and Treasurer, Mrs. William C. Kruegel. These four, plus Thomas M. Raysor and J. Horace Nunemaker, made up the original Executive Committee. Since that time, Phi Beta Kappa has grown along with Washington State University and continues to be one of the leading forces in promoting academic achievement on campus. (see Cage 446)

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Scope and Contents note

This collection contains records for Phi Beta Kappa (WSU Chapter), from 1969 to 1990. The collection consists of financial and business records including: expense reports, budgets, committee reports, and meeting minutes from 1975 to 1990; as well as papers pertaining to Phi Beta Kappa scholarships from 1969 to 1980, visiting scholars, student waivers, honorary memberships, Phi Beta Kappa constitution and by-laws, and correspondence with members from 1975 to 1979. The collection also contains Phi Beta Kappa news releases, banquet programs from 1970 to 1986, membership cards from 1976 to 1984, copies of the Phi Beta Kappa Bulletin from the 1980s, and delegate manuals for national meetings.

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Organization of Collection

This is an unprocessed collection. It includes multiple accessions received between 1985 and 1991: MS.1985.23, MS.1986.50, MS.1986.55, MS.1988.15, MS.1991.05. It has not yet been arranged.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610


This collection is open and available for research use.

Acquisition Information

Collection donated by Michael Neville and Frank Kottke to Washington State University Libraries in 1985, 1986, 1988, and 1991. This is an unprocessed collection.

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Related Materials

Related Materials

Phi Beta Kappa Records (Cage 446); Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma (Washington State University) Oral History (Cassette Tape Collection 19)

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Phi Beta Kappa. Washington Gamma. Washington State University.


  • College students -- Washington (State) -- History -- Sources

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