Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Boston Alumnae Chapter. Records of the Boston Alumnae
Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, 1942-1995: A Finding Aid
Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Location: Collection stored off site: researchers must request access 36 hours before use.
Call No.: MC 654
Repository: Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe
Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University
Creator: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Boston Alumnae Chapter
Title: Records of the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, 1942-1995
Quantity: 6.42 linear feet (7 file boxes, 2 folio boxes, 1 oversize box) plus 1 folio folder, 3 folio+ folders,
1 supersize folder, 5 photograph folders, 1 folio+ photo folder, 7 objects, electronic
Language of materials: Materials in English.
Abstract: Records of the Boston Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority include correspondence,
notes, reports, scrapbooks, photographs, and printed materials.
Accession numbers: 91-M205, 92-M145, 96-M91
The records of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Boston Alumnae Chapter were given to the Schlesinger Library by the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma
Theta Sorority from 1991 through 1996.
Processed: September 2010
By: Laura Peimer
Access. File #3.13, which contains interviews with sorors, is closed until January
1, 2067. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.
Copyright. Copyright in the records created by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Boston
Alumnae Chapter is held by the President and Fellows of Harvard College for the Schlesinger
Library. Copyright in other papers in the collection may be held by their authors,
or the authors' heirs or assigns.
Copying. Records may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures.
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Boston Alumnae Chapter Records, 1942-1995; item description,
dates. MC 654, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University,
Donor: Boston Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Accession numbers: 91-M205, 92-M145, 96-M91
Processed by: Laura Peimer
The following items have been removed from the collection and transferred to the Schlesinger
Library printed materials collection:
- Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Boston Alumnae Chapter Cookbook, 1990
- The Delta journals, 1943, 1946, 1949, 1954-1956, 1958-1961, 1967-1969, 1971-1973, 1975-1977
- Eastern Delta newsletter, 1955
- Delta newsletters, 1971-1973, 1992
On March 12, 1945, a group of young, college-educated African-American women who had
been members of Iota Chapter, a city-wide sorority in Boston, Massachusetts, founded
the Boston Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Established in 1921,
Iota Chapter was the first African-American sorority in the Boston area. The Eastern
Regional Director of Delta Sigma Theta, Marian Palmer Capps, chartered the Boston
Alumnae Chapter as Alpha Omicron Sigma. Edith Brown was the first chapter president.
By the 1950s, the chapter discontinued using Alpha Omicron Sigma and officially became
known as the Boston Alumnae Chapter.
Since its founding in 1913 on the campus of Howard University, the mission of Delta
Sigma Theta has been rooted in service within the African-American community. In 1925,
two members from the Iota Chapter started Jabberwock, an annual program of entertainment
for the public designed to raise funds for college scholarships. Other service programs
have included helping to organize the Fort Hill Mental Health Association to support
mental health awareness in the 1960s, providing resources for the establishment of
a community health center in the African-American community, initiating an annual
program for young teenagers on African-American history and culture in 1986, and active
involvement in civil rights and political action.
In 1990, the Boston Alumnae Chapter sold cookbooks of members' recipes to raise funds
for their public service work. The chapter continues to be active in 2010.
The collection is arranged in three series:
- Series I. General, 1942-1995 (#1.1-6.6, 2FB.1v, 4OB.1v, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.1, E.1)
- Series II. Printed materials, 1943-1995 (#6.7-9.6, F+D.3, SD.1)
- Series III. Photographs and memorabilia, 1956-1991, n.d. (#PD.2-PD.5, PD.6F+, 10FB.1m-10FB.7m)
The records of the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority include correspondence,
meeting notes, reports, scrapbooks, photographs, and printed materials. Included are
some records of the National Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Original folder
titles have been maintained and appear in quotation marks. Remaining titles were created
by the processor, who also added information in square brackets.
Series I, GENERAL, 1942-1995 (#1.1-6.6, 2FB.1v, 4OB.1v, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.1, E.1),
includes materials relating to regional and national chapter issues, as well as Boston
Alumnae Chapter activities. Included are correspondence, board and executive committee
meeting notes, flyers, mailing lists, financial information and reports (typescripts),
clippings, and scrapbooks. Of note is a 1943 Iota Chapter scrapbook with handwritten,
detailed biographies of members, accompanied by informal photographs. Following awards
and certificates (#1.1, F+D.1), files are arranged chronologically. The web site of
the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta is being captured periodically as
part of Harvard University Library's Web Archive Collection (WAX). See #E.1 for a
link to the web site.
Series II, PRINTED MATERIALS, 1943-1995 (#6.7-9.6, F+D.3, SD.1), contains printed
and published materials by the national Delta Sigma Theta, Boston and other regional
chapters, as well as outside organizations. Included are programs, proceedings, invitations,
directories, reports of the national president and treasurer, and other printed and
distributed materials for the national conventions. Also of note are invitations for
formals, events, and celebrations, such as Founders Day; Boston Alumnae Chapter programs
for Jabberwock; printed results of a 1959 study by the Yancey Commission, appointed
by the national Sorority, on "life characteristics, values and problems of Delta undergraduates";
and handbooks for new pledges, who were known as "pyramids." Files are arranged alphabetically.
Series III, PHOTOGRAPHS AND MEMORABILIA, 1956-1991, n.d. (#PD.2-PD.5, PD.6F+, 10FB.1m-10FB.7m),
includes photographs and various objects marked with the Delta Sigma Theta name or
letters. Photographs include group images of Delta Sigma Theta members at various
gatherings and events.
Most of the photographs in this collection are or will be cataloged in VIA, Harvard
University's Visual Information Access database. Others, referred to as "uncataloged"
photographs, are not of sufficient research interest to warrant cataloging and are
simply treated as part of the documents they accompany; they are marked on the back
with an asterisk in square brackets [*].
- Series I. GENERAL, 1942-1995 (#1.1-6.6, 2FB.1v, 4OB.1v, FD.1, F+D.1-F+D.2, PD.1, E.1)
- 1.1. Awards and certificates, 1953-1972, n.d.
- F+D.1. Awards and certificates: proclamation re: fiftieth anniversary, 1960
- 1.2. "1942-1945," includes applications by prospective members, executive committee meeting
- 1.3. "Music," 1947-1956, n.d. [sheet music and lyrics]
- 1.4. "1954-1956," includes proposed by-laws amendments, convention report
- FD.1. "Newsclipping," 1955; contains issue of The Boston Graphic newspaper with article on 25th Jabberwock program
- 1.5. "Press releases," 1957-1958
- 1.6. "1957-1959," includes program: "Service of Thanksgiving: In Celebration of the Burning
of the Mortgage for the House of Delta"
- 1.7. "Newsclippings," 1957-1967, n.d.
- 1.8. "Grand chapter correspondence," 1958-1959
- 1.9-1.10. "Meetings, 1958-1959," includes by-laws; clippings, announcement, program re: concert
pianist Philippa Schuyler; list of officers
- F+D.2. "Newsclippings," 1959, n.d.
- 1.11. "Mental health: Fort Hill chapter [Mental Health Association]," 1959-1969, n.d.; includes
two uncataloged photographs
- 3.1. "1960-1962," includes re: mental health program, founders' tribute
- 3.2. "Report on fashion show presented by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Boston Alumnae Chapter,
May 19, 1962," includes clippings, tickets, invitation
- 3.3. "Chapter notes, etc., 1963-1964"
- 3.4. "Delta convention, 1967," includes directory
- 3.5. "1967-1968," includes draft constitution and by-laws, article: "The Negro Community and the Development of Negro Potential," by Robert W. Smuts
- 3.6. "1969-1970," includes draft and approved by-laws
- 3.7. "1970-1971," includes annual report of project activities
- 3.8. "1971-1973," includes directory (1971-1972), Boston Alumnae Bulletin issues (November 1972 - May 1973)
- 3.9. "Music," 1971, 1973 [song lyrics from Houston Alumnae Chapter and Atlanta Alumnae
Chapter for national conventions]
- 4OB.1v. Scrapbook, ca.1974; includes uncataloged photographs
- 3.11. Clippings, 1979-1983
- 3.12. 1981-1985, includes business meeting minutes, financial reports, by-laws
- 3.15. Soror Doris W. Soares, 1987; includes information re: Soares winning $1,000 from Filene's
department store for the Boston Alumnae Chapter
- PD.1. Photograph of Doris W. Soares removed from #3.15.
- 5.1-5.4. 1988-1989: disassembled binder; includes correspondence, meeting agendas, notes, financial
and election information
- 5.5. Clippings, 1988-1991
- 5.6. "Come Home to Delta" [packet], 1989
- 5.7-6.3. 1989-1990: disassembled binder; includes executive board minutes, treasurer's report,
list of members (6 folders)
- 6.4. "Reclaiming Delta's Vision" [packet], 1990
- 6.5. 1991-1995; includes Delta Connection newsletter, October 1993
- 6.6. Music, 1993 [song lyrics for Boston Alumnae Chapter Founder's Day]
- Series II. PRINTED MATERIALS, 1943-1995 (#6.7-9.6, F+D.3, SD.1)
- 9.6. Brochures and various, 1954-1995, n.d., includes informational materials on programs
and history, Golden Anniversary Life Member booklet
- 6.7. Constitution and by-laws, 1956, 1969
- 6.8. Convention, 1952; contains program
- 6.9. Convention, 1954; includes banquet menu, fashion show program, convention program
and proceedings, convention workbook, directory
- 6.10. Convention, 1956; includes proceedings, various programs, convention workbook, The Torch newsletter, list of contributors
- 6.11. Convention, 1958; includes various programs, convention proceedings, treasurer's report,
proposed by-laws, convention workbook
- 7.1. Convention, 1963; includes invitation, convention program, convention workbook
- 7.2. Convention, 1967; includes programs, convention workbook, national president's report,
- 7.3. Convention, 1971; includes name tag; programs, national president's report, treasurer's
report, convention workbook
- 7.4. Convention, 1973; contains national president's report
- 7.5. Convention, 1977; contains program, treasurer's report
- 7.6. Convention, 1992; contains program, treasurer's report, souvenir journal
- 7.7. Corporate reports, 1992, 1994
- 7.8. Delegate, 1967 [publication with biographical material on African-American organizations and
- 7.9. The Delta Undergraduate: Her Activities, Her Values, Her Goals. Digest of A Study
by the Yancey Commission, 1963
- 7.10. Directories, 1989-1993
- 8.1. Eastern Regional Conference, 1974; contains program
- 8.2. Invitations and programs: various, 1957-1959
- 8.3. Invitations and programs: various, 1960-1963
- 8.4. Invitations and programs: various, 1970-1988; includes pyramid induction ceremony
and initiation ceremony programs
- 8.5. Invitations and programs: various, 1992-1996
- 8.6. Jabberwock programs, 1947-1949
- 8.7. Jabberwock program, 1950; includes program presented by Virginia Chapter
- 8.8. Jabberwock program, 1951
- 8.9. Jabberwock programs, 1952-1953; includes draft typescript (1952)
- 8.10. Jabberwock programs, 1954-1955; includes program presented by Virginia Chapter (1954)
- 8.11. Jabberwock programs, 1957, 1959-1960; includes draft typescript (1957); flyers (1959-1960)
- 8.12. Jabberwock program (Savannah Chapter), 1976
- 8.13. Jabberwock programs, 1991-1992
- 9.1. Jabberwock programs, 1993-1994
- 9.2. Official Code of Law and Procedure of Grand Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, 1943-1944
- 9.3. Other organizations, ca.1950-ca.1965; includes sorority jewelry brochures
- F+D.3. Poster: Crimson & Cream Ball, 1994
- SD.1. Poster: Field to Factory: Afro-American Migration 1915-1940, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, 1988 [Delta Sigma
Theta Sorority provided support for exhibition]
- 9.4. Public Service Activities of Delta Sigma Theta Candidates, 1975
- 9.5. Pyramid handbooks, 1952, n.d.
African American college graduates
African American women--Massachusetts
African American women--Societies and clubs
Congresses and conventions
Greek letter societies--United States
Women--Societies and clubs