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MC 654

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

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Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

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
Date(s): 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 records)
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.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

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.

Processing Information:

Processed: September 2010
By: Laura Peimer

Access Restrictions:

Access. File #3.13, which contains interviews with sorors, is closed until January 1, 2067. An appointment is necessary to use any audiovisual material.

Conditions Governing Use:

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.

Preferred Citation:

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Boston Alumnae Chapter Records, 1942-1995; item description, dates. MC 654, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

SEPARATION RECORD

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:

HISTORY

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.

ARRANGEMENT

The collection is arranged in three series:

SCOPE AND CONTENT

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 [*].

Container List

Additional Index Terms

African American college graduates
African American women--Massachusetts
African American women--Societies and clubs
Clubs--Massachusetts--Boston
Congresses and conventions
Electronic records
Greek letter societies--United States
Newsletters
Photographs
Programs
Reports
Scrapbooks
Voluntarism--Massachusetts
Web sites
Women--Societies and clubs

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