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Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Chapter Records


Held at: Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College [Contact Us]500 College Avenue, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania 19081

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Phi Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa was established at Swarthmore College in 1906, created from the merger of two local fraternities, Omega Alpha (founded 1902-03) and The Algonquin Club (1905). In 1956, the Chapter was the first at Swarthmore to pledge an African American student. While there were no restrictions in the national's constitution, this bid was contrary to the unwritten "gentleman's agreement" which promoted discrimination and the correspondence reflects the opposition from many chapters.

In the 1980s, the Chapter began to have mounting financial problems, and in 1991, the College abolished the fraternity because of its debt on its lodge. The College prohibited fraternities on campus without a house.

The collection includes correspondence, 1956-1957, concerning the Chapter's pledging of an African student, the first at the College, other correspondence mostly concerning the mounting debt, and agreements and leases.

Friends Historical Library of Swarthmore College
Finding Aid Author
Finding Aid Prepared by FHL staff
Finding Aid Date
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research. One week delay on accessing recordings; some items may be in obsolete formats

Use Restrictions

Copyright has not been assigned to Friends Historical Library All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in to the Director. Permission for publication is given on behalf Friends Historical Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by reader.

Collection Inventory

Agreements and Leases, 1921-1991.
Scope and Contents

Includes sketch of original layout, now Sharpless #3

Physical Description

1 folder

Correspondence and miscellaneous, 1957-1993.
Scope and Contents

Mostly financial concerns about overdue bills. Members were working on campus to pay off debt, but the Chapter was not financially stable. College recommended laying it down and in 1993 absorbed the debt.

Physical Description

1 folder

Correspondence, 1956-1957.
Scope and Contents

Reaction to pledge of an African American student. Gift of Robert J. Robinson, 1982.

Physical Description

1 folder

Phi Sig and Swarthmore, 1960.
Scope and Contents

Booklet produced by Swarthmore College Dean's Office

Physical Description

1 folder

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