Delta Sigma Lambda
ΔΣΛ
The pin of Delta Sigma Lambda.png
FoundedSeptember 9, 1921; 100 years ago (1921-09-09)
Lawrence, Kansas
TypeSocial
AffiliationNIC (Jr. member, former)
EmphasisOrder of DeMolay
ScopeNational (US)
Colors  Blue and   Gold
FlowerTrillium
Chapters12 at merger
Merged withTheta Chi (1937), and scattered

Delta Sigma Lambda (ΔΣΛ) was a social fraternity founded on September 9, 1921, formed entirely of members of the Order of DeMolay. It continued for about fifteen years, numbering 12 chapters in its rolls, with several closing in the early years of the Great Depression. Delta Sigma Lambda's remaining chapters either disbanded or were absorbed by other fraternities by 1937.

History

The origin of Delta Sigma Lambda can be traced to the spontaneous rise of a number of local collegiate organizations based on the principles of the Order of DeMolay, a Masonic organization for boys, during 1921–1924. On December 23, 1924 six of these fraternities met in Lawrence, Kansas to consider the formation of a National fraternity based on these principles.[1]

Those represented were:

Other chapters were invited to attend, but were unable. By December 25, the consolidation was finalized, taking the name and founding date from Delta Sigma Lambda, the oldest group.

In 1927 Delta Sigma Lambda would become a junior member of the National Interfraternity Conference.[1][2]

Expansion

Delta Sigma Lambda would eventually install twelve chapters, two by way of merger with a small national fraternity, but most by adoption of local chapters around the United States. This process halted by 1931.

The crest of Theta Alpha fraternity, which merged into Delta Sigma Lambda in 1933.
The crest of Theta Alpha fraternity, which merged into Delta Sigma Lambda in 1933.

Theta Alpha merger

The reduction of student enrollment and tightened budgets during the depths of the Great Depression hit all fraternities hard. In September 1933, a smaller, regional fraternity named Theta Alpha, founded on February 22, 1909, merged into Delta Sigma Lambda. Earlier that year three of Theta Alpha's five chapters had gone dormant. The surviving chapters at Syracuse and Cornell accepted a merger, with Syracuse being the stronger organization of the two. By the time of the merger, Theta Alpha had initiated 585 members. Theta Alpha fraternity published a periodical called Theta Alpha.[2][1]: VIII-25 

Later that year the Grand Council of the Order of DeMolay recognized Delta Sigma Lambda as "the national college Fraternity for DeMolays", but Baird's 20th notes that this "may have easily proved a handicap".[1]

Chapters of Theta Alpha

The chapter list of Theta Alpha at the time of the 1933 merger were as follows. Chapters listed in bold merged; chapters that were dormant by that time are in italics.[1]: VIII-25 [2]

Name Chartered Institution Location Status Notes Reference
Alpha February 22, 19091933 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY Merged Became the Alpha Theta chapter of ΔΣΛ [3]
Beta 19151933 Cornell University Ithaca, NY Merged Became the Lambda chapter of ΔΣΛ [4]
Gamma 19221933 University of Illinois Urbana, IL Dormant [5]
Delta 19251933 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA Dormant [5]
Epsilon 19251933 University of California Berkeley, CA Dormant [6]

Contraction continues

This infusion was not enough to save the Fraternity, grappling with the depths of the Great Depression. Over the next four years, by 1937, many of the chapters had died. Theta Chi in 1937 agreed to absorb the chapters at Purdue University and the University of Montana, and later, the University of Arizona, along with fraternity alumni. Scattered alumni and some of Delta Sigma Lambda's chapters either withdrew to join other national fraternities or went local.[1]

Symbols

Badge: Jeweled Shield containing the letters ΔΣΛ at the top, a star and crescent in the center and below, the Greek letters ΘΑ.

The Fraternity flower was the Trillium. The Fraternity's colors were Blue and Gold.[7]

Chapter List

The chapter list of Delta Sigma Lambda at the time of the 1937 merger with ΘΧ was as follows. Chapters are listed in the order in which they were installed. Chapters listed in bold either merged or withdrew; chapters that were dormant by that time are in italics. Half of the surviving chapters joined Theta Chi, three others either immediately or with a local stop, went to other national fraternities.[2]

Name Chartered Institution Location Status Notes Reference
Alpha 19211932 University of California Berkeley, CA Dormant [8]
Gamma 19221935 University of Nevada, Reno Reno, NV Dormant [9]
Beta 19241935 University of Kansas Lawrence, KS Dormant [10]
Zeta 19241937 Purdue University West Lafayette, IN Merged Joined Alpha Delta chapter of ΘΧ [11]
Epsilon 19251936 University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE Withdrew Joined Lambda Nu chapter of ΦΓΔ [12]
Eta 19251937 University of Illinois Urbana, IL Dormant [13]
Theta 1927March 27, 1937 University of Montana Missoula, MT Merged Became Beta Epsilon chapter of ΘΧ [14]
Delta 19301941 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ Merged Became Beta Iota chapter of ΘΧ [15]
Iota 19311935 Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburgh, PA Dormant [16]
Kappa 19311936 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY Withdrew Became Epsilon-Eta chapter of ΛΧΑ [17]
Alpha Theta 19331936 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY Withdrew Became Theta Alpha (local). Later,
became Iota-Zeta chapter of ΤΚΕ
[18]
Lambda 19331936 Cornell University Ithaca, NY Dormant [19]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. p. VIII-8. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  2. ^ a b c d William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive)". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 28 November 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  3. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1909 as a local called Theta Alpha. It created four additional chapters before the merger with ΔΣΛ. When ΔΣΛ failed, the Syracuse chapter reverted to local status, naming itself Pi Alpha Chi. In 1947 it again took the name Theta Alpha, and in 1963 became Iota-Zeta chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon.
  4. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1914 as Omicron Sigma Omicron (local). It became the Beta chapter of ΘΑ in 1915. In 1933 it became the Lambda chapter ΔΣΛ.
  5. ^ a b This chapter went dormant prior to the merger.
  6. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1919 as Al Ikhwan (local). It went dormant prior to the merger.
  7. ^ As noted in the 1925 Purdue Debris yearbook, p.374, accessed 28 November 2021. These were the same colors and flowers as Purdue's former local, the Star and Crescent, which may have been adopted by the small national or may reflect a local option.
  8. ^ This chapter had its origin as the Alpha chapter of ΔΣΛ, formed in 1921.
  9. ^ This chapter had its origin as the Alpha chapter of ΔΣΛ, formed in 1922.
  10. ^ This chapter had its origin as the Scimiter Club, formed in 1923.
  11. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1922 as the Star and Crescent Club (local). In 1937 it merged with the existing Alpha Delta chapter of Theta Chi.
  12. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1924 as Delta Lambda (local). In 1937 it merged with the existing Lambda Nu chapter of Phi Gamma Delta.
  13. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1923 as Delta Kappa (local).
  14. ^ This group had its origin in 1924 as the Templar Club (local). Became the Beta Epsilon chapter of Theta Chi on March 27, 1937.
  15. ^ This group had its origin in 1912 as the Square & Compass Club (local). Became the Beta Iota chapter of Theta Chi in 1941.
  16. ^ This group had its origin in 1930 as Phi Delta Tau (local).
  17. ^ This group had its origin in 1924 as the DeMolay Club, in 1928 naming itself Delta Mu (local). Became the Epsilon-Eta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha in 1937.
  18. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1909 as the Alpha chapter of Theta Alpha. That small national merged into ΔΣΛ in 1933, but by 1937 upon the demise of its new national, the Syracuse chapter reverted to local status, naming itself Pi Alpha Chi. In 1947 it again took the name Theta Alpha, and in 1963 became Iota-Zeta chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon.
  19. ^ This chapter had its origin in 1914 as Omicron Sigma Omicron (local). It became the Beta chapter of ΘΑ in 1915.