On March 25, 1917, seven young Jewish women who exemplified self-confidence and the willingness to take a chance, founded a new sorority at Cornell University. The name chosen, Sigma Delta Phi, was soon changed to Sigma Delta Tau when the women discovered the letters belonged to another Greek organization. Most of the seven had experienced the subtle, but very real, discrimination practiced against religious minorities by many Greek organizations at the time.
In response to the closed doors, and as a way to meet their own social and housing needs, these young women established a sorority which would respect the individuality of its members. The personal growth and social development of each individual was the basis upon which the new organization would be built.
On June 16, 1917, the seven founders and their Ritualist were welcomed by Cornell administrators and faculty and representatives of the seven National sororities on campus—Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Kappa Delta—as their guests of honor at the Installation Banquet of Alpha Chapter of Sigma Delta Tau. Pledges Frances Bayard and Frances Brock also were present for the banquet.
The Beta Beta chapter of Sigma Delta Tau at Michigan State University was founded on November 1, 1964. Each day since then the sisters of the Beta Beta chapter work to uphold the values and ideas that Sigma Delta Tau was founded on by creating an inclusive environment for all members.
On March 25th of each year we celebrate the founding of Sigma Delta Tau and remember the brave leadership that each of our founders had.
Dora Bloom Turteltaub
Amy Apfel Tishman
Marian Gerber Greenberg
Grace Srenco Grossman
Inez Dane Ross
Regine Freund Cohane
Lenore Blanche Rubinow
Through Dora Bloom, the services of an idealist and poet were sought to write a ritual worthy of the philosophy of Sigma Delta Tau. Nathan Caleb House, “Brother Nat,” was such a person and he wrote the ritual keeping in mind the personalities of the seven young women. After leaving Cornell, Brother Nat was “lost.” In a chance look through the New York City phone book, Nat was “found” and brought as a surprise to the 1958 National Convention. From that time until his death, Brother Nat attended almost every Biennial Convention and maintained correspondence and visits with many alumnae and collegiate chapters. Brother Nat was the only man to wear the Sigma Delta Tau gold Torch pin.
Sigma Delta Tau