History of

Delta Delta Delta


The Founders of Tri Delta



Boston University, 1888

"Let us found a society that shall be kind alike to all and think more of a girl's inner self and character than of her personal appearance."

    Sarah Ida Shaw and Eleanor Dorcus Pond began Tri Delta with these high ideals that perpetuate through our present sisterhood.   In addition to lofty ideals, these women created the rituals, emblems, and guiding principles in our constitution.   Although there were already three women's groups represented at Boston University in 1888, they saw a need for a group which would be different from the others. The choosing of the name was a joint decision. Eleanor suggested a triple letter and Sarah chose the delta. Sarah also tied in the Greek mottos and passwords to create intertwined significance.  Inspiration for these came from a variety of sources: Egyptian lore, Hindu mysticism, Greek and astronomy, reflecting their wide and various interests.  Never before had a sorority been founded so completely and with such depth of meaning from the very beginning. On Tuesday November 27, 1888, at the top of the college steps, the two girls embraced each other and Tri Delta was founded.

    Two other women joined in the dream. Florence Isabelle Stewart, a high school friend of Eleanor's, and Isabel Morgan Breed became the third and forth founding members. And thus the dawn of the Alpha Chapter was formed. At the completion of its first year in existence, the chapter membership totaled 21 women. The appearance of a new sorority startled the other "society people," who probably had expected a weakling organization. At 12 Somerset Street on Beacon Hill, Delta Delta Delta was not only created but was developed and expanded by the wise, successful and strong leadership of its two founders, as well as the early members of the Alpha Chapter.

    Since then, Tri Delta has had a number of firsts. It was the first women's fraternity to be founded as a national organization with complete plans for governmental structure and expansion, as well as the first to plan an alumnae system and establish a central office. It was the first to publish a book-length history (A Detailed Record of Delta Delta Delta, 1888-1907), produce a regular quarterly magazine (The Trident), and have an online social networking tool (InCircle). Furthermore, Tri Delta was the first women's fraternity to hold a national Leadership Conference.

   At the 1974 Convention, Tri Delta decided to focus its philanthropic efforts on Children's Cancer Charities. In 1999, Tri Delta formed a national partnership with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and St. Jude's became Tri Delta's national philanthropy, although individual chapters additionally support local Children's Cancer Charities. Tri Delta has raised over $3.5 million for St. Jude's to date and the month of March has been designated St. Jude/Tri-Delta Month.

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