History of

Delta Delta Delta:

Sarah Ida Shaw

   The inspirational force behind the founding of Tri Delta was Sarah Ida Shaw. Born in Missouri, Sally (her childhood name) moved to Boston at age six. There she was part of a large but close-knit family. A brilliant student, she was valedictorian of her class at the Girls' Latin School, and originally planned to attend Wellesley College. Her mother's serious illness coupled with her father's absence forced a change in plans and she enrolled in Boston University to which she commuted by horse-drawn car from her home in Roxbury.

   Sarah was one of the best students in the class of 1889 at Boston University, and her academic excellence was recognized by Phi Beta Kappa. All three of the women's societies (sororities) on campus had invited her to join, but she declined their invitations due to her family responsibilities and active personal life, as well as a preconceived notion that secret societies were foolish. However, she came to realize that a fraternity could fill a great need for young women living away from home and their network of family and friends. This realization led her to start a fraternity - but one which would be different from the type she had seen.

   After her graduation, Sarah taught classical languages and German until her marriage in 1896. She continued her involvement with Tri Delta, serving as Grand President from 1889-1893; Grand Commissioner of Education from 1893-1897; and Grand historian from 1897-1900. She attended Conventions when possible and wrote articles for The Trident.

   In 1907, Ida Shaw Martin (she dropped the Sarah after her marriage) published and successfully marketed the first of 11 editions of The Sorority Handbook. The book contained advice on the organization and operation of fraternities, and this began her 30-year career as a professional Greek consultant.

   Ida Shaw Martin maintained close contact with Tri Delta's leaders and her Fraternity until her death in 1940. Her vision and idealism never wavered. Tri Delta owes to her the beauty of the rituals and the knowledge that commitment to an ideal greater than ourselves can bring a new dimension into our lives. She was elected to the Fraternity Hall of Fame in 1976.


Text from www.tridelta.org


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