Summary Information

Repository
George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011
Title
Phi Beta Kappa, 1825-
ID
4.78
Date
1825-
Extent
1.5 linear feet.
Language
English

Preferred Citation

Phi Beta Kappa, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine


Biogrpahical/Historical Note

The Alpha of Maine (Bowdoin College) chapter of Phi Beta Kappa received its charter on October 25, 1824, the sixth charter granted a college or university since the fraternity's establishment in 1776 at William and Mary. The first annual meeting of the fraternity was held on September 8, 1925. Forty members from different Alphas elected twenty-four members to the new Bowdoin chapter. These new members were selected from those who had graduated between the college's first class (1806) and the preceeding class of 1925.

Membership criteria was based upon "unanimous vote of all members present" and recognized the "talents, acquirements, character, and disposition of the candidate." Unique to Bowdoin's chapter was the provision that "no undergraduate shall become a member of this society." This radical departure from other chapters' election rules was largely due to the existence of two other literary societies--Peucinian and Athenaean--on campus prior to the establishment of the Alpha of Maine chapter. This restriction continued until 1897. Currently, the faculty nominates candidates to Phi Beta Kappa and the percentage of membership for any class is restricted.

A membership book is part of the collection and contains most of the member's signatures, including Henry W. Longfellow (1825). Two members whose signatures do not appear are Franklin Pierce (1824) and Nathaniel Hawthorne (1825). Both were both elected in 1842 and neither had much interest in the fraternity.

For more information on the history of Phi Beta Kappa and the Alpha of Maine chapter, see History of Phi Beta Kappa.


Scope and Content

This collection contains catalogues and membership lists, an index of members, meeting records (minutes), addresses to the members, and a signature book of members.


Administrative Information

Publication Information

 George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library, Brunswick, Maine 04011

3000 College Station
Brunswick, Maine, 04011
(207) 725-3288
scaref@bowdoin.edu

Access Restrictions

Some restrictions apply.


General Note

"Register v.2," and oak voting box are on deposit; property of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine.


Collection Inventory

Volume
1

Catalogue of the Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine, Bowdoin College, 1908 (copy one) 

2

Catalogue of the Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine, Bowdoin College, 1908 (copy two) 

3

Records of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Alpha of Maine (Bowdoin College), 1825-1915 

4

Records of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Alpha of Maine (Bowdoin College), 1825-1949 

5

Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine (Bowdoin College), Register, n.d. 

6

"Register, v.2" - outside use limited to officers of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine 

Box Folder
1 1

Ware's Discourse, 1827 (two copies) 

1 2

Present State of Polite Learning in England and America, 1834 (three copies) 

1 3

Ingersoll's Address, 1837 (two copies) 

1 4

Mr. Bradford's Address, 1841 (three copies) 

1 5

Dr. Dwight's Address, 1849 (two copies) 

1 6

A Discourse (William B. Sprague, D.D.), 1850 

1 7

1970, lecture by Gordon L. Weil 

1 8

Catalogue of the Fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine; Bowdoin College, 1834 (two copies) 

1 9

Catalogue of the Fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine; Bowdoin College, 1842 

1 10

Catalogue of the Fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 1849 (three copies) 

1 11

Catalogue of the Fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 1860 (two copies) 

1 12

Catalogue of the Fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine; Bowdoin College, Brunswick, 1888 (three copies) 

1 13

Catalogue of the Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine, Bowdoin College, 1908 

2 1

Phi Beta Kappa, Souvenir, 1776-1910, (1911) 

2 2

Phi Beta Kappa Key, January, 1915 

 

Box Folder
2 3

Index to Phi Beta Kappa, 1934 

2 4

Membership List, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine, June 1944 

2 5

Membership List, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine, June 1946 

2 6

Printed ephemera 

2 7

Correspondence 

2 8

Posters 

ARealia-Box
15

Oak voting box with marble tokens - outside use limited to officers of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Maine 

7

Phi Beta Kappa pin [25].