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Old 02-20-2008, 02:58 PM
oldu oldu is offline
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Ida Shaw Martin

Ida Shaw martin is probably the most instrumental person ever in the development of the sorority system. I don't know if much has been written about her on this forum but Xidelt asked me to do some research and report.

First she edited a publication "The Sorority Handbook" which was a Baird's Manual type edition strictly about sororities. The first was published in 1905 and a total of eleven were published, the last being 1931. They are very very rare, and expensive if you are lucky enough to find one. I have the 6th, 8th & 9th editions in my library.

Because she edited the publication she quickly came somone who others sought for advice, especially local groups seeking national affiliation. Sometime during the 1920s she became more official and organized The Sorority Service Bureau. During this period she was instrumental in founding Pi Lambda Sigma (absorbed by Theta Phi Alpha in 1952), Theta Upsilon (absorbed by Delta Zeta in 1962), and Theta Sigma Upsilon (absorbed by Alpha Gamma Delta in 1959) all in 1921; Lambda Omega (absorbed by Theta Upsilon in 1933) in 1923; and Pi Delta Theta (absorbed by Delta Sigma Epsilon in 1941) in 1925.

Zeta Tau Alpha gives her credit in helping them achieve NPC status and aiding in founding their first northern chapters. She claims to have been instrumental in changing the name of Alpha Delta Phi to Alpha Delta Pi. She was also elected national president of Alpha Sigma Alpha during their early years (and edited their magazine).

The most recent history of Delta Delta Delta devoted several pages to this fascinating woman. It seems to me that NPC should be doing more to immortalize this amazing sorority pioneer.
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Old 02-20-2008, 03:16 PM
LegallyBrunette LegallyBrunette is offline
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I never knew about her Pi Lambda Sigma connection! Admittedly, I don't know too much about Pi Lambda Sigma at all, aside from the very basic facts about Theta Phi's absorbtion Were they ever a member of NPC?

She sounds like quite a lady.

Keep all the great info coming, oldu, fascinating stuff.
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:29 PM
LaneSig LaneSig is offline
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Didn't Mrs. Martin also try to get Delta Zeta and Zeta Tau Alpha to merge? I think I remember reading that somewhere. The merger failed because neither group wanted to give up their letters or symbols?
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Old 02-20-2008, 04:39 PM
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NutBrnHair NutBrnHair is offline
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Hey! Oldu? Where's the Mary Love Collins thread??!??
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Old 02-21-2008, 07:15 PM
Xidelt Xidelt is offline
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Thank you for the information! I really love all of this info on Greek history...just bought a history book of Pi Kappa Sigma off of Ebay. And I happened to capture a copy of The Sorority Handbook for $16 off of Ebay last year.
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Old 03-04-2013, 10:46 AM
MysticCat MysticCat is offline
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Bumping to share that at this University of California Digital Library page, you can download (for free) Ida Shaw Martin's The Sorority Handbook (3rd ed. 1909) in pdf, epub, kindle and other formats. You can also get the google books version here (same UC archives copy).

It really is a fascinating read, especially when you see how many of the sororities had fewer than 1000 members total. I didn't keep count, but I think Pi Phi was the largest group at 5200 total members.

And I was interested to see a separate section on "Musical Sororities," which included discussion of Alpha Chi Omega (by then "Musical-Literary") and Mu Phi Epsilon, Sigma Alpha Iota and Phi Mu Epsilon (which merged with Mu Phi Epsilon). There is also a section on "Medical Sororities" (Alpha Epsilon Iota, Epsilon Tau and Zeta Phi).

But I think my favorite part was this description of the Phi Mu badge: "The badge is an oddly shaped shield of black enamel dispaying in the centre a hand holding a heart."

Now if I could only find digital versions of Emily Butterfield's College Fraternity Heraldry.

Last edited by MysticCat; 03-04-2013 at 12:57 PM.
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Old 03-04-2013, 11:46 AM
badgeguy badgeguy is offline
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I have a copy of that publication. PM me and I can get you a copy.

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Old 03-04-2013, 12:09 PM
KillarneyRose KillarneyRose is offline
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Thank you so much, MysticCat! I downloaded it and am looking forward to reading through it.
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Old 03-04-2013, 07:08 PM
AGDee AGDee is offline
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That is incredible! Thanks for sharing MC! I downloaded it too and am trying to keep from reading it all right now.
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Old 03-11-2013, 04:59 PM
pas pas is offline
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How was she able to do all that?!

The sororities were also founded at different colleges...was she a professor or something? I am so confused and amazed by Ida Shaw Martin!
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Old 03-12-2013, 05:04 PM
nyapbp nyapbp is offline
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She was an amazing woman. Putting together a book like the Sorority Handbook was a very real chore back in the early 1900s. She corresponded with the groups themselves trying to find information. Her Sorority Service Bureau assisted Greek-letter organizations. I'm working on a post about her and hope to have it done soon.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:21 PM
DDDlady DDDlady is offline
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Edited because I apparently can't read time stamps today and replied to a 5 year old post.
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Last edited by DDDlady; 03-12-2013 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:30 PM
pas pas is offline
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I find it interesting that she also helped found several NPC organizations. I wonder if it ever became an issue that she was a sister of so many NPC's...
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:09 AM
mama3delta mama3delta is offline
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Sarah Ida Shaw Martin wasn't a member of all of those organizations, she just acted as consultant. She had the Sorority Service Bureau. She was privy to secret information in rituals b/c she wrote some of them. But she wasn't initiated into the other organizations, save MAYBE Alpha Sigma Alpha. She saved ASA and eventually became their president. However, it wouldn't be a big deal if she was DDD/ASA b/c ASA was not NPC- it was in the (what became known as ) the Association of Education Sororities (AES). There were many dual memberships btwn NPC and AES until AES dissolved and all members joined the NPC. Then ladies w/ dual memberships had to choose their affiliations.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:40 AM
dvs-dz dvs-dz is offline
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I believe I read something a long time ago that Ida Shaw Martin had once proposed a merger between Zeta Tau Alpha and Delta Zeta, since ZTA was strong in the south and DZ was strong in the north. Obviously this did not happen, but it is interesting to consider what a powerhouse sorority that would have created.
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