June 10, 2016
Recently I traveled to Virginia on a quest to capture and preserve some of Kappa Delta’s history. One of the stops was Farmville, Virginia, the place where the sorority was founded.
I had never been to Farmville, the home of Longwood University. Longwood is full of tradition and history—and as Kappa Delta’s archivist I was on cloud nine.
As we toured campus, we walked the same paths taken by our founders and early members. I saw the Vermont marble bench given to the university in honor of our founders and the beautiful rotunda where all four sororities founded at Longwood are honored.
I stayed in the Longwood Bed & Breakfast, which for many years was the home of the university president. It was the president’s home in 1912 when our Alpha Chapter selflessly returned its charter to national Kappa Delta so the sorority could become a member of the National Panhellenic Congress (now Conference).
From 1912 until 1937, the Alpha trunk, which held early records, treasurer books, Ritual and other items from our Alpha Chapter, stayed in the attic of the president’s home. Dr. Jarman, found the Alpha trunk in the attic in 1937 when the house was under renovation. He graciously returned the trunk to national Kappa Delta during convention that year. The attic has since been turned into an apartment rented by a professor of Longwood. Unfortunately, there was no tiptoeing around the attic on this trip!
In addition to gathering videography and photography on the trip, we also acquired new items to add to our archives. We spent an afternoon in the library looking through everything the Longwood archivist had pulled from the shelves about early Kappa Delta. I was able to peruse yearbooks, scrapbooks and programs. Because the school had an abundance of some early yearbooks, the archivist gave us several from the pre-1912 time period to take back to the Kappa Delta national archives. These books have photos of early members who made some of the most important decisions for the sorority, ones that still hold true today.
In the 1905 and 1906 yearbooks, the early, incomplete crest is printed. By 1908 the more complete crest is embossed. In 1900, the sorority flower was listed in the yearbook as the Marguerite Daisy. Between 1902 and 1904, members voted to change the sorority’s flower to the white rose.
It is gratifying to add these yearbooks and photos of early members to the KD archives. We have stories of activities from the early years of Kappa Delta and now we have photos to go along with them. When we look at the yearbooks, we are reminded of all the fun our early leaders had on the very ground we walked on. It was an exhilarating trip. Memories made – check!