ua801.003
University Archives
Collection ID: ua801.003

Psi Gamma Sorority and Alumnae Association, Inc. Records, 1898-1997

Collection description

Summary

Creator:
Psi Gamma Sorority and Alumnae Association
Abstract:
Psi Gamma was founded in 1898 at the New York State Normal College for Teachers and the Alumnae Association in 1922. The sorority split in 1991 over whether to abandon local status or become a chapter of a national sorority.
Extent:
12.66 cubic ft.
Language:
English and English
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Psi Gamma Sorority and Alumnae Association, Inc. Records, 1898-1997. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).

Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access:

Access to this record group is unrestricted.

Terms Of Use:

The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.

Background

Scope and Content:

Psi Gamma Sorority Records (1898-1995).

This sub-group contains correspondence, minutes, reports, scrapbooks, photographs, constitutions, by-laws, video and audio cassettes, newspaper articles, membership lists, financial records, and ephemera of the Psi Gamma Sorority. Although the records date from 1898 through 1997, the bulk of the records were created between 1940 and 1995.

Records produced during routine administrative activities include the Psi Gamma Sorority meeting minutes (1955-1994), president's notes (1974-1983), the alumnae secretary reports (1968-1977), the annual reports (1992-1993), and the budget files (1972-1976, 1993-1994), all located in the Subject Files Series. Records that establish guidelines for the governing of the sorority include the constitutions (1965-199?), the executive board handbook (1988-1989), and the Panhellenic Association rules and regulations (1988-1994), all located in the Subject Files Series.

Records relating to sorority sponsored social events can be found in the rush ceremony files (1955-1993), and the anniversary celebration files (1968-1988), all located in the Subject Files Series. Numerous photographs, newspaper articles, and other ephemera commemorating sorority activities are located in the Psi Gamma Scrapbook Collection Series (1898-1995). The Psi Gamma Sorority Ephemera Series (1943-1993) consists of items used in sorority activities such as pledge paddles, banners, clothing, sorority family trees, and tableware. Finally, the names, comments, and addresses of sorority members who attended events such as open houses, conflict parties, and anniversaries are located in the Psi Gamma Sorority Guest Books Series (1948-1991).

Information about sorority membership is located in the membership lists (1933-1994) and the pledge lists (1963-1994), both in the Subject Files Series, the Composite Photographs Series (1951-1952, 1968-1995), and the Psi Gamma Sorority Guest Books Series (1948-1991). Images of sorority members are found in the Annual Scrapbooks (1952-1991), the Anniversary Scrapbooks (1898-1995) and the Sorority Member Scrapbooks (1930-1972), all sub-series of the Scrapbook Series. A tape recorded interview with Grace Maguire Swanner (1993) is located in the Subject Files Series.

Evidence of Psi Gamma Sorority's financial activities is located in the Psi Gamma Sorority Financial Records Series (1927-1991). Psi Gamma budget information is located in the budget files (1972-1976, 1993-1994), meeting minutes files (1955-1994) and the president's notes (1974-1983). Finally, fund-raising activities (1971-1982) are documented in the Subject Files Series.

Of particular note in this sub-group are the Greek workshops files (1963) that contain records documenting the controversy surrounding the Greek organization's move from an independently owned house to the dorm rooms on the main campus.

Psi Gamma Alumnae Association Records (1922-1997).

This sub group contains correspondence, minutes, newsletters, constitutions, membership lists, officer lists, surveys and questionnaires, certificates of incorporation, tax forms, bank statements, of the Psi Gamma Alumnae Association and copies of records created by the Pis Gamma Beta Chapter in Stony Brook, NY. Although the records date from 1922 though 1997, the bulk of the records were created between 1981 and 1995.

Records documenting routine administrative activities are located in the executive board meeting minutes (1922-1956) and the annual meeting minutes (1981-1995), both located in the Subject Files Series. The alumnae newsletters files (1952-1997) of the Subject Files Series also provide brief updates of the association's administrative activities. Documents establishing guidelines for the governance of the association include the constitution file (1924-1993) of the Subject Files Series and the exempt organization certificate (1994) of the Financial Records Series. Other records documenting the financial administration of the association are located in the monthly bank statements (1987-1990), and savings certificate passbook (1988-1995) in the Financial Records Series.

Information about the addresses, numbers, and activities of alumnae members is located in the alumnae newsletters files (1952-1997), membership lists (1922-1983), in the video recording of the 1994 annual meeting, all located in the Subject Files Series, and in the History Survey Series Questionnaires (1993-1994). The History Survey Series also provides detailed information about the education, honors, activities, interests, and recollections of former sorority members in the questionnaire responses files (1993-1994). The names of the first alumnae members from the Beta Chapter are located in the alumnae lists (1992-1995) of the Beta Chapter Files. Further information about alumnae can be found in the Anniversary Scrapbooks Sub-Series (1898-1995) and in the anniversary files (1963-1988) of the Psi Gamma Sorority Records Subject Files Series.

Records documenting the creation, administration, and activities sponsored by the Psi Gamma Sorority Beta Chapter are located in the executive board minutes (1991-1992), general meeting minutes (1992-1994), the president's report (1993-1994), and in the correspondence files (1991-1994) of the Psi Gamma Alumnae Association Beta Chapter Files. Further information about the Beta Chapter's creation and activities is located in the alumnae newsletters (1991-1997) in the Alumnae Association's Subject Files. Several Beta Chapter Alumnae also appear in the video cassette of the 1994 annual meeting.

Biographical / Historical:

On February 15, 1898, Edith Stoneman, Gertrude Hall, and nine other students of the New York State College for Teachers organized the Psi Gamma Sorority. L. Elizabeth Reed became the first president of the sorority and Margaret Mooney of the New York State College English Department became its first sponsor. In 1906 the sorority rented an apartment and soon thereafter moved into a house on Clinton Street where it held its regular meetings for several years ["Psi Gamma Sorority Brochure 1898-1988", p. 6, Anniversary - 90th, Psi Gamma Sorority Subject Files].

On April 29, 1922, twenty-two faculty, alumnae, and active sorority members founded the Alumnae Association ["Minutes of the Alumnae Association of Psi Gamma Sorority", p. 2, Minutes - Annual Meeting and Executive Meeting, Psi Gamma Alumnae Association Subject Files]. Two years later, on February 2, 1924, 16 members of the Alumnae Association signed a Certificate of Incorporation after the motion was made, seconded, and carried during the association's regular meeting ["Minutes", p. 22]. Later that year the association purchased the Lochner house at 1104 Madison Avenue for the active sorority. Three years later the alumnae association sold the Lochner House and purchased the J. Harris Loucks House at 113 South Lake Avenue, where the sorority was housed until 1959 ["Minutes", p. 57-59].

In 1963, the University at Albany, under the leadership of President Even R. Collins, required each Greek organization to sell its house and move into the new residence halls on the main campus ["Memo To Faculty and Students", May 22, 1963, Greek Workshops Folder 1, Psi Gamma Sorority Subject Files]. In spite of widespread student discontent over this new policy, Psi Gamma Sorority moved to Van Rensselaer Hall in 1965 ["Minutes, February 15 1965", Minutes-Regular Meeting 1964-1965, Psi Gamma Sorority Subject Files].

Enrollment in national Greek organizations began to increase in 1976 when the SUNY University Board of Trustees revoked its ban against national fraternities and sororities. In 1991 Psi Gamma held a vote in order to determine whether or not the sorority would also seek a national sponsor. Only one-third of the active members voted to continue Psi Gamma's tradition as a local chapter. The other members separated to form a new chapter of the national Alpha Xi Delta Sorority [Alumnae Newsletter, February 1992, p.2, Alumnae Newsletters 1981-1997, Alumnae Association Subject Files].

In 1991 a group of students at Stony Brook, SUNY, approached the Psi Gamma Sorority seeking admission as a sister sorority. Psi Gamma recognized the new group as the Psi Gamma Sorority Beta Chapter even though such an event was without precedent. The Alumnae Association believed that only it had the right to recognize branch sororities, though it also recognized that changes in its Constitution and Articles of Incorporation were necessary in order to do so ["Alumnae Newsletter, February 1992", p. 2]. In 1993, the association amended these documents and officially adopted the Psi Gamma Sorority at Stony Brook as the Beta Chapter; a sister sorority to the Alpha Chapter in Albany [Alumnae Newsletter, Spring 1994, p. 1, Alumnae Newsletters 1981-1997, Alumnae Association Subject Files].

Acquisition information:

The bulk of these records (1898-1997) were transferred to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by the Psi Gamma Alumnae Association Inc., in 1997. The records and ephemera had been housed by Mary Anne Lanni of the Alumnae Association since 1987.

Processing information:

Processed in 1997 by Jared Parker (October 20, 1997), revised (June 14, 2000).

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Restrictions:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
Terms of Access:
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
Preferred citation:
Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Psi Gamma Sorority and Alumnae Association, Inc. Records, 1898-1997. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).