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Phi Beta Kappa (Gamma of CO Chapter) Records

Identifier: U397


This collection contains the records of the Gamma of Colorado chapter of Phi Beta Kappa at University of Denver, founded in 1940 and still existing today. Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest national honor society in the United States and is very selectiv,e with chapters at only 10% of US higher-ed institutions. Membership is limited to the top 10% of arts and sciences undergraduates at each institution with very high GPAs, usually a 3.8 out of 4.0. Members are generally invited to join in their senior year. Collection includes


  • 1902-2004


Biographical / Historical

Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary as the first collegiate Greek-letter fraternity. Originally the fraternity was more social in nature but later distinguished itself as an an honor society as other social fraternities began to emerge.

By 1883, there were 25 chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. The first women were elected to the Society at the University of Vermont in 1875, and the first African-American member, George Washington Henderson, was elected at the same institution two years later. By 1920, 89 chapters existed at a variety of higher-ed institutions.

The University of Denver chapter, Gamma of Colorado, was founded in 1940 after an extensive eligibility process beginning with an application in 1930.


3.5 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

Collection contains extensive documentation of the application and elgibility process for forming a chapter in the 1930s in Box 1. Box 1 also contains the charter, by-laws and amendements, meeting minutes, correspondence and materials from the chapter treasurer. Box 2 contains a handbook (1948), memberhip lists through 1996, initiation event materials, details on the Triennial Council Meeting (1991), publicity materials, the Western Key newsletter from 1990-92, and a small file of memorabilia. Box 3 contains a scrapbook from the founding secretary of the Colorado Gamma chapter at University of Denver, mostly with press clippings, correspondence and some memorabilia.


Multiple series in Box 1 and 2 in keeping with consistent series in new Greek Organizations. Retained arrangement in boxes from previous processing to keep file numbers. If more materials are accrued, will expand to multiple boxes.

Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

2150 East Evans Avenue
Denver CO 80208
(303) 871-3428