MS-087: Phi Sigma Kappa, Rho Deuteron Chapter

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MS-087:  Phi Sigma Kappa, Rho Deuteron Chapter

Inclusive Dates: 1900-1993

Processed by Howard A. Hamme      

June 22, 2007

Link to Finding Aid - Adobe PDF 


Given to the Gettysburg College Special Collections / Archive from the PSK fraternity in 1993


Agency History         

The roots of the Rho Deuteron chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa can be traced to 1897 when eight young men formed a local fraternity at Gettysburg College.  The young men, WJ Gies, SW Herman, WH Sprenkle, CH Tilp, EW Meisenhelder, RW Woods, WHB Carney and GF Abel, called this new group the Druids, and they dedicated themselves to what was ‘good and fine’ for the college and for the community.  The Druids met in various locations on and off campus until 1910 when they purchased a house of their own.  Later, in1924, they bought the house of Edward “Eddie” Plank, the Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher.  This house, located on Carlisle Street, is still the living place of this fraternity. 


The Druids began as a selective group, accepting only the most outstanding students on campus.  Many Druids would go on to study at the Lutheran Seminary, also located in Gettysburg.  Many would eventually go into the ministry. 


In 1906 the first edition of the Oak Leaf was published.  This was a booklet sent to Druid Alumni introducing the active ‘grove’ and keeping everyone in contact.  Often times this was a tool to solicit needed funds, or a medium through which debate took place.


As Gettysburg College grew, the number of fraternities on the small Gettysburg campus grew as well.  The Druids felt that in order to survive, they had two choices: join an already established national fraternity or create a new national fraternity.  Either way the Druids were no longer to be a local club.  In 1920 the Druids petitioned Phi Sigma Kappa for membership.  This first petition met with opposition from both alumni and the national chapter and was ultimately denied.  The Druids would then go on to petition a different fraternity, Theta Chi.  Theta Chi made the decision that Gettysburg did not exhibit the growth potential they were seeking: they were looking to expand in the west and in larger universities.  In their estimation, Gettysburg was saturated with social clubs and a shortage of good men would be the result.  The Druids were asked to withdrawal their application, which they did.  Finally, in 1925 the Druids petitioned and were granted a charter with Phi Sigma Kappa.  The Druids were able to show a much more united front for this second attempt.  The Druids were now the Rho Deuteron Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa.   Active and graduated Druids were inducted in a grand ceremony the days of March 12, 13, and 14.


Scope and Content

Included in this collection: correspondence spanning the 20th century, organizational materials, training manuals from the national office, copies of the Oak Leaf, copies of the Signet (alumni magazine), minutes and correspondence from the Parents’ Club, Mothers’ Club, IFC Council, and other committees.  Many dates are missing, but there is a strong representation of items concerning the period of transition of the Druids becoming PSK.


This is a good collection of both the fraternity and a history of Gettysburg college and also a wealth of information on some its more successful graduates.  Also included is the SW Herman ’99 collection.  This is a collection of various documents from one of the founding members of the Druids.  Herman went on to distinguish himself by becoming the Grand Chaplin of the National PSK fraternity.  This was donated by his son, SW Herman ’30, also a Gettysburg alum and PSK brother. 


Series Description

The collection is broken down into 8 series. 

Series 1: The Druids- correspondence, minutes, organizational docs

Series 2: PSK- correspondence, minutes, manuals, training materials,

Financial records

Series 3: Alumni Association-

Series 4: Parents’ Club-

Series 5: Miscellaneous Clubs- Mothers’ Club, IFC, Faculty Minutes

Series 6: The Oak Leaf- Alumni magazine-

                        Issues: Month and Year:  12/09, 4/10, 11/11, 3/13, 6/13 2/14, 5/14(2), 11/15, 2/16, 6/16, 11/16, 5/17, 3/18, 4/19, 2/21(2), Xmas issue 1922, 6/23, 12/23, 5/24, 6/25, 1/26,1927, 11/27, 5/28(2), 12/28, 5/29(2),12/29, 5/30(2), 4/31, 5/1932(anniversary), 12/1932(2), 12/1933, 5/1934,12/1934, 5/1935, 12/1935(3), 5/1936(4), 12/1936(2), 5/1937, 3/1938, 3/1939(3), 3/1940(2), May supplement, 3/1941(2), 1942, 2/1943, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1950(2), 1950 paste-up copy, 1951(3), 1953(3), 1954, 1955, 1956(2), 1957(3), 1958(3), Report 1960, 1959, 1960, 1961, 7/1963(2), 1992(3),1993

Series 7: The Signet

   Issues: Month and Year, Year ranges indicate bound books: 9/1920, 10/1930, 5/1935, 10/1935, 5/1956, 11/1956, 3/1957, 5/1957, 1/1958, 3/1958, 1/1959, 9/1960, 9/1961, Summer 1969, 1924-1925, 1926-1927, 1928-1929, 1937-1938, 1939-1940, 1943-1944, 1945-1946, 1949-1950, 1951-1952

Series 8: Druid Box- Metal box with ‘Oak Leaf” and ‘Druid’ painted on the side

Link to Finding Aid - Adobe PDF