St. Anthony Hall is an American fraternity and literary society. Its 11 active chapters go by different names on different campuses, including Saint Anthony Hall, The Order of St. Anthony, the Fraternity of Delta Psi (ΔΨ), St. A's, the Hall and the Number Six Club. Its first chapter (Alpha) was founded at Columbia University on January 17, 1847, the feast day of St. Anthony.
As of 2016, nearly all chapters of St. Anthony Hall have gone co-ed; only three (University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, and Ole Miss) remain all-male. At both the University of North Carolina (1967) and Ole Miss, St. Anthony Hall was the first campus fraternity to admit African-American members, in 1967 at the University of North Carolina. The chapter at Yale University was, in 1961, the first chapter of the fraternity as well as the first society on campus to admit a person of color (from Trinidad and Tobago), and would later also be the first to admit women, in 1971.
In 1847, after the fraternity's Alpha chapter was founded at Columbia University, a Beta chapter at New York University was formed; in 1853, the two had united. By 1879, Columbia College's Record listed the NYU founders alongside its own students.
The currently chartered chapters of St. Anthony Hall are:
Many of St. Anthony Hall's chapter houses are referred to colloquially as "The Hall" or "St. A's", although at MIT, the society is known as "The Number Six Club" in reference to that chapter's original residence at No. 6 Louisburg Square in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood. According to its national website, St. Anthony Hall originally began in 1847 as a "fraternity dedicated to the love of education and the well-being of its members."
Chapters were then founded throughout the Northeast, and extended into the South during the mid-19th century. During the Civil War, however, formal contact ended between Northern and Southern chapters, though contact was restored between remaining and refounded chapters after the War.
The fraternity's history states that "many members wore their badges into battle, serving with distinction on both sides, and were often reunited in both pleasant and antagonistic situations throughout the war".
See the Baird's Manual excerpt below for a near-contemporary account of the disposition of the chapters following the Civil War.
Archive photo of Civil War officer killed at Gettysburg, who signed his portrait "Yours in Delta Psi".
Because their patron is often depicted with a Tau Cross, the symbol has been used to embellish the architecture of some St. A's chapter houses.
Yale began admitting women in 1969 and St. A's became the earliest Yale society to accept women as members that same year. St. A's occupies a unique status at Yale. It resembles a "senior society" (see List of Yale University student organizations) in that its senior members are precluded from joining another senior society; however, it is unique in that it is a three-year society, admitting members during their sophomore year. Some other Yale societies would later also transition to co-ed membership, such as Skull and Bones in 1992. (See also secret society.)
It thus had a two-year advantage over the purely senior societies in admitting female members. The Yale chapter's action also accomplished, albeit not without friction, co-education as a permitted status within the national fraternity. Charlie Scott, a member of St. A's at the University of North Carolina became the first person of color to pledge any fraternity at that campus, in 1967.
Student St. A's members at various chapters pursue their literary mandate through different programs. The Columbia, University of North Carolina, and Brown University chapters have published poetry journals. Also at the University of North Carolina, the chapter hosts events open to the community such as "Poetry, Prose and Pancakes." The Brown University chapter publishes a literary and visual arts magazine, also available online, called "The Sketchbook."
The Trinity College chapter endows a St. Anthony Professorship in Art History, several annual prizes for Trinity students, and an annual public lecture, named for Martin W. Clement (Class of 1901).
The majority of St. Anthony Hall chapters still own the Victorian, Gilded Age, Art Deco, and Beaux Arts chapter houses some of its socially prominent members commissioned from well-known 19th century and early 20th century architects. One of the buildings, at Yale, (its third on that campus), when donated by Frederick William Vanderbilt in 1913, was described by the New York Times as "the most expensive and elaborate secret society building in the United States". In accordance with the respective traditions of each chapter, St. A's is now self-described and referred to on different campuses as a fraternity (or co-ed fraternity), a literary society, a secret society, or a private club.
St. Anthony Hall buildings
Architectural credit may be shared for the Columbia University chapter prior to 1899, still standing at 29 E. 28th Street, New York. Either the Firm of James Renwick, Jr., and attributable to the master architect's hand—or at least supervision—or specifically, William Hamilton Russell (1856–1907), an architect in the firm (and great-nephew of Renwick) and then-recent graduate of St. Anthony Hall. Old photographs show a high stoop arrangement with the figure of an owl on the peaked roof and a plaque with the Greek letters Delta Psi over the windowless chapter room. In 1879 The New York Tribune called it French Renaissance, but the stumpy pilasters and blocky detailing suggest the Neo-Grec style then near the end of its popularity. At the turn of the 20th century, when the building became a club for graduate members of the fraternity and a new undergraduate house was built at 115th Street, a newspaper account described the 28th Street house as "a perfect Bijou of tasteful decoration". Upon graduation in 1887, Russell became a protégé of his great uncle, James Renwick, Jr., the same year Renwick completed his best-known work, St. Patrick's Cathedral (NYC). It is likely that Russell contributed work to his fraternity's first chapter house during his apprenticeship. Another article in the New York Times (1987) asserts that Russell was actually responsible (while in Renwick's firm) for the building. Another of Renwick's protégés, Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue, was architect of the Wolf's Head tomb at Yale. Russell later was Partner in his own firm Clinton & Russell, founded in 1894.
Henry Hornbostel, William Palmer (a St. A's member), and Eric Fisher Wood, firm of Wood, Palmer and Hornbostel. (Columbia University chapter since 1899, late 19th/20th century revivals. In 1996 building #96000484 was added to the National Register of Historic Places as "Delta Psi, Alpha chapter").
Described and pictured in George E. Nitzsche's 1918 book,University of Pennsylvania: Its History, Traditions, Buildings and Memorials: Also a Brief Guide to Philadelphia (International Printing Company, 1918)
J.P. Fuller (Former chapter house of M.I.T. chapter prior to 20th century, designed 1826; built 1834–37, Greek Revival, within historic Louisburg Square.) Cited and pictured on the Boston College website.
J. Cleaveland Cady. (Trinity College chapter, 1878) Commissioned by member Robert Habersham Coleman, the iron baron, rusticated Richardsonian Romanesque. Cady was also a Trinity chapter St. Anthony Hall member. He erected several buildings at Yale (see Non-hall below). At a cost of $40,000, it was considered at the time to be one of the most expensive fraternity chapter houses in America. Added in 1985 to the National Register of Historic Places, building #85001017 as "Saint Anthony Hall", the Epsilon chapter house is the oldest of the Saint Anthony Hall fraternity buildings. The building has recently undergone extensive interior restorations. An exterior addition, in harmony with the original construction, has been added to comply with local building code requirements. J. C. Cady was also the architect of several prominent buildings in New York City, most notably the old Metropolitan Opera House and the south section of the American Museum of Natural History.
Harleston Parker Medal namesake J. Harleston Parker, founder with Douglas H. Thomas, Jr. and Arthur W. Rice, of firm Parker, Thomas & Rice. The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia" By K. Edward Lay, UVA Press, ISBN0-8139-1885-5, p.287" (University of Virginia, 1902, Colonial Revival or "Jeffersonian". First fraternity house built on campus.) It is pictured on the University of Virginia website.
S.E. Gage (16 East 64th Street, New York, originally erected 1878–79 and redesigned by Gage between 1902–1904 in the Neo-Federal style for St. Anthony Hall.) Until around 1990, it was the St. Anthony Club, a city club for St. A's members. Interior details described include limestone columns, a detailed, wrought-iron front door and gate, a limestone and marble entry foyer, and a bronze and wrought-iron main staircase. In addition, the townhouse boasted ornate moldings, high ceilings, skylights, oak Versailles parquet floors and six wood-burning fireplaces. It is also included in a walking tour of 64th Street The five-story, 20-foot-wide (6.1m)brownstone is on a historically distinguished residential street. In the early 1970s, the Barnard College Club leased space in the St. Anthony Club.
Additional Josiah Cleaveland Cady. An Epsilon chapter (Trinity College) member, Cady in 1873 built the Yale Sheffield Scientific School's first new building, North Sheffield Hall, on what had been the gardens of the Town-Sheffield mansion. This was followed by his Winchester Hall (1892) and Sheffield Chemical (1894–95). Of these, only the latter, Sheffield Chemical, is still standing, renovated and renamed Arthur K. Watson Hall.
Marcel Breuer. Subsequent to the merger of the 'Sheff' with Yale College, but within its original precincts, Yale St. A's chapter member and benefactor Henry P. Becton (BS 1937), son of Becton Dickinson co-founder Maxwell Becton, donated the Becton Center (designed by Marcel Breuer), opened in 1970, replacing Winchester Hall and North Sheffield, mentioned above. Breuer cenceived the building "...as a wall that folded horizontally and vertically, with pipes and ducts located in the folds..." Located at 15 Prospect Street, the building's most distinctive feature is an arcade of monumental Tau Cross-shaped concrete columns "designed to invite pedestrians." It appears as a visual reference to the benefactor's society, whose emblem is the Tau Cross; the buildings are within each other's view along the axis formed by Prospect and College Streets. Described and pictured in the Yale University website.
A late 19th/early 20th century chapter house of the University of Mississippi's St. Anthony Hall Phi chapter subsequently was an on-campus childhood home of later Nobel Laureate author William Faulkner, although Rowan Oak is better known for having been his home when he achieved greatness. The older house was a large brick turreted edifice where the Alumni Center Hotel now stands. The Falkners lived in it during the period 1912–22 when fraternities were outlawed and was the first building of note that incoming freshmen saw when they walked from the train station into campus. It and a successor burned down. The Cofield photographic Collection ISBN978-0-916242-02-2, p.58, cites Faulkner's younger brother, Dean Faulkner, that his brother's room was in the tower.
Exclusions and obsolete chapters
The former Delta Psi fraternity at the University of Vermont (1850-2004) was always unrelated.
In 1879, Baird's Manual (see Wikisource, the free library of source texts.), contained an extensive Delta Psi/St. Anthony Hall chapter list. Baird's characterized the organization, at that time, as having "the reputation of being the most secret of all the college societies."
Chapters at the end of the 19th century were:
Alpha, Columbia College, 1847.
Beta, New York University, 1847 (closed 1853).
Gamma, Rutgers College, 1848 (closed 1850).
Delta, Burlington College (Burlington, NJ), 1849; transferred to Delta, University of Pennsylvania, 1854.
Epsilon, Trinity College (Connecticut), 1850.
Eta, South Carolina College, 1850 (closed 1861).
Theta, Princeton College, 1851 (closed 1863).
Iota, University of Rochester, 1851 (closed 1895).
Xi, North Carolina University, 1851 (closed 1863).
Psi, Cumberland University, 1858 (closed 1861).
Phi, University of Mississippi, 1855.
Upsilon, University of Virginia, 1860.
Sigma, Sheffield Scientific School (Yale University), 1868.
Theta, Washington-Lee University, 1869.
Tau, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1889.
Baird's 1999 edition amends the last listing for Washington and Lee as Beta (defunct).
The Xi chapter was re-founded in 1926, as was the Phi chapter, which had become extinct again in 1912.
The Lambda chapter closed in 1969 when Williams College banned fraternal activities. An alumni foundation remains.
The Kappa chapter at Brown University was re-founded in 1983,
The Theta chapter was re-founded at Princeton University in 1986, and
The Iota chapter was re-founded at the University of Rochester in 2010.
The 1999 edition of Baird's appeared unaware of the re-founding of Theta, erroneously listing that as Theta's last year. Baird's text also noted information regarding the effects of the Civil War –- then, just forty years past —- on the Order, and contemporary references to several of the fraternity chapter buildings that still exist today: "The Beta chapter was declared extinct in 1853, and its members affiliated with the Alpha. The Gamma and Theta disbanded. The Alpha has a fine chapter house in East Twenty-eighth Street, New York City.
The Epsilon has one of the most expensive chapter houses in the country, $40,000 having been given for that purpose by one of the members. The Kappa chapter is generally repudiated by the fraternity, but its official existence was recognized in the catalogue draft of 1876. The Southern chapters were closed by the war, and only the Phi and Upsilon were revived at its close. The Lambda owns a chapter house, and the Iota and one or two others have building funds." (1879 text, from Wikisource.)
In popular culture
The society tabloid Gawker said "In the constellation of collegiate societies—fraternities, sororities, eating clubs, final clubs, and the like—few are more exclusive, and WASPy, as St. Anthony Hall, or St. A's as it is commonly known..."
Delta Brother E. Digby Baltzell popularized the term "WASP" in his 1964 book The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America.
In December 1967, during a week-long fellowship on campus, then-California Governor Ronald Reagan was filmed for public television informally debating Yale students at the Yale St. Anthony Hall. Nancy Reagan is also present, as the Yalies quiz the governor on Vietnam and various social justice issues.
John O'Hara, in his 1960 novel Ourselves to Know, uses St. Anthony Hall membership in the characterizations of the protagonists: "Did you join a fraternity at Penn?" I said. "Yes I did. St Anthony-Delta Psi. But I think they were sorry that they invited me..." --- "I happened to know, because I had seen it, that he had a Delta Psi Tea Company gold charm on his watch chain, but the reason he did not show it was one of delicacy; in 1908 they had not accepted his resignation but he kept the insigne hidden..." --- "He and Robert quickly looked at each other's watch-chain and the Delta Psi charm and smiled. "You know, I've been meaning to write you a letter..." ("Tea" Company was a then-used appellation referring to the fraternity's Tau Cross emblem.)
Lisa Birnbach, ed. The Official Preppy Handbook, Workman Publishing, 1980. "St. A’s appeals to the ‘cool element’ of Preppies at Yale; this means Preppies who don’t iron their shirts. It isn’t rowdy: parties there conform to the intellectual self-image Yalies hold dear."
F. Scott Fitzgerald, in several short stories, refers to the Pump and Slipper, an annual party at the Yale chapter:
"May Day" in "Tales of the Jazz Age" "A man with prominent teeth cut in. Edith inhaled a slight cloud of whiskey. She liked men to have had something to drink; they were so much more cheerful, and appreciative and complimentary—much easier to talk to. "My name's Dean, Philip Dean," he said cheerfully. "You don't remember me, I know, but you used to come up to New Haven with a fellow I roomed with senior year, Gordon Sterrett." Edith looked up quickly. "Yes, I went up with him twice—to the Pump and Slipper and the Junior prom."
"Bernice Bobs Her Hair" "Warren was nineteen and rather pitying with those of his friends who hadn't gone East to college. But, like most boys, he bragged tremendously about the girls of his city when he was away from it. There was Genevieve Ormonde, who regularly made the rounds of dances, house-parties, and football games at Princeton, Yale, Williams, and Cornell; there was black-eyed Roberta Dillon, who was quite as famous to her own generation as Hiram Johnson or Ty Cobb; and, of course, there was Marjorie Harvey, who besides having a fairylike face and a dazzling, bewildering tongue was already justly celebrated for having turned five cart-wheels in succession during the last pump-and-slipper dance at New Haven."
"A Short Trip Home", Saturday Evening Post, January 17, 1927. "Joe Jelke and two other boys were along, and none of the three could manage to take their eyes off her, even to say hello to me. She had one of those exquisite rose skins frequent in our part of the country, and beautiful until the little veins begin to break at about forty; now, flushed with the cold, it was a riot of lovely delicate pinks like many carnations. She and Joe had reached some sort of reconciliation, or at least he was too far gone in love to remember last night; but I saw that though she laughed a lot she wasn't really paying any attention to him or any of them. She wanted them to go, so that there'd be a message from the kitchen, but I knew that the message wasn't coming—that she was safe. There was talk of the Pump and Slipper dance at New Haven and of the Princeton Prom, and then, in various moods, we four left and separated quickly outside. I walked home with a certain depression of spirit and lay for an hour in a hot bath thinking that vacation was all over for me now that she was gone; feeling, even more deeply than I had yesterday, that she was out of my life."
The exclusive "Hamilton House" from the hit TV show Gossip Girl was based on St. Anthony Hall's Columbia chapter.
The cover art of rock band Vampire Weekend's first album is a photo of the Columbia chapter chandelier.
1923 MIT campus newspaper reference to "Select Wittstein" providing music for the Pump and Slipper and the Yale Prom in New Haven.
Robbins, Alexandra. Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Back Bay Books, 2003. ISBN0-316-73561-2
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