Autumn of 1901
Among the students in the fall term of 1901 at the State Female Normal School in Farmville, VA, were five women who had become very good friends. Attractive, vivacious and intelligent, each woman had been extended invitations to membership from the school’s existing sororities. However, if they each had accepted those invitations, it would mean that our Founders would not be sorority sisters. If the school could have three sororities, then why not four?
Autumn of 1901
Establishing an identity
The first membership badge of the Sorority was a shield, upon which the Greek letters Alpha Sigma Alpha were inscribed in gold on a black background. The top of the badge displayed a crown set with jewels. The Founders announced the Sorority’s first hymn, “Blest Be the Tie that Binds,” and first open motto, “To one another ever faithful.” The colors were crimson and silver, and the flower was the white carnation.
November 15, 1901
Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority founded
On Nov. 15, 1901, a new sorority was organized and named Alpha Sigma Alpha. As stated in the charter, “The purpose of the association shall be to cultivate friendship among its members, and in every way to create pure and elevating sentiments, to perform such deeds and to mold such opinions as will tend to elevate and ennoble womanhood in the world.” Signatures to this document include those of Alpha Sigma Alpha’s five Founders: Virginia Lee Boyd (Noell), Juliette Jefferson Hundley (Gilliam), Calva Hamlet Watson (Wootton), Louise Burks Cox (Carper) and Mary Williamson Hundley.
November 15, 1902
On Nov.15, 1902, the five Founders of the Sorority, all wearing Alpha Sigma Alpha’s first membership badge, announced to the campus that a new sorority had been organized.
January 3, 1903
A growing sisterhood
The first initiation was held Jan. 3, 1903. Hattie Kelly Thomas, Louise Pettigrew Price and Louise Gordon Baskerville became the newest members of Alpha Sigma Alpha. The second initiation was held Jan. 29, 1903. Lucy Hannah Daniel, Edna Elcan Jones, Marguerite Palmer Alexander and Angela Carroll Tinsley were added to the membership.
February 13, 1903
First step to expansion
On Feb. 13, 1903, Alpha Sigma Alpha was chartered in the Circuit Court of Prince Edward County, VA, by Juliette Jefferson Hundley (Gilliam)’s father Judge George Jefferson Hundley. The Sorority was chartered to legalize its existence and to begin the first of many steps toward expanding the sisterhood and making Alpha Sigma Alpha a national sorority.
March 20, 1903
Continuing to grow
The third initiation was held March 20, 1903, for Grace Wilson Bosworth and Katherine Earle Boyd, cousin of Virginia Boyd Noell. The fourth initiation occurred May 11, 1903, for Mary Elizabeth Moore.
Autumn of 1903
A new look
The badge was changed from the shape of a shield to the design it holds today.
November 30, 1903
Beta Chapter installed
Through the efforts of Louise Cox Carper, the Beta Chapter of Alpha Sigma Alpha was installed at Lewisburg Female Institute in Lewisburg, WV, on Nov. 30, 1903.
May 9, 1904
Gamma Chapter installed
Gamma Chapter was installed at the College for Women, Columbia, SC, on May 9, 1904.
Autumn of 1904
Alpha Sigma Alpha meets Ida Shaw Martin
Alpha Sigma Alpha began communicating with Ida Shaw Martin, founder of Delta Delta Delta, who at the time was editing The Sorority Handbook. Ida would later become a shining star in the Sorority, becoming an honorary member, national president and leading the reorganization of Alpha Sigma Alpha.
Delta, Epsilon, Zeta and Eta installed
In 1905, four chapters were added to the roll of Alpha Sigma Alpha. In February, Delta Chapter was installed at Mary Baldwin Seminary, Staunton, VA; in March, Epsilon Chapter was installed at Fauquier Institute, Warrenton, VA; Zeta Chapter was installed at Fairmount Seminary, Washington, DC, on Oct. 27; and in December, Eta Chapter at Ward Seminary, Nashville, TN, on Dec. 15.
Autumn of 1905
With its first national council, Alpha Sigma Alpha set out to continue its course of national expansion. However, efforts for expansion were not without difficulties. Anti-sorority sentiment and legislation were beginning to flourish in the South. Shortly after installing Eta Chapter at Ward Seminary in Nashville, TN, the Zeta Chapter was disbanded because of laws banning sororities enacted by the school. Anti-sorority legislation continued to hamper the expansion of Alpha Sigma Alpha for the next several years.
November 30, 1905
First national convention
With six chapters on its roll, Alpha Sigma Alpha called its first national convention at the Hotel Richmond in Richmond, VA, on Thanksgiving weekend 1905. Highlights: “After the business meetings the young ladies attended the football game between Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia Military Institute and later on they entertained the academy, after which Alpha Chapter gave a magnificent banquet to their visiting sisters and guests. The dining room was tastefully decorated in Alpha Sigma Alpha pennants, the table in American Beauty roses and white carnations. The souvenirs were Alpha Sigma Alpha stick pins made in fraternity colors.” – from local newspaper Topics of the first convention included the publication of a Sorority magazine and the election of the first national council. It was decided The Alpha Sigma Alpha Magazine would be published three times yearly.
December 2, 1905 - December 3, 1905
First grand council
The following women were elected as members of grand council: Edna Elcan Jones, A, grand president; Jeanne Pelham, Γ, grand vice president; Effie Mealy, B, grand secretary; Lucy Hannah Daniel, A, grand historian; and Anna Thraves, Γ, grand priestess.
Alpha Sigma Alpha Magazine
Volume 1, Number 1 issue of the Alpha Sigma Alpha Magazine was released.
December 1, 1906 - December 2, 1905
Second National Convention
Alpha Sigma Alpha hosted its second national convention over Thanksgiving weekend in Charleston, SC.
Convention recapped in the magazine
“To those who have had a good fortune to see a Southern sunset from the western end of the Charleston Batter there is no need to bring again the picture. It cannot be forgotten or dimmed. Then just as we turned, the moon came up over the harbor water, harmonizing with the quietness which was in that part of the city.” – From the March issue of the Alpha Sigma Alpha Magazine, recounting the 1906 national convention in Charleston, SC.
A new name for the magazine
The Alpha Sigma Alpha Magazine changed its name to the Aegis of Alpha Sigma Alpha.
Iota Chapter installed
Iota Chapter, Randolph-Macon Women’s College, Lynchburg, Virginia was installed in May.
Spring of 1908
The Sorority’s second national president
Lina Wakefield Mattison, Γ, elected as national president. She served until 1912
January 1, 1909 - January 3, 1909
The third national convention was held in Asheville, NC. Highlights: Sue Smythe Flinn, Γ, was the convention secretary. Grand Council was formed and composed of, Grand President Lina Wakefield Mattison, Γ, Grand Vice President Mary C. Ash, Γ, Grand Secretary and Treasurer Bessie Ferguson Cary, A.
Three chapters installed
Three new chapters were added to the Sorority’s chapter roll: Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter, Brenau College, GA, on Feb. 28; Gamma Beta Sigma Chapter, St. Mary’s School, NC, on May 27; and Kappa Phi Chapter, Mount Union College, OH, on June 5.
Sorority handbook includes Alpha Sigma Alpha
The Sorority Handbook by Ida Shaw Martin featured Alpha Sigma Alpha for the first time. “A fourth society founded at the Virginia State Normal School [Longwood University, VA], Alpha Sigma Alpha, has recently placed chapters above the seminary rank, so it is doubtless only a question of time when all these essentially Southern orders will have chapter rolls that will compare favorably with those of the older sororities.”
June 10, 1909
Changes in symbols
Alpha Sigma Alpha’s national flower changed from white carnation to American Beauty rose and national jewel changed from emerald to ruby.
June 10, 1909 - June 12, 1909
Natural Bridge Convention
The fourth convention was held in Natural Bridge, VA.