History of Phi Delta Kappa

“When I think that a small group of boys, none more than eighteen years of age, formed an organization which has endured for twenty-five years, which has grown from a membership of less than ten to an active membership of 2,500, which has seventy-six chapters and which flourishes in five states.  I feel that the foundation of this organization was indeed, an achievement.  I, for one, am proud of it and no honor that might come to me, were I in a position to merit honors, could possibly equal that of being one of the Founders of Phi Delta Kappa.
“How little did any of us dream, on that bright June day of 1902, that we were building for the future; that we were laying foundations upon a solid rock for the rearing of a beautiful structure in which brotherly love was to abide and which was to engender strength of purpose and nobility of character in a mighty army of worthy young Americans.”
Paul R. Martin – National Master of Ceremonies – 1926

PDK Timeline

1902
June 7

Phi Delta Kappa is Founded

On this date, 7 friends decided to create a group where they could pursue common interests and contribute to the surrounding community.  At first the fraternity had the profound title of “Iota Tau Kappa”.  None of the seven founders had the slightest idea of what his really meant, but it sounded like “I Tap pa a Kegga”.  It sounded like Greek, and really was Greek to them! 1902          
June 7

The First PDK Meeting

The first meeting of the group was held June 7, 1902, on the steps of the old High School building, west Third Street, Marion, Indiana.  This building was destroyed by fire three times.  After the fraternity became well enough established, it was found that to hold really secret discussions, a more secret place should be acquired.
July 1

The First Initiation

The first PDK Initiation was held in the front parlor room of Jim Reed’s home, 144 North Branson Street in Marion, Indiana.  Albert Lockwood was the first man initiated.
1903
July 1

The Creation of the Initiation Ceremony

When the fraternity began, initiation consisted of the founders doing something to a new member that would make a lasting impression.  But, the founders soon realized that they should do something more than rough work, and Paul Martin, who was more or less skillful with a pen wrote a ceremony out of which has become the present ritual.
1904
June 13

Alpha Grand Chapter – Charter Granted

1905
October 10

The First Member Passing

The first PDK member to pass away was Brother Horace Myers who died October 10, 1905.  This was the first sorrow of the fraternity, and his death made a lasting impression. Brother Myers had contracted yellow fever while working out of state and upon returning to Marion, IN, was compelled to isolate himself in a small cottage north of Marion near the Country Club.  His disease was very contagious, so no one would go near the cottage or show him attention. This matter was brought up before the fraternity and one of the brothers, George Green, volunteered to risk his own life by staying with and ministering to Myers until his death.  Myers soon passed away but due to the strong constitution of Green he never contracted this deadly disease.
1906
March 31

Gamma Chapter (Marion, IN) – Charter Granted

March 31

Beta Chapter (Columbus, IN) – Charter Granted

March 31

Delta Chapter (Portland, IN) – Charter Granted

August 1

Zeta Chapter (Bluffton, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 20 members
August 1

Theta Chapter (Muncie, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 15 members.
August 1

Epsilon Chapter (Fairmount, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 10 members.
1907
October 1

Lambda Chapter ~ Peru, Indiana

October 1

Kappa Chapter (Warren, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 8 members.
1908
August 15

Xi Chapter (Huntington, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 7 members.
September 11

Omicron Chapter (Goshen, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 12 members.
December 14

Rho Chapter (Indianapolis, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 10 members.
1910
June 6

Phi Chapter (Elwood, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 14 members.
June 7

Chi Chapter (Richmond, IN) – Charter Granted

Started with 11 members.
1911
September 23

Ohio Gamma Chapter (Montpelier, OH) – Charter Granted

Started with 8 members.

And the PDK Story Continues……