October 10, 2011

In Honor of Founders’ Day: A Note from Rena Michaels Atchison

December 7, 1881
Fayette, Iowa

Dear Sisters in Alpha Phi,

It is a long, long time since I addressed that name. But, today, somehow, the time or the weather, or something that cannot be expressed brings back to me very vividly the time when the name of Alpha Phi made my pulses beat like a lover’s.

It was eight years ago this autumn, the eleven girls walked through the mud and rain on Friday eve to the homes of our resident girl friends to discuss the plans and means of establishing a secret society. I remember that one of our number thought a secret society was a terrible thing for girls, and forthwith left us to carry out our plans alone. She has since formed a secret society* with two members only, possibly there are more now, such societies sometimes have a way of increasing rapidly. Well, if you will pardon this digression, we worked on. The young gentlemen made many interesting remarks to the effect that a girl’s society could not live more than six weeks. Then they gave us six months. Now, I presume, they have lengthened the time indefinitely, only presuming that it will die sometime because it was originated by girls.

A sister’s greeting to you all, and as I do today, may you all in after years recall the pleasant friendships formed and sealed in Alpha Phi…

Your Sister in Alpha Phi,
Rena Michaels

*Rena is referencing Gamma Phi Beta, which was founded on Syracuse University’s campus in November of 1874.

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