Guide to the Records of Alpha Pi Zeta

Collection Title: Records of Alpha Pi Zeta
Dates: 1923-1942
Identification: 4/6/2
Creator: Alpha Pi Zeta. Northwestern University Chapter
Extent: 1 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: The records of the Northwestern University Chapter of Alpha Pi Zeta contain: constitutions; meeting materials; membership lists; correspondence; and financial receipts.
Note: Other Information:Presidents of Alpha Pi Zeta at Northwestern:1923, Seymour G. Martin, Philosophy1924, Kenneth W. Colgrove, Political Science1925, Fred E. Clark, Economics1926, Ernest Lauer, History1927, Vanderveer Custis, Economics1928, Albert R. Ellingwood, Political Science1929, John J. B. Morgan, Psychology193019311932, Clyde L. Grose, History193319341935, William Jaffe, Economics193619371938193919401941, Raymond G. Carey, History1942Secretary-Treasurers of Alpha Pi Zeta at Northwestern:1923, Kenneth W. Colgrove, Political Science1924, Clyde L. Grose, History1925, Kenneth W. Colgrove, Political Science1926, Fred E. Clark, Economics1927, John J. B. Morgan, Psychology1928, Kenneth W. Colgrove, Political Science1929, Albert R. Ellingwood, Political Science1930, William F. Byron, Sociology19311932, Clyde L. Grose, History1933, Earl P. Hohman, Economics1934, Ernest Lauer, History1935, Charles Braden, History of Religions1936, Franklin D. Scott, History19371938193919401941, Donald Hudson, Geography,1942Membership Chairmen of Alpha Pi Zeta at Northwestern:1923, Frederick S. Deibler, Economics1924, Frederick S. Deibler, Economics1925, Frederick S. Deibler, Economics1926, Frederick S. Deibler, Economics1927, Frederick S. Deibler, Economics192819291930, Vanderveer Custis, Economics1931, Lawrence D. Egbert, ?1932, Frederick S. Deibler, Economics1933193419351936, Adam R. Gilliland, Psychology193719381939194019411942
Acquisition Information: Unknown.
Processing Information: Christopher A. Kuhn, C.S.C.; June 1978.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

The Alpha Pi Zeta was an honorary and professional fraternity for the Social Sciences which was founded at the University of Missouri in about 1916. The initials Alpha Pi Zeta were chosen because they stood for the words "anthropos politikon zoon," Aristotle's characterization of Man. By 1923 there was also a chapter at Clark University in Atlanta. In November of 1923, Charles A. Ellwood, a member of the national organization wrote to Professor Thomas D. Eliot of Northwestern requesting that Northwestern join Missouri and Clark in organizing Alpha Pi Zeta on a national scale.

In spring of 1924, a chapter of Alpha Pi Zeta was founded at Northwestern. A preliminary meeting was held at Harris Hall on February 29, 1924, under the leadership of Frederick S. Deibler, Ernest Lauer and Eliot. An organizational meeting took place at Harris Hall on March 14, 1924. The Northwestern Chapter of Alpha Pi Zeta declared as its object the encouragement of original investigation and scholarship through discussions, oral and printed publications, receiving professional scholars and researchers and granting associate membership to graduates and undergraduates. A second organizational meeting took place on April 9, 1924 at which it drafted its constitution and elected first officers. Northwestern's Alpha Pi Zeta officers were President Seymour G. Martin (Philosophy), Secretary Treasurer Kenneth Colgrove and Membership Chairman Frederick S. Deibler.

Meanwhile, the organization of Alpha Pi Zeta on a national scale was underway. Missouri was still the center of the Alpha Pi Zeta. But other chapters had joined Missouri, Clark and Northwestern including Arkansas, Chicago, Minnesota, and Stanford. The national organization held a meeting in Chicago in Auditorium Hotel. Professor L. L. Bernard (Minnesota) chaired the meeting; Professor Clyde Grose (Northwestern) was the Secretary Pro Tem. Representatives from California, Chattanooga, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, North Dakota, Tulane, and Wisconsin universities attended. A Committee for National Organization and Constitution of five members (including Northwestern's Clyde Grose) was established. Local chapters were given "a large degree of autonomy as to the methods of work and details of organization."

The year 1935 was a hallmark year for the Northwestern Chapter of Alpha Pi Zeta. The President in 1935 declared in a letter to chapter members, "Certainly our organization is in a none too healthy condition. An examination of its minutes of the last few years reveals alarming symptoms of morbidity." As a result of new efforts, in that same year the Northwestern Chapter began to show renewed vitality. Membership in the Chapter escalated to 56.

The year 1940-1941 saw a significant change in Northwestern's Alpha Pi Zeta, when, for the first time, it accepted undergraduates into its membership: 14 seniors and eight new faculty members joined 34 graduate students, fellows and teaching assistants that year.

Unfortunately, the history of Alpha Pi Zeta at Northwestern, at last showing signs of a major revitalization, ended abruptly, with no further records of any kind.

Scope and Content

The records of the Northwestern University Chapter of Alpha Pi Zeta contain: constitutions; meeting materials; membership lists; correspondence; and financial receipts.

A 1924 constitution of the Chapter modeled on the constitution of the parent Missouri University Chapter is included in the records. There is also a constitution of the National Alpha Pi Zeta, adopted in 1926 and readopted in 1927.

The second largest group of records consists of Meeting Notices, Reports and Minutes. The most complete records exist for the years 1923 through 1927. In 1924 and 1925 there are minutes of the Northwestern Chapter's meetings. The bulk of these records, however, are notices of meetings with simply the event, date and location. There are also reports on the National Alpha Pi Zeta's annual meetings for 1924 and 1927. The years 1929 through 1936 are covered by very sketchy records. No records exist after 1936.

A folder of incomplete membership rosters is also included for 1924, 1927, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, and 1936. There are partial rosters for 1940-1941 and 1941-1942.

The records of the Northwestern Chapter of Alpha Pi Zeta consist primarily of correspondence. The correspondence has been divided into 2 categories: first, correspondence chiefly concerned with the Chapter at Northwestern and its prospective members; and secondly, the correspondence of the Northwestern Chapter with individuals and groups outside the University, especially with the national office of Alpha Pi Zeta.

From the fall of 1923 through the end of 1924 there is considerable correspondence between representatives of the national Alpha Pi Zeta and the Northwestern Chapter. Much of the correspondence pertains to the founding of the Northwestern Chapter. Unfortunately, there is no correspondence in this series for the years 1925, 1931 and 1934. Where there is correspondence for the years 1926 through 1930 it is concerned mainly with the nomination and acceptance of new faculty members. Correspondence in 1935 includes two especially important letters. In the first, Professor Kenneth Colgrove (an original charter member, President and Secretary) declines the Presidency of the Northwestern Chapter. In the second letter President of the Northwestern Chapter, William Jaffe in a rather stern message to the membership warns of the impending death the Chapter faces unless it is revitalized. The correspondence of 1936 consists largely of nominations and acceptances of new members except for letter from chapter secretary-treasurer Professor Franklin D. Scott reporting on a meeting of Northwestern's Alpha Pi Zeta at which members discussed but decided not to amalgamate with Pi Gamma Mu (a Social Science organization for both faculty and students.) Correspondence for 1937 is concerned with the revival of summer conferences. There is no correspondence after 1937.

In the last folder of the series is a very incomplete set of financial receipts for the years 1924, 1925, and 1926. However, since there were not always regular dues and assessments, and since the total expenditures of the Northwestern Chapter were very small these financial receipts are not particularly illuminating.


Corporate Name

Alpha Pi Zeta. Northwestern University Chapter


Greek letter societies--United States

Social sciences--Societies, etc.

Container List / Contents

  • Constitutions, 1924-1927Box 1, Folder 1
  • Meeting Notices, Minutes, Reports, 1924-1936Box 1, Folder 2
  • Membership Lists, 1924-1942Box 1, Folder 3
  • Correspondence concerning prospective members, 1924-1937Box 1, Folder 4
  • General Correspondence, 1923-1937Box 1, Folder 5
  • Financial Receipts, 1924-1935Box 1, Folder 6