Guide to the Records of Pi Kappa Lambda

Collection Title: Records of Pi Kappa Lambda
Dates: 1918-2003
Bulk Dates: 1984-2000
Identification: 55/41
Creator: Pi Kappa Lambda. Alpha Chapter (Northwestern University)
Extent: 4 Boxes
Language of Materials: English
Abstract: Pi Kappa Lambda, a national honor society in music, was founded in 1918 at Northwestern University. The mission of the Society as stated in 1918 was to promote “high scholarship in musical institutions and to give recognition to students of marked ability that have maintained a consistently high record in their work.” It is today one of the largest national honor societies in music, with 181 chapters. The records of Pi Kappa Lambda span the dates 1918 to 2003. The bulk of the materials date from the years 1984-2000. Lilias Circle donated the collection and served as Secretary-Treasurer. As Secretary-Treasurer, Circle kept not only the current records of the Society, but also what remained of the Society’s historical records. This series includes historical materials relating to the founding and early years of the Society.
Acquisition Information: The records of Pi Kappa Lambda were transferred to the University Archives in one donation by Lilias Circle on December 30, 2003, Accession Number 04-7. In addition, materials from the University Archives general files were incorporated into this collection.
Processing Information: Lori J. Osborne; February 2004.
Separated Materials: Three inches of duplicate and extraneous materials were discarded. One hundred and eighty-one photographs were separated and placed in the photograph files in the University Archives.
Conditions Governing Access: None.
Repository: Northwestern University Archives
Deering Library, Room 110
1970 Campus Dr.
Evanston, IL, 60208-2300
URL: http://www.library.northwestern.edu/archives
Email: archives@northwestern.edu
Phone: 847-491-3354

Biographical/Historical Information

Pi Kappa Lambda, a national honor society in music, was founded in 1918 at Northwestern University. The previous year, the Alumni Association of the School of Music had appointed a committee to explore the possibility of forming a national honor society in music. Committee members were alumni and faculty members Walter Allen Stults (Music 1909, later Chair of the Vocal Department and first President of the Society), Louis Norton Dodge (Music 1903, Professor of Piano and Theory) and Carl M. Beecher (Music 1908, later Dean of the School of Music). Upon discovering that there was no national honor society for students of music, the committee recommended that the School of Music take the initiative. Their recommendation was accepted the following year when the Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda was founded at Northwestern University. The Greek letters Pi Kappa Lambda were chosen to honor long-time Dean and founder of the School of Music, Peter Christian Lutkin.

The mission of the Society as stated in 1918 was to promote “high scholarship in musical institutions and to give recognition to students of marked ability that have maintained a consistently high record in their work.” The Society's members included a small number of students from the graduating class of the School, alumni who achieved important careers in music, and honorary members chosen for their distinguished musical careers. This mission and membership policy have changed only slightly over the years. The Society's current statement of its mission reads: “The primary purpose of PKL is the recognition and encouragement of the highest level of musical achievement and academic scholarship.” The Society also now allows college juniors with high academic performance and graduate students to become members.

The growth of the Society took place slowly but steadily through the 1960s. In the early years, chapters were often formed by Northwestern School of Music graduates at the institutions in which they were currently employed. The Society was careful to focus on schools that had fully developed programs in professional music education and only accepted members who exhibited a high achievement in music. By 1937 there were sixteen chapters of the Society. By 1967 there were sixty-five chapters. It is today one of the largest national honor societies in music, with 181 chapters.

The Society is governed by Biennial Conventions to which each chapter may send a voting delegate. The Board of Regents, composed of past presidents and officers elected at the biennial conventions, conducts the regular business of the Society. The Secretary-Treasurer is in charge of the national office of the Society. For many years the national office was located at Northwestern University.

In addition to its general work to promote excellence in music scholarship and performance, the Society has also undertaken several national projects and its local chapters offer various programs in line with this overall mission. National projects have included publishing works of music scholarship (in partnership with Northwestern University Press) and conducting a national opera competition.

Scope and Content

The records of Pi Kappa Lambda fill four boxes and span the dates 1918 to 2003. The bulk of the materials dates from the years (1984-2000) that Lilias Circle (who donated the collection) served as Secretary-Treasurer. As Secretary-Treasurer, Circle kept not only the current records of the Society, but also what remained of the Society's historical records. This series includes historical materials relating to the founding and early years of the Society; minutes of governing meetings; secretary's and president's correspondence; financial and membership records; and materials regarding the projects and publications undertaken by the Society.

Historical materials include a 1937 history and an undated handbook that describe the founding and early growth of the society. A copy of the articles of incorporation as well as drafts from various years of the ceremonies for installation of new chapters and inductions of members are also included. Duplicates of index cards from 1963 and 1964 list chapter presidents and secretaries. The manual of operation describes the duties of the Secretary-Treasurer in the day-to-day running of the national office.

Minutes that record the meetings of the Board of Regents, Biennial Conventions and Executive Sessions of the Society offer information regarding various issues the Society faced through the years and decisions that were made by these governing bodies. Secretary's reports are year-end reports regarding the execution of the secretary's duties.

Correspondence mainly consists of incoming and outgoing correspondence from the years that Lilias Circle served as Secretary-Treasurer. One file of general correspondence includes letters on various subjects. Subject correspondence is arranged alphabetically in separate folders following Circle's arrangement of these records. Several of these folders contain correspondence with current and past presidents of the Society or members of the Board of Regents. One folder consists of correspondence relating to the Society's membership in the American Association of College Honor Societies. One folder contains correspondence regarding the nomination and honoring of exemplary chapters of the Society.

Financial records include ledgers dating from the founding of the Society through 1943. These ledgers contain records of the income and expenses of the Society and also contain early membership records. Annual audit reports from the 1930s through the 1990s are included in these records. Several additional folders contain correspondence regarding the audits, not-for-profit annual reports and trust account reports.

Membership records are contained in two folders, one containing correspondence and one containing tallies from elections.

Programs and projects folders consist of materials relating to the Society's biennial conventions and materials regarding the competitions the Society held. The biennial conventions folders contain correspondence, program packets and lists of delegates from the various chapters. The competitions materials consist of one folder of general correspondence regarding the competitions; one folder regarding the winner of the Opera competition, Outcast of Poker Flats; and one folder regarding the chamber music competition.

Publications folders contain materials relating to publications projects undertaken by the Society. Correspondence with Northwestern University Press regarding these projects, as well as contracts and royalty statements are included. The materials are divided into folders for each of the three publications, with general folders followed by folders relating to the gifts of the publications to various libraries and reviews of the publications.

One miscellaneous folder contains the transcript of an oral history interview with composer Howard Hanson (Music 1916, Honorary Doctorate 1925).

Materials in each folder are arranged chronologically by date, with undated materials at the back of the folder.

Addition, Box 4

The addition to the records of Pi Kappa Lambda fills one half of Box 4 of the series and spans the dates 1966 to 2000. It is comprised of additional records from the office of Lilias Circle who served as Secretary/Treasurer for Pi Kappa Lambda from 1984-2000. The addition includes originals and copies of certificates of appreciation and honor that the society issued, and a blank chapter charter certificate. It also includes annual reports of the Secretary and the Secretary/Treasurer, and several folders of correspondence including correspondence between Circle and Wilbur Rowand, the previous Secretary of the society; correspondence regarding the Pi Kappa Lambda room in the Music Administration Building on the Northwestern campus; and correspondence regarding insurance policies for the society.

Arrangement of Materials

Materials in each folder are arranged chronologically by date, with undated materials at the back of the folder.

Subjects

Corporate Name

Pi Kappa Lambda. Alpha Chapter (Northwestern University)

Subjects

Greek letter societies--Illinois--Evanston

Music--Societies, etc.


Container List / Contents

  • History
    • Historical Booklet, 1937Box 1, Folder 1
    • Handbook, n.d.Box 1, Folder 2
    • Articles of Incorporation - Copy, 1918Box 1, Folder 3
    • “Scholarship and the Musician”, n.d.Box 1, Folder 4
    • Installation of New Chapters Ceremony, 1970, n.d.Box 1, Folder 5
    • Induction of New Members Ceremony, 1961-1970Box 1, Folder 6
    • Index Cards (Duplicates) - Chapter Presidents, 1963-1964Box 1, Folder 7
    • Index Cards (Duplicates) - Chapter Secretaries, 1963-1964Box 1, Folder 8
    • Manual of Operation, 1979Box 1, Folder 9
    • Certificate of Distinction, 2000Box 1, Folder 10
    • Clippings, 1918Box 1, Folder 11
  • Minutes
    • Board of Regents, 1980-2000Box 1, Folder 12
    • Biennial Conventions, 1958-1991Box 1, Folder 13
    • Executive Sessions, 1971-1991Box 1, Folder 14
    • Secretary's Reports, 1974-1980Box 1, Folder 15
  • Correspondence
    • General, 1978-1993Box 1, Folder 16
    • American Association of College Honor Societies, 1995-2002Box 1, Folder 17
    • Robert Blocker, 1986-1998Box 1, Folder 18
    • Board of Regents Candidates, 1991-1999, n.d.Box 1, Folder 19
    • David Boe, 1981-1989Box 1, Folder 20
    • Exemplary Chapters, 1989-1996Box 1, Folder 21
    • Wilbur Fulbright, 1988-1993Box 2, Folder 1
    • Don Gibson, 1995-1998Box 2, Folder 2
    • Robert Glidden, 1982-1996Box 2, Folder 3
    • Honorary Members, 1959-2003Box 2, Folder 4
    • Tom Miller, 1975-1995Box 2, Folder 5
    • National Association of Schools of Music, 1989-2001Box 2, Folder 6
  • Financial Records
    • Ledger, 1919-1929Box 2, Folder 7
    • Ledger, 1929-1943Box 2, Folder 8
    • Audit Reports, 1930-1943Box 2, Folder 9
    • Audit Reports, 1943-1979Box 2, Folder 10
    • Audit Reports, 1983-1994Box 2, Folder 11
    • Audit Reports, 1995-1999Box 3, Folder 1
    • Audit Correspondence, 1990-2003Box 3, Folder 2
    • Not-for-Profit Annual Reports, 1964-2000Box 3, Folder 3
    • Financial Reports, 1985-2002Box 3, Folder 4
    • Trust Account, 1962-1996Box 3, Folder 5
  • Membership Records
    • Correspondence, 1989-1999Box 3, Folder 6
    • Election Tallies, 1994-1999Box 3, Folder 7
  • Programs and Projects
    • Biennial Convention Correspondence, 1968-1999Box 3, Folder 8
    • Biennial Convention - Packets, 1960-2001Box 3, Folder 9
    • Biennial Convention - Delegates, 1967-1999Box 3, Folder 10
    • Competitions - Correspondence, 1958-1960Box 3, Folder 11
    • Competitions - Outcast of Poker Flats, 1960-1963Box 3, Folder 12
    • Competitions - Chamber Music, 1998Box 3, Folder 13
  • Publications
    • Correspondence - General, 1966Box 3, Folder 14
    • Northwestern University Press - Correspondence, 1965-1979Box 3, Folder 15
    • Northwestern University Press - Contracts, 1965-1978Box 3, Folder 16
    • Northwestern University Press - Royalty Statements, 1967-1988Box 3, Folder 17
    • Andrew Law, American Psalmodist, 1975-1990Box 4, Folder 1
    • Andrew Law, American Psalmodist - Gifts, 1968-1969Box 4, Folder 2
    • Andrew Law, American Psalmodist - Reviews, 1969Box 4, Folder 3
    • The Anthem in New England Before 1800, 1962-1978Box 4, Folder 4
    • The Anthem in New England Before 1800 - Gifts, 1966-1967Box 4, Folder 5
    • The Anthem in New England Before 1800 - Reviews, 1966-1967Box 4, Folder 6
    • Music in the Cultured Generation, 1970-1984Box 4, Folder 7
    • Music in the Cultured Generation - Reviews, 1971-1972Box 4, Folder 8
    • Newsletter, 1988Box 4, Folder 9
  • Miscellaneous
    • Transcript: interview with Howard Hanson, 1978Box 4, Folder 10
  • Addition
      Separated materials:  Three inches of duplicate and extraneous materials were discarded. One hundred and eighty-one photographs were separated and placed in the photograph files in the University Archives. A small number of duplicate or extraneous materials was separated from the addition and discarded. One photograph was separated and filed in the University Archives photograph files. Scope and Contents: The addition to the records of Pi Kappa Lambda fills one half of Box 4 of the series and spans the dates 1966 to 2000. It is comprised of additional records from the office of Lilias Circle who served as Secretary/Treasurer for Pi Kappa Lambda from 1984-2000. The addition includes originals and copies of certificates of appreciation and honor that the society issued, and a blank chapter charter certificate. It also includes annual reports of the Secretary and the Secretary/Treasurer, and several folders of correspondence including correspondence between Circle and Wilbur Rowand, the previous Secretary of the society; correspondence regarding the Pi Kappa Lambda room in the Music Administration Building on the Northwestern campus; and correspondence regarding insurance policies for the society.
    • Charter Certificate, n.d.Box 4, Folder 11
    • Certificate of Honor, 1988Box 4, Folder 12
    • Certificate of Appreciation, 1993Box 4, Folder 13
    • Secretary's Reports, 1966-1981Box 4, Folder 14
    • Secretary/Treasurer Reports, 1987-2000Box 4, Folder 15
    • Correspondence - Wilbur Rowand, 1984-1993Box 4, Folder 16
    • Correspondence - Pi Kappa Lambda Room, 1984-1997Box 4, Folder 17
    • Correspondence - Insurance Policies, 1994-1998Box 4, Folder 18