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Alpha Pi Zeta. Northwestern University Chapter



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.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Records of Alpha Pi Zeta

Identifier: 4/6/2

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

Dates: 1923-1942