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Sigma Chi Fraternity. Delta Delta Chapter (Purdue University)


Historical Information

The Delta Delta chapter of Sigma Chi was established in March of 1875, making it the first fraternity on Purdue’s campus. Two years later, Purdue President Emerson White established the matriculation pledge on September 11, 1877, which marked the beginning of his fight against Greek life on campus. According to White and other faculty members, fraternity organizations on campus would discourage the industrial spirit of Purdue by incorporating “classical” university ideals into the student body. The Delta Delta chapter fought against this regulation by petitioning the board and secretly continuing fraternity initiations and meetings. The brothers were not allowed to reveal their affiliation to the Sigma Chi fraternity, and to honor the legacy of their past brothers, current members do not wear their letters on campus.

The brothers of Delta Delta continued to fight against the administration, although their numbers began to wane. From 1878 to 1879, two members of Sigma Chi were expelled and three others received disciplinary action from the university, making James Milo Waugh the only member of any fraternity on campus until fraternities were allowed to return to Purdue.

In 1881, Samuel T. Stallard, Esq., guardian of Sigma Chi member Thomas P. Hawley, filed a class action lawsuit against Purdue, which he lost. The case then went up to the Supreme Court, where the court ruled that there was no illegitimacy in being connected with the Sigma Chi fraternity. Then on June 21, 1882, the Indiana Legislature attached a “rider” to an appropriation bill that forced Purdue to reduce restrictions on campus fraternities following this ruling. In September 1885, Sigma Chi members in the Delta Delta were granted permission by the university to be an active chapter once again.

Found in 3 Collections and/or Records:

Collection of Sigma Chi Fraternity Court Case materials

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 37
Scope and Contents The Collection of Sigma Chi Fraternity Court Case Materials documents the court battle from the inception of President White's matriculation pledge, to the Supreme Court decision and beyond. This collection documents the legal dispute and is sometimes referred to as the Purdue case or Sigma Chi case.Types of materials include: newspaper clippings, magazine articles, reports, documented opinions of Circuit Court Judge P. Vinton and others, and other extraneous materials related to...
Dates: 1879 - 2000

Fraternities, Sororities and Cooperative Life records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: UA 172
Scope and Contents The Fraternities, Sororities and Cooperative Life records span more than 130 years of Greek Life at Purdue. They document the history and operations of more than 80 fraternities, sororities, and cooperative houses. The material in the collection ranges from chapter award congratulations to chapter suspensions, from alumni news to university violations. Newspaper clippings accompany most chapter histories in the collection, adding a local voice to incidents at the time. This collection may...
Dates: 1873 - 2010

Sigma Chi Fraternity Student photographs

 Unprocessed — Box: Communal Accessions 59
Identifier: 2023-095