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Emersonian Literary Society (Purdue University)



  • Existence: 1887 - 1924

Historical Information

The Emersonian Literary Society was founded in 1887 to supplement the already strong tradition of literary societies at Purdue. This was due primarily to increasing enrollment at in the older literary societies and at Purdue in general. Students began work to start the society in 1886, but a charter was not granted by the faculty until 1887. The society focused on the intellectual development of its members, particularly in the discussion and debate of literary works and current events. Due to declining membership and interest in literary societies in general, the Emersonian merged with the Irving in 1924, forming the Irving-Emersonian Literary Society. In 1926, the Irving-Emersonian was absorbed by the national honorary fraternity Kappa Phi Sigma, effectively joining three literary societies. Kappa Phi Sigma appears to have been active until 1937, when it no longer appears in the student handbook section on activities and organizations.


MSP 34, Irving Literary Society records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries


Debris Yearbooks, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries


Purdue University Student Council. Student’s handbook of Purdue University. Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Emersonian Literary Society records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 142
Scope and Contents The Emersonian Literary Society records documents the activities of the Emersonian Literary Society.  The collection includes records books that document the weekly meetings of the society, as well as membership and included correspondence.  The ephemera portion of the collection documents annual events hosted by the Emersonian and other literary societies, tickets to society events, and Debris clippings about the group.  Unfortunately, there is no documentation of the Emersonian or other...
Dates: 1887 - 1924

The Purdue student newspaper (1880s) collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 245
Scope and Contents Includes a complete run of The Purdue student newspaper of the 1880s, which ran from 1882-1888. A total of 54 issues appear in the collection, separated into six volumes. Volume 1 has eight issues, published monthly from November 1882 until June 1883. Volumes 2 through 6 have nine issues each, published monthly from October to June. There is also a Special Edition issue published in June 1888, in addition to the regularly published June issue for that year. Also present in the...
Dates: November 1882 - June 1888