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Phi Beta Kappa records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 87

Scope and Contents

The Phi Beta Kappa records document the planning stages of the Phi Beta Kappa, Zeta of Indiana (Purdue University) Chapter, along with records from the 1970s and 1980s. The records include a few documents from the early 1990s. The one document from 1995, "The Greek Vine," is unrelated to Phi Beta Kappa, but it was provided with the original records. 

Types of materials include: correspondence, faculty member lists, form letters, initiation information, lectures, meeting information, miscellaneous material and photographs.


  • 1953 - 1995
  • Other: Majority of material found within 1970 - 1980


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University.

Historical Information

Five students at the College of William and Mary founded Phi Beta Kappa in 1776, during the American Revolution. For over two and a quarter centuries, the Society has embraced the principles of freedom of inquiry and liberty of thought and expression. Laptops have replaced quill pens, but these ideas, symbolized on Phi Beta Kappa's distinctive gold key, still lay the foundations of personal freedom, scientific inquiry, liberty of conscience and creative endeavor.

Phi Beta Kappa celebrates and advocates excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Its campus chapters invite for induction the most outstanding arts and sciences students at America's leading colleges and universities. The Society sponsors activities to advance these studies - the humanities, the social sciences, and the natural sciences - in higher education and in society at large.

Only about 10 percent of the nation's institutions of higher learning have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. Only about 10 percent of the arts and sciences graduates of these distinguished institutions are selected for Phi Beta Kappa membership The ideal Phi Beta Kappan has demonstrated intellectual integrity, tolerance for other views, and a broad range of academic interests. Each year, about one college senior in a hundred, nationwide, is invited to join Phi Beta Kappa. Membership in Phi Beta Kappa shows commitment to the liberal arts and sciences, and to freedom of inquiry and expression - and it provides a competitive edge in the marketplace. Potential employers regularly contact the national office of Phi Beta Kappa to confirm the membership of job seekers who have listed Phi Beta Kappa among their credentials.

ΦBK are the Greek initials of the motto "Love of learning is the guide of life."

The Purdue University chapter was established February 23, 1971. It was designated the Zeta of Indiana Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The charter was signed by Rosemary Park, president and Carl Billman, secretary.

Source(s): Retrieved January 14, 2010 from and information taken from Purdue's charter.


1.042 Cubic Feet (Two cubic feet boxes)

Arrangement Note

The original order of the records was maintained and most are in chronological order.

Method of Acquisition

Donated January 6, 2008; donor unknown.


Phi Beta Kappa records
Under Review
Mary A, Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2011-08-16.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States