Wm. Raimond (William Raimond) Baird.

Betas of achievement; being brief biographical records of members of the Beta theta pi who have achieved distinction in various fields of endeavor online

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Online LibraryWm. Raimond (William Raimond) BairdBetas of achievement; being brief biographical records of members of the Beta theta pi who have achieved distinction in various fields of endeavor → online text (page 1 of 38)
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Ex Libris

Katharine F, Richmond


Henry C. Fall


jiiL.'^n.ff .




Being Brief Biographical Records of

Members of the Beta Theta Pi

Who Have Achieved Distinction in

Various Fields of Endeavor



Author of "American College Fralernities," "The

Hand-Book of Beta Theta Pi," Editor of

"The Beta Theta Pi," etc.

Authorized by the Convention
of 1913


The Beta Publishing Co.

363 West 20th Street




Some five years ago the editor had occasion to examine the then
newly issued volume of "Who's Who in America," and in doing so
was struck with the number of names of members of tlie fraternity
which occurred therein. In 1912. being called upon to review a
later edition of tlie same book, he made a list of the members of the
fraternity whose biographies were in that volume and, without at-
tempting seriously to compare each name, was surprised to find
that more than four hundred of the names in the book were those of
Betas. The striking fact, however, was that in many instances the
catalog of the fraternity frequently gave only the name and occupa-
tion of the person referred to. while a much fuHer account of his
career appeared in such book.

The membership of the fraternity has increased so ra])idly that
it has been necessary to restrict the information concerning each
member listed in our catalog to tlie lowest terms. The result is that
there is nowhere to be found outside of compilations like "\\'ho's Who
in America," or "Men of Science in America," an adequate ))resenta-
tion, even in briefest form, of the careers of many of our members.
Consequently, it occurred to the editor that it would be a good idea
at the present time, in order that the fraternity might become aware
of the achievements of its members, to compile a book somewhat on
the lines of "Who's Who in America" (omitting the vital statistics)
and restricting it to those listed on our rolls, but including (Kceased
members. Therefore, the catalog of the fraternity was examined
with a view to determining who might properly be imludcd in sucIj
a list, although naturally, a sonu'what wider range of selection was
permissable than that which had been employed in the older publi-

There were listed all executive oHicers of the Inited States


Government and of the different state governments (excepting per-
sons occupying merely clerical or subordinate positions), all United
States senators, congressmen and bureau chiefs ; the presidents of
colleges of higher education ; the deans of schools of universities and
colleges, having different departments, and persons having the full
rank of professor in colleges of tlie first grade. There were also
included j^ersons who had attained the rank of major, or above, in
the military service and the rank of lieutenant commander and above
in the naval service ; all ministers and ambassadors to foreign coun-
tries, and United States consuls at the more important foreign posts.
Also men who had served two or more terms in a state legislature
or who in addition to other j)olitical preferment had been members
of a constitutional convention and all who had been presiding offi-
cers of either the upper or lower house of a state legislature ; also
the mayors of large cities and the executive officers of important
corporations. In addition there were included editors of periodicals
of general circulation and of the more important technical journals,
autliors of works of reference or of two or more books of other
character, and a number of miscellaneous j^ersons not readily classi-
fied but wlio were deemed wortliy of inclusion on general principles
of j)rominence.

The plan of the proposed book was submitted to the fraternity
and its publication was authorized by the convention of 1913. As
a preliminary step, there was prepared a biograi)hical memorandum
for each person whose name had been selected to be included and
there was sent to all who were not known to be deceased a copy of
sucli memorandum concerning himself with the request that such
memorandum be corrected and returned. In the great majority of
cases this was promptly done, but some names have been included
where the memoranda has not liad tlie benefit of such personal re-
vision. Photographs were also requested, but this request was so
generally disregarded, that we Iiave been obliged to secure the bulk
of the illustrations in the book from other sources. Several persons
sent jtrints from half tones or engravings which could not be mt-chan-


ically reproduced with success, and others sent poor pliotos whicli
could not be used, and consequently the selection of photographs
may be regarded as a purely arbitrary one for which the editor alone
is responsible.

There are doubtless in the book many errors of inclusion and
exclusion. They are unavoidable in a compilation of this kind.
For instance, we might find a man listed as "President and General
Manager of the Amalgamated Universal Machinery Com))any,"
when actually he has a desk room in a small office building in
a village, and another man listed as "Sixth Vice President of
the General Oil Company and Local Superintendent, " and rind
that he has charge of a business of millions of dollars a year
and has under his jurisdiction an army of thousands of men.
The necessary knowledge to make the right selection is not within
the grasp of any one person. It may very well result, therefore,
that persons widely known within their own communities have been
omitted and those relatively obscure have been included. If atten-
tion is called to such fact, a record will be made of them for future
use, if occasion for such use should ever arise. The statements
are doubtless inaccurate somewhat in detail, due to forgetfulness,
and the usual percentage of error arising from the transcription of
hundreds of names with constantly recurring identical descriptive
phrases and the usual errors of typesetting. The fraternity is to
be congratulated on the magnificent showing it is enabled to make,

Wm. Raimond Baird
Stevens, '78 ; Columbia, '82
September 1, 1914.


"Betas" is the name affectionately api>lied to themselves by members
of Beta Theta Pi, one of the college fraternities having lodges or cha])ters
in the higher institutions of learning in the United States and Canada. This
fraternity was organized in the summer of 1839 by John Reily Knox and
eight other students at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. It was intended
by its founders to be an association of men devoted to the cultiva-
tion of the intellect and who should in its various chapters, or branches,
become so closely associated that they would form in effect a widespread
brotherhood throughout the country. It was made in analogy to the few
similar collegiate organizations existing elsewhere, a secret society, but, as
a matter of fact, the secrecy was purely nominal and its aims and pur-
poses might have been freely disclosed without fear of criticism or com-
ment. It was not intended at first that the association should be confined
to undergraduates in college, but might include associations of young men
who had had an equivalent education and who were otherwise in sympathy
with the purposes and aims of the organization, l)ut it soon became re-
stricted to college men from force of circumstances.

The association was rapidly extended from Miami to other colleges. Its
eft'orts for the first twenty odd years of its existence were largely devoted
to extending its membership, ])lacing new chapters in strategic locations,
and endeavoring to maintain them in existence against ojijiosition of differ-
ent kinds and in the face of the small attendance at many of the colleges
and the necessarily smaller number of persons from whom it was felt its
members should be selected. In membership, the chapters rarely exceeded
twelve in number at any one time and were frecpK'ntly less than seven. They
had no permanent homes at the respective colleges where they were located
and the members met in each other's rooms, frequently in secret, to avoid
observance by the college authorities. They had little money. The system of
government was loose and inefficient, and comminiication between the chap-
ters was desidtory and infrequent.

Some of the chapters were obliged to overcome college opposition by
admitting to their ranks college ]irofessors or administrators, and, singular
to say, some of the men so admitted became the staunchest adherents of
the fraternitv. Amidst all tlicsc difficulties, however, the fraternity de-


veloped a characteristic spirit and a quality of friendship which is unique,
and even now, when it numbers nearly four score chapters scattered from
the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Wisconsin to Texas and has enrolled
nearly twenty thousand members, it has maintained these characteristics.
Willis O. Robb, Ohio Wesley an, '79, has expressed these attributes probably
better than anyone else. At the convention of 1890 he said:

"Brethren of the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity: The fraternal relation
that is to some of us so dear a present joy, to others so hallowed a mem-
ory, is to all of us something more than we are wont to think it. It con-
sists not in forms or rites, in organizations, or bodies of laws ; these are
mere maciiinery. Nor does its chief glory lie only in the several friendships
it produces and shelters, dear as these are, unrivalled as they must always
be in freshness and in youthful ardor. Behind and beneath both these
aspects lies its more essential character, its capacity of culture. Its rich-
est gifts are not friends, but the desire, the power and the habit of mak-
ing friends. These constitute the real fraternity spirit."

The same speaker fifteen years later again expressed himself as fol-

"Again, the Beta is distinguishable and distinguished from all other
kinds of fraternity men whatsoever by Just a little warmer and stronger,
just a little tenderer and more enduring fraternity feeling than any of
them can attain to. For it was always so. I do not in the least know
how it liappened, nor why it persisted after it happened, but a long time
there came into Beta Theta Pi a fraternity spirit that was, and is, and
apparently will continue to be, xmique. We know it, who are inside, and
they .see and record it who are outside the Beta pale. Whether young or
old, in college or out, from the small school or the great university, we
are conscious of a heritasre of genuine frnternalism that has not been
vouchsafed in like measure — I say it deliberately — to anv other of the
great college fraternities. And we cannot doubt that in this, as in otlier
respects, our 'future will copv fair our past,' and that in the world of
fifty years from now, as in that of yenrs a, Tl.'inover College, Ilanfivcr, Tnd., Cumberland I'nivcrsitv, Lebanon,
''"(iiri., Km')\ Cnllefc. O-ilesburg, TIL, tlic ITniversitv of Virginia,
('iiarliittcsvillc, ^'a., \\';ishiiigt(l, a song hook was issued, tlic journal of tlic
fraternity was ini])r()ve(l and strengthened, and in practieaiiy every di-
rection the progress of the fraternity was marked hy improvement.

From 1883 until 1890 a few chapters were established, namely at
Amherst, Vanderbilt, University of Texas, Ohio State, University of Ne-
braska, University of Denver, Syracuse, Dartmouth and Minnesota. These
chapters only succeeded in gaining admission into the fraternity after
strenuous and long-continued effort. A new sense of ])ower and dignity
in the fraternity and a feeling of confidence in its future and great re-
spect for its efficiency made it conservative in granting to petitioning
bodies tiie privilege of a charter, and during this period many more pe-
titions were rejected than were granted. The chapter at Dartmouth had
been a local society called Sigma Delta Pi and had existed at Dartmouth
for about thirty years and attained an enviable reputation. All tlie other
chapters mentioned had first i)een organized as local societies, and it may
be said here that since that time no chapter of the fraternity has been
established whicii has not undergone the test of a previous successful
existence as a local organization.

In 1890 a union was had with the Mystical Seven fraternity. This
society was founded in 1837 at Wesleyan and had established clia]iters
at Emory College and the University of Georgia in Georgia, Centenary
College in Louisiana, Genesse College, which afterwards became the Uni-
versity of Syracuse, the University of Mississippi, the University of Vir-
ginia, Cumberland, the University of North Carolina, and Davidson Col-
lege. It was a select organization whose cha])ters had been kept small
in numbers, but whose administrative system had lieen bad and which,
like Beta Theta Pi in its early days, had allowed its chapters to become
inactive witiiout nnich attempt at supervision or control. The personnel
of the Mystical Seven, however, had been of a high quality and similar to
that of the Beta Theta Pi, and the two fraternities found no difficulty in
consolidating their membership, both undergraduate and alumni. Tlic
chapters of the Mystical Seven at Emory, Georgia and Centenary Col-
lege have not been revived. The other chapters were revived by the
union, although those at Mississippi and Cumberland are now inactive.

Since 1890 the administration of the fraternity has been eft'icient, the
supervision of the chajiters has been carefully attended to, they iiave im-
proved steadily in scholarship and a system of compulsory attendance at
conventions based upon a well administered financial system has resulted in
securing a imiformity in the ipiality of the incinhcrshiii and a iiomogcitcity
in tastes, attributes and aspirations wiiicli lias made of tlic fraternity a


unified living force in the college life of the country, and it might be added
in its civil and social life as well.

During the period since 1890 chapters have been placed at the University
of Cincinnati, University of Missouri, Lehigh, Yale, Stanford, West Vir-
ginia, Colorado, Bowdoin, AVashington State, Universitj^ of Illinois, Purdue,
the Case School of Applied Science, Iowa State College, the University of
Toronto, the University of Oklahoma, Colorado School of Mines, Tulane
University, the University of Oregon, Massachusetts Institute of Technol-
ogy, South Dakota, and Utah, and revived at Williams. The chapter at
the University of Missouri was the last surviving chapter of Z 4>, the only
fraternity ever founded west of the Mississippi.

During this period, also, there began the building of chapter houses,
changing the organization of each chapter from that of a college secret
society in the nature of a lodge, to a well ordered family living under its
own roof and becoming a responsible body of men having a recognized
place in the life of each college. At the present day forty-nine of the
chapters own their houses and of the remaining twenty-six all but four
occupy rented houses. When we say they own houses we mean they are
owned by some organization of their alumni.

The chapters which own houses report their respective valuations to
be: Amherst, $11, .500; Beloit, .$17,000; Bethany, .$3,000; Bowdoin, .$12,000;
Brown, .$18,000; California, .$32,000; Chicago, $13,000; Colgate, $12,000;
Colorado, $18,000; Columl)ia, .$2.'),000; Cornell, $7.5,000; Dartmouth, $14,000;
Denison, $12,000; DePauw, .$20,000; Dickinson, $10,000; Hanover, .$3,.500;
Illinois, .$40,000; Kansas, $30,000; Knox, .$9,000; Lehigii, $12,000; Maine,
$12,000; Michigan, .$40,000; Minnesota, $12,000; Mi-ssouri, .$31,000; North
Carolina, .$2,.500; Northwestern, .$36,000; Ohio, $7,.500; Ohio State, $22,000;
Ohio Wesleyan, .$8,000; Pennsylvania, .$2(5,000; Pennsylvania State, $16,000;
Purdue, .$20,000; Rutgers, $14,000; St. Lawrence, $1.5,000; Stamford, $10,-
000; Syracuse, $1.5,000; Texas, $13,000; Tulane, $12,000; ITnion, $12,000;
Vanderbilt, $10,000; Virginia, $12,000; Wabash, .$8,000; Washington State,
$12,000; Wesleyan, .$36,000; Western Reserve, $15,000; Williams, .$2.5,000;
Wisconsin, .$2.5,000; Wittenberg, $10,000, and Yale, .$20,000. The total being
$884,000. Besides tliis a numl)er of the chapters own building lots and if
these are added our irivcstiiicnts in rc;d estate is nearly .$1,000,000, and this
does not include tiic value of tlie etpiipmeiit in 71 houses, which nnist be
worth at lea,st .$200,000. Most of this ])ro))erty has been given by the
alurrmi and stands as a innMumcnt to tlwir loy.ilty aiid belief in tlie Fra-

The fraternity luus ])erfeeted its system of insi)eetion and information.
]-'rir juirposes of administration it is divided into sixteen geograpiiical dis-


tricts, each under the supervision of an assistant to tlie freneral secretary
called a district ciiief. Kach undergraduate nienil)er contributes aiuiual
dues which are used in defraying tiie general expenses of tiie fraternity
and which serves to bring to each convention at least one delegate from
every chapter.

The publications of tlie fraternity are its catalog, periodically issued,
a combined history and handbook, its song book and its journal. The latter
is published eight times a year, having six regular numbers issued during
the college year and two special numbers, one containing tiie minutes of
the convention each year, and the other containing tiie annual re-
ports of the chapters and a complete list of the undergraduate membership,
and other facts of interest about each chapter. This latter number is sent
to all members of the fraternity whose addresses are known.

The insignia of the fraternity comprise its well known badge, its flag,
and coat of arms and a coat of arms for each chapter designed on a proper
heraldic system.

Tiiere is maintained in New York City, a successful club wjiicli affords
the usual eluli facilities and is of great convenience to visitors wiio live

Online LibraryWm. Raimond (William Raimond) BairdBetas of achievement; being brief biographical records of members of the Beta theta pi who have achieved distinction in various fields of endeavor → online text (page 1 of 38)