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Student Organizations. Strings Society and Pi Beta Phi Sorority Records

Finding Aid & Inventory

Strings Society was a local sorority founded at Wake Forest University in 1946 that remained active until 1993 when the the group, like other Wake Forest societies, affiliated with a national sorority. Strings Society became the North Carolina Gamma chapter of Pi Beta Phi sorority. That group has been inactive since 2010, when the national governing body of Pi Beta Phi revoked the Gamma Chapter's charter. This collection contains scrapbooks, newsletters, photographs, and artifacts.

Biographical and Historical Note

The Strings Society was the first local female society at Wake Forest University. According to organizational files, Strings was founded by friends Huldah Lineberry (1951), Kay Williams (1948), and Edith Rawls (1949) in the attic of Johnson Dormitory on the original Wake Forest campus in 1946. As a response to Kay being invited to join the Tassels honor society, the friends referred to themselves as "Strings." The small group grew as it added more members, and inspired the formation of other female societies at Wake.

Following a nautical theme, the symbols and traditions associated with Strings include whales, anchors, sailor caps, and the colors navy and white. The group's official flower was a white carnation and members were referred to as "Threads" (pledges) or "Ropes" (alumnae). Other associations include the "Allemande" chant and the Stringman mascot. They hosted a signature annual event, Frankfest, and heavily participated in the campuswide fraternity fundraising competition "Derby Days." Strings members were involved in social activities and participated in philanthropic endeavors that benefited local organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, and the campus-wide fundraising efforts for cancer research in honor of former WFU football player Brian Piccolo (1964).

By 1965 there were five women's societies on Wake Forest's campus: Strings, Fideles, Laureles, Les Souers, and S.O.P.H.s. The societies worked together to create the Inter-Society Council (ISC). The ISC developed and maintained standards for rush and kept the societies connected to each other. The ISC also served as a point of contact between the societies and campus administration. Under the guidance of the Dean of Women, Lula Leake, the female societies of Wake Forest College achieved official campus recognition in 1967.

Due to complex insurance and liability issues, the campus administration decided that the societies had to limit their operations or affiliate with a national organization. In April 1991, the Phoenix Society affiliated with Alpha Delta Pi and the other societies followed by affiliating with other sororities within the National Panhellenic Conference. Strings moved to affiliate with Pi Beta Phi, known colloquially as Pi Phi, in 1992 and the organization remained active on campus for 17 years. Pi Phi members held onto their local Strings traditions and ceremonies while operating as Pi Beta Phi, which prompted the national organizing body to revoke the campus' charter in 2010. The sorority has been inactive since then.

Sources:

  • Edgeton, Caroline. "Pi Beta Phi sorority loses charter." Old Gold and Black, 2010 Aug 26, p. A1. Accessed via Special Collections and Archives Digital Collections Old Gold and Black
  • "Strings Society," book. Vertical Files (Printed Materials) Collection (RG15), Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives.

Collection Overview

This collection documents the administration and social practices of the Strings society, and later the national group Pi Beta Phi sorority.

It is organized into two series, Strings Society materials and Pi Beta Phi materials. Series 1. Strings Society Materials cover the local sorority from 1946 until 1993. This series contains photographs, scrapbooks, historical materials, notebooks, and artifacts such as jewelry and textiles. Series 2. Pi Beta Phi Materials covers the years that the organization was the Pi Beta Phi sorority. This collection contains photograph albums, notebooks, and meeting notes.

Strings materials appear in both series, since Pi Beta Phi maintained some Strings practices and lore. Names in parentheses in an item title indicate the item's donor.

Both series, Series 1. Strings Society materials and Series 2. Pi Beta Phi materials are organized in chronological order.

Collection Inventory

  • Strings Society materials (1957-1993)
    • Strings blanket ritual on old campus photograph (circa 1946-1955) box 12 folder 19
    • (Mary Gail Nesbit) Strings Society sweatshirt (1957) box 2 object 1
    • Derby Days photographs and negatives (1963 July) box 12 folder 16
    • "Constitution of the Strings Society" (circa 1960s) box 12 folder 5
    • "S" embroidered initiation ceremony dress (circa 1960s) box 1 object 1
    • Inter-Society Council new member rush information (1967-1972) box 12 folder 3
    • Pledge activities, photocopies (circa 1968-1972) box 12 folder 17
    • (Susan Nance) "Outstanding Pledge" bracelet (1968) box 11 object 4
    • Threads pledge pin (1968) box 11 object 5
    • (Susan Nance) Pledge scrapbook (Spring 1968) box 8 object 1
    • Pledge information notebook (belonging to Susan Nance) (1968) box 12 folder 2
    • (Susan Nance) Strings member ring (1968) box 11 object 2
    • Activities and events photographs (circa 1970s-1980s) box 12 folder 15
    • Dormitory prank newspaper clipping (circa 1970s-1980s) box 12 folder 14
    • Pledge skit scripts (circa 1970s-1990s) box 12 folder 11
    • Society songbooks (circa 1970s) box 12 folder 7
    • Songs and chants lyrics (belonging to Susan Nance) (circa 1970) box 12 folder 8
    • Member newsletters (1971-1992) box 12 folder 12
    • Strings member ring (1971) box 11 object 3
    • Photographs of pledge performances (1972 March) box 12 folder 18
    • Composite photograph (1973) oversize 1 object 1
    • Composite photograph (1974) oversize 1 object 2
    • Composite photograph (1978-1979) oversize 1 object 3
    • (Elizabeth Douglass) Pledge scrapbook (Spring 1978) box 9 object 1
    • Member invitation bid cards (1961, 1978) box 12 folder 6
    • On-campus member directories (circa 1978-1982) box 12 folder 10
    • Composite photograph (1979-1980) oversize 1 object 4
    • Administrative information (circa 1980s) box 12 folder 4
    • "Constitution of the Strings Society" (circa 1980s) box 13 folder 16
    • Great Grubba ceremony, information and questionnaires (circa 1980s) box 13 folder 17
    • Pledging information and rules (circa 1980s) box 13 folder 22
    • Strings initiation t-shirt (circa 1980s-1990s) box 3 object 1
    • Senior Strings t-shirt (circa 1980s-1990s) box 5 object 1
    • (Mary Dalton) Strings hat (Spring 1981) box 6 object 1
    • (Mary Dalton) initiation photograph (1981) box 11 object 3
    • Photograph memory box (1981) box 20 object 2
    • (Mary Dalton) Strings name t-shirt (circa 1981-1985) box 7 object 2
    • (Mary Dalton) Strings pledge cup (1981) box 11 object 1
    • (Mary Dalton) Strings pledge scrapbook (Spring 1981) box 10 object 1
    • Wooden decorative Strings crest (1981) box 11 object 6
    • Zenia Raudsepp pledge activities calendar (Fall 1982) box 12 folder 20
    • Strings 1981-1982 composits (1981-1982) box 20 object 1
    • Strings Society song lyrics and sheet music (circa 1983) box 12 folder 24
    • Strings Society photograph album (1983-1984) box 8 object 2
    • Strings Greek Week t-shirt (1984) box 3 object 2
    • 40th Anniversary t-shirt (1986) box 4 object 1
    • Threads pledge list (1988 Fall) box 13 folder 20
    • Derby Days book and letter (1992) box 12 folder 13
    • Pledge group party song lyrics (1993) box 12 folder 9
    • Composite photograph (1981-1982) oversize 1 object 5
    • Composite photograph (1983) oversize 1 object 6-7
    • Composite photograph (1985-1986) oversize 1 object 8
    • The Anchor newsletter (1988 Fall) box 13 folder 25
    • Meeting notes (1989) box 13 folder 19
    • Meeting notes (1989) box 13 folder 18
    • Threads pledge list (1989 Fall) box 13 folder 14
    • Pledging society information (circa 1990s) box 12 folder 22
    • S.O.P.H information cards (circa 1990s-2000s) box 12 folder 23
    • Photograph album of members and events (1990-1991) box 19 object 1
    • 45th Anniversary bulletin (1991) box 13 folder 26
    • The Anchor newsletter (1991) box 13 folder 27
    • (Mary Dalton) Strings 45th Anniversary t-shirt (1991) box 7 object 1
    • Summer newsletter (1991 July 24) box 13 folder 21
    • Composite photograph (1991-1992) oversize 1 object 9
    • Photograph album of members and events (1991-1992) box 19 object 2
    • 1992 officers contact list (1992) box 13 folder 23
    • 45th Anniversary history book (1992) box 12 folder 1
    • Letter to alumnae (1992) box 13 folder 24
    • Composite photograph (1992-1993) oversize 1 object 10
    • Winter newsletter (1992 December 28) box 13 folder 15
    • "A" and "I" letter lamps used for "In Activity" (circa 2000s) box 16 object 1
  • Pi Beta Phi Sorority materials (1992-2011)
    • Pledge journal (circa 1990s-2000s) box 15 folder 2
    • Article regarding sorority affiliations (1993 December) box 13 folder 11
    • "Ritual of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity" pamphlet and photocopies (circa 1993) box 13 folder 4
    • Composite photographs (1994-1995) oversize 2 object 1-2
    • Social events and meetings photographs (1995) box 13 folder 2
    • Composite photograph (1995-1996) oversize 2 object 3-4
    • Correspondence from national organization and campus administration (1996) box 13 folder 3
    • Composite photograph (1996-1997) oversize 2 object 5
    • Pi Beta Phi national guidelines and administrative information (1996-1997) box 13 folder 5
    • Kristy Eyler Pi Beta Phi membership card (1998) box 13 folder 7
    • Pledge and sister information sheets (circa 1998-2007) box 13 folder 8-9
    • Wooden "VP" pendant (circa 1998) box 11 object 7
    • Jennah Dieter, member, letter to new pledges (Spring 1999) box 13 folder 1
    • Composite photograph (2000-2001) oversize 2 object 6-8
    • Photograph album of members and events (circa 2000s) box 15 folder 1
    • Pi Phi pledges note (circa 2000s) box 13 folder 13
    • WFU chapter member statistics (circa 2000s) box 13 folder 12
    • Pledge night group photographs (2001-2008) box 13 folder 10
    • Pledge card binder (2001) box 14 object 1
    • Pledge card binder (2001) box 14 object 2
    • Pledge night group photograph (Spring 2001) oversize 2 object 9-10
    • Pi Beta Phi Fraternity national Constitution and Statutes (2003) box 13 folder 6
    • Photograph album of members and events (Fall 2005) box 17 object 1
    • Photograph album of members and events (2007) box 18 object 1
    • Photograph album of members and events (Spring 2008) box 18 object 2
    • Pledge night group photograph (Spring 2010) oversize 2 object 11
    • Strings history tests for pledges (2011) box 12 folder 21

Summary Information

Repository
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Title
Student Organizations. Strings Society and Pi Beta Phi Sorority Records
ID
RG8.35
Date [inclusive]
1957-2011
Extent
33.84 Linear Feet  18 oversized boxes, 2 document boxes, 2 oversize folders

Administrative Information

Publication Information
Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives
Access Restrictions
Collection is open for use. 
Copyright Notice
The nature of the WFU Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The Archives and Special Collections of ZSR Library claims only physical ownership of most materials. The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to the U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. 
Preferred Citation
Student Organizations. Strings Society and Pi Beta Phi Records (RG8.35), Z. Smith Reynolds Special Collections and Archives, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, USA. 

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