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Allenian Society Records
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  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Processing Information

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: Allenian Society Records
    creator: Allenian Society
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.2016.08.30
    Physical Description: 4 boxes (2 linear feet)
    Date (inclusive): 1908-2008
    Date (bulk): 1939-2007
    Abstract: This collection contains the scrapbooks, newspaper clippings, and various correspondence of the members of the San Jose State College Allenian Society sorority from 1908-2008. Most of the material dates from 1939-2007 and focuses on the Allenian Society’s local activities prior to their merger into the national Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority group in 1949.

    Biographical / Historical

    The Allenian Society was a sorority founded at San Jose State Normal School on November 10, 1896. Originally called the Allenian Rhetorical Society, it was named after Professor Charles H. Allen, a former president of the Normal School at San Jose from 1873-1899. The main purpose of the society was to better the group’s members through exchange of ideas and debating various issues. In the 1910’s, the society restricted their membership to forty members and reinforced it to be a women-only fraternity. The group also began shifting towards a more social approach, dropping the “Rhetorical” in their title and encouraging members to participate in campus activities, reaching out to and making lasting relationships with the school faculty. The Allenian Society was the oldest of the local women’s social organizations at San Jose State Normal School and was soon followed by several others including Sappho, Erosophian, and Browning. During the mid- 1940’s, many social organizations on campus began looking to expand nationally. By 1948, all local sororities except for the Allenian Society had gone national. Fearing that their local group would not be able to compete with nationals in rushing, the Allenian Society soon began looking for a national group to join. As the last local sorority at San Jose State College to go national, the Allenian Society became the Delta Chi Chapter of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity on January 28, 1949. Similar to the Allenian Society legacy, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity is one of the oldest of the woman’s Greek letter societies. Their focus was to encourage women in the academic field and provided a multitude of resources such as undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, graduate counselor scholarships, and a students’ aid fund. The years following the transition as a local to national chapter had an uphill progression. However, starting in 1964, public attitude towards fraternities in California shifted when charges were made regarding racial discrimination in Greek membership. While the Delta Chi chapter was free from charges, it was among the many chapters on campus that were subsequently closed. The Delta Chi chapter was officialy closed on January 26, 1972. As of 2016, the San Jose State University chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma remains inactive.

    Preferred Citation

    Allenian Society Records, MSS-2016-08-30, San Jose State University Library, Special Collections & Archives.


    This collection is arranged in two series: Series I. Photographs and Printed Matter; and Series II. Scrapbooks. Series I is arranged by format and then chronologically; and Series II is arranged by size, then chronologically.

    Scope and Contents

    This collection includes material relating to social events relating to the Allenian Society at San Jose State Normal School and San Jose State College prior to their merger into the national Kappa Kappa Gamma Greek society in 1949. The records within this collection range between the years 1908-2008, with the bulk of the material ranging from 1939-2007. The documentation includes a San Jose Normal School Senior Yearbook from 1914, a copy of their Society’s history, various photographs of Allenian members, newspaper clippings related to Allenian Society members and events, and event programs. There is also memorabilia from Allenian events and milestones. The scrapbooks from 1930-1948 include newspaper clippings related to Allenian Society members and events, whereas the scrapbooks from 1994-2007 include records and photographs from reunion events and correspondence between members.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jose State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    Collection processed, and finding aid written, by, Rita Wang (2016).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    San Jose State Normal School
    Women -- Societies and clubs
    San Jose State College -- Students
    Greek letter societies -- California -- San Jose
    Allenian Society