Alpha Chapter and the Founding of the Phi Alpha Sigma Medical Fraternity

Alpha Chapter was founded in New York City, April 9, 1881 at the Bellevue Hospital Medical College. It is the reincarnation of the Ancient Order of the Esclepiades. It is the development of ideals, inspired by thoughtful inquiry into social history, from the time of Esculapius down to our present brilliant period. The emblem of the Society is a collection of the classic symbols of power, wisdom, diligence, and activity. Those who wear it are permitted to bask in the effulgence of Esculapian intelligence

group photo

The first moderns to perceive the light, and to revive the Esclepiades, were the seven charter members of the Alpha Chapter:

Herman Arthur Haubold

Edmund Yard Hill

John Ensor Hutcheson

Jesse Townsend Duryea

Waller H. Dade

Frank Hollister

Nathan Bristol van Etten

The first ideal was that of good fellowship among a few men at Bellevue at that time. There was little thought of the future. The ideals were for our own, and those ideals have evidently been the reasons for the success of the Society.

Only the best material in the College was desired. There was no wish for expansion. The number was kept small. The personal qualification was most important. Ability as a student was of small importance when weighed against character. The standards of the early men were high, and not one of them has in any measurable sense failed in his duty toward his fellow.

The Honorary Members of the Alpha Chapter were men of the best type, and the fact that they were willing to identify themselves with Phi Alpha Sigma showed their appreciation of the character of the Society.

Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon were hardly dreamed of in the early days, although the first draft of the constitution made explicit provision for the establishment of chapters.

When an opportunity came to establish a chapter at the University of Pennsylvania, the Alpha Chapter demanded the highest qualifications from the applicants among the students and among the faculty of the University. Hobart Hare, George deSchweinitz, John Marshall, Edward Martin, and Barton Cooke Hirst were taken from the Faculty, and are among the most brilliant men the the country today. The same ideal possessed the early men of Beta, and they have been most successful.

Gamma has preserved the standard, and Delta and Epsilon have had great success.

One cannot read the roster of Phi Alpha Sigma without a glow of proud satisfaction if his name is there included.

The spirit of Phi Alpha Sigma is something we can hardly define, but it has been evolved from the association of men of high purpose, and will carry the society to material success, and cause it to long endure.

The Founding of the Delta Chapter of Phi Alpha Sigma at Jefferson Medical College

The Delta Chapter of Phi Alpha Sigma Fraternity was organized very largely through the efforts of Raymond A. Clifford during the school terms 1898 and 1899. For a number of years previously efforts had been made toward the organization of Greek letter fraternities at the Jefferson Medical College, and overtures had been made from time to time to the Beta Chapter of Phi Alpha Sigma. Each such effort had met with failure until the autumn of 1898, when Clifford, Royce, and Royer, of the Class of 1899, and Taylor, of 1900, began again to study the attitude of the members of Beta Chapter through Clifford's good friends, Rankin and O'Dell. During this time the nucleus of the future Delta Chapter was being selected.

The steps of procedure from this time on were as follows: The Beta Chapter men of the University of Pennsylvania known by Clifford pledged their help toward securing a Chapter at the Jefferson College. Eight of the charter members brought about a preliminary organization at the Jefferson; an application from these eight men was presented to Beta Chapter on December 5, 1898. Beta Chapter delegated Brothers Rankin, Hedding, Evans, Jacobs, and Lukens to meet the proposed Jefferson applicants and report back to the Beta Chapter. A recommendation from this committee to the Beta Chapter and to the Primarius Magnus, Brother George Fetterolf, presenting and passing a formal resolution in Beta Chapter, January 14, 1899, recommending that the Concilium Magnum grant a chapter to the petitioners at the Jefferson Medical College. Subsequent to the favorable action upon the resolution by the Alpha and Gamma Chapters, the original eight men who signed the application for a chapter increased their number to fifteen, and on April 12, 1899, the Delta Chapter of Phi Alpha Sigma was duly installed by Primarius Magnus George Fetterolf.

The efforts of the following eight men were instrumental in the founding of the chapter, we honor them as our Charter Members.

Raymond H. Clifford

S. M. Cowgill

Ralph S. Curtis

William H. Ewing

Edgar Harland Irvin

Charles H. Royce

B.F. Royer

Wilfred F. Taylor

All of the charter members of Delta are glad to remember that the existence of Delta Chapter was due almost entirely to the earnest, self-sacrificing work done by Brother Clifford, encouraged and assisted by Professors Hobart A. Hare and George E. de Schweinitz.

One unaccustomed to the rivalries and jealousies existing in professional schools and unacquainted with the intricate and time-consuming methods of Greek letter fraternities can scarcely appreciate the amount of difficult and discouraging work required.