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Omicron Nu, Alpha Chapter records

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-12.2.4

Scope and Content

This collection includes the records of Omicron Nu from their installation on campus in 1912 until around the mid 1980s. The contents contain lists of society members, blueprints for the Michigan Agricultural College Alpha chapter home, papers about the history of the society, historical information and rules for new members to memorize, the officers' instructions for running the organization, and the procedures for aspects of Omicron Nu management and induction ceremonies.

The records include handwritten meeting minutes for the Alpha Chapter of Omicron Nu. The minutes are contained in two volumes that document the meetings from the beginning of the chapter's existence. The records include chapter rolls which track society members from one meeting to the next, the plans and descriptions for Omicron Nu events, details of new members and installation of officers, and general club business.

The publication volumes discuss local and national matters, and they also contain the semiannual newsletters published by the Home Economics Honor Society. Some of the publications additionally include papers published by Omicron Nu members.

The Home Economics Association scrapbook (4020) contains a file with a paper by Marie Dye entitled, "Home Economics at Michigan State College," a list of the organization's annual meetings from 1911-1936, a list of the organization's charter members, a history of the association by Marie Dye, two Home Economics newsletters from 1960, and a newsletter packet for Michigan Student Clubs from 1934. The cover is wrapped separately and contains a leather front and an inner fabric handwritten cover page reading, "Michigan Home Economics Association."

Scrapbooks 4021, 4022, and 4023 contain photographs of members, banquet and dance cards, newspaper clippings about the association, and other publications. Scrapbook number 4023 has a particularly interesting and large collection of photographs taken by the women in and around the Omicron Nu Practice House.

Additionally, the collection includes multiple drafts for the College of Human Ecology logo done by Marion Soria. The same box has a folder with photographs of houses on campus, a view of Michigan Avenue in 1923, and a picture of a women's class from the early 1900s.

Dates

  • 1912 - 1985

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Historical Note

Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) was the first in the nation to establish the honor society Omicron Nu in 1912. Maude Gilchrist, Dean of Women, felt that honorable students in the field of home economics deserved recognition, and the program expanded across the country as other institutions also realized the need for promoting scholarship, research, and leadership opportunities for women in the home economics field.

Dean Gilchrist and a group of other faculty women established the Michigan Home Economics Association the previous year in 1911, and the same group was responsible for organizing the Omicron Nu Honor Society. Early projects included offering international fellowships to support research, and their mission was to promote the establishment of Omicron Nu at other universities and promote scholarly endeavours between the chapters. Within three years, sister chapters had been established at eight universities, including the New York College of Teachers, Iowa State College, Purdue, Kansas State Agricultural College, and the Universities of Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Kansas. By 1947, Omicron Nu had held 15 national conclaves and was active on 34 campuses nationwide; by 1987, that number had increased to 49 active chapters and almost 63,000 inducted members.

The society has gone through a number of transformations since its beginnings at Michigan Agricultural College, the largest of which occurred in February of 1990, when the two honors societies of Kappa Omicron Phi and Omicron Nu consolidated to form Kappa Omicron Nu. The purpose was unity and solidarity between the organizations, as well as greater visibility of the society. At the time of their merger, the members numbered almost 95,000 and were present on over 100 campuses.

Extent

5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials

English

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University.

Property Rights: Michigan State University.
Title
Omicron Nu, Alpha Chapter Records
Status
4 Published And Cataloged
Author
Emily Field
Date
2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Contact:
Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US
517-355-2330