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Phi Beta Kappa, Delta of Connecticut Chapter records

Identifier: RG-04C-15

Scope and Contents

This collection contains materials documenting the establishment and administrative operation of the Winthrop Scholars and Phi Beta Kappa programs at Connecticut College, including history, initiation procedures and ceremonies, constitution and by-laws, membership lists, membership committee instructions, reports, publications, visiting scholars, and photographs. There is also a small amount from the New London Association of Phi Beta Kappa.


  • 1925 - 2020



This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious undergraduate honors society in the United States, recognizes achievement in the liberal arts. The society was founded on December 5, 1776, at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. The beginnings of Phi Beta Kappa at Connecticut College occurred in 1925 with the formation of the New London Phi Beta Kappa Association. Spearheaded by the College's second president, Benjamin Marshall, the association was open to PBK members who were on the College faculty or who resided in New London.

The next milestone occurred three years later when, on May 7, 1928, the faculty voted to establish the Winthrop Scholar Program to recognize students who attained high grades throughout their coursework. This program (named for John Winthrop the Younger, who founded New London and served as governor of Connecticut) fulfilled a long-standing desire to make more marked recognition of high scholarship at Connecticut College. On June 9th of that same year, the faculty voted to make this distinction retroactive for those who had previously received their degree from the College.

Under the leadership of President Katherine Blunt, Connecticut College made application for a PBK chapter to the Council of the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa. In September 1934, at their 18th triennial meeting, the Council granted a charter to the College for the establishment of a chapter. The Delta of Connecticut chapter was installed at Connecticut College on February 13, 1935. At that time, the faculty voted to retain the designation of Winthrop Scholar as its highest honor, reserved for students elected to Phi Beta Kappa in the fall term of their senior year.

In the years since, new members have been inducted each year. The Delta of Connecticut chapter has brought guest speakers to campus through the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars program, and sponsors a scholarship to support alumni of Connecticut College who are attending graduate school. Representatives of the chapter have also attended Triennial Council meetings at the national level. In 2024 the Winthrop Scholars distinction was renamed to Susanne K. Langer Scholars, to honor the former Professor of Philosophy.


2.1 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains the administrative files and historical documentation of the Winthrop Scholars Program and Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Connecticut College from its inception in 1928 through 2020.


This collection is arranged in two series, one for records of the Phi Beta Kappa chapter at Connecticut College (Delta of Connecticut) and one for publications and reports of the national organization.

Acquisitions Information

Transferred by Connecticut College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa Secretary/Treasurer MaryAnne Borelli on November 19, 2008. Additional files transferred 2013, 2020.

Processing Information

The collection was originally processed by Lori Looney in 2018. Accruals were added and the collection reprocessed by Deborah Kloiber, College Archivist, in April 2024.

Guide to the Phi Beta Kappa, Delta of Connecticut Chapter records
Lori Looney, revised by Deborah Kloiber
March 2018, revised April 2024
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives Repository

Connecticut College
270 Mohegan Ave
New London CT 06320 United States