Bettie Locke, Alice Allen, Bettie Tipton, and Hannah Fitch were four young women who decided that they were missing something in their college experience, something that would help ensure they would stay connected and supported with each other and other young women in higher education. So, they created Kappa Alpha Theta on Jan. 27, 1870.
Like our members today, they each brought something special to the table to make what they created even stronger.
- Bettie Locke Hamilton: From descriptions of Bettie by others, we can glean that Bettie saw herself as someone who could and would take on challenges, and who saw within herself the confidence to do something that had a lasting impact on those around her.
- Alice Allen Brant: Alice’s career as a teacher was a committed one, having begun while she was a college student, and continued after her graduation in 1871 where she taught in local schools. She acquired certifications to further her abilities and to take on new challenges in new locations moving from Indiana, then to Illinois, and then to Iowa before she married.
- Bettie Tipton Lindsey: After Bettie got married and moved to Missouri, she became known for helping people. She took on challenges for her friends. One story shares that Bettie took it upon herself to advocate for her friend’s needs after the friend became injured.
- Hannah Fitch Shaw: Accounts of Hannah describe her as a quiet, shy individual, but she was undoubtedly involved, worked with others, and supported the special organization that that she helped found. Whether it was working on the school newspaper (one of the first women to do so) or participating in activities within her community, Hannah supported others to do and be their best.
These qualities are still present in Theta’s members today. I often wonder what those four—Bettie, Alice, Bettie, and Hannah—would say now. As a historian, I am always cautious to remember that they are historical figures and have not shared the experiences we have had in this time and place. But, I do think that they would be proud to see how far Theta has come over all these years.
At Grand Convention 1924, Bettie Locke said, “[I] am truly thankful, as never before, that in my girlhood I could do a little something for lovely girls as I met all along these past fifty years...” I think we can say she would feel the same reflecting over the past 154 years.