May is Preservation Month, a time when we traditionally highlight historic sites and structures. In honor of the month. I expanded it to include historical markers that note Theta notables as well as specific sites. While we might not be able to travel in person to these locations just yet thanks to the pandemic, many are visible virtually.
Alpha/DePauw in Greencastle, Ind.: The Indiana State Historical Marker notes the founding of Kappa Alpha Theta. The current chapter facility was built in 1940, but it replaced a structure that the chapter acquired in the 1920s. The family that owned the house had several Theta daughters and the previous owners also had Theta daughters, and they even entertained the 1876 Grand Convention attendees in their home.
Beta Tau/Denison in Granville, Ohio: Nicknamed “The Wee White House”, a local group called Chi Psi Delta bought this house in 1904, making it the first sorority house on the campus. The local became a Theta chapter in 1929. The original part of the building was built in 1808 by Elias Gilman.
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek, Fla.: Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Psi/Wisconsin, was a noted author, receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1939 for her work The Yearling. Rawlings was the chapter secretary during her college days, and her submitted chapter letters in the Theta Magazine reflect her writing abilities. The state park preserves her homestead as it was in the 1930s, where she wrote books and short stories.
Anna Botsford Comstock, Iota/Cornell: Anna Comstock is considered the leader of the nature study movement in the U.S. The marker, located near her birthplace in Otto, N.Y., notes her work. Comstock was the first female professor at Cornell and regularly hosted Thetas at her home.
Agnes DeMille, Beta Xi/UCLA: DeMille is known for her work as a choreographer, particularly for Oklahoma, Carousel, and Brigadoon and for numerous books about dance. The marker is located near de Mille’s burial location in Forestburgh, N.Y.
Maud Menten, Sigma/Toronto: A medical researcher, she is most known for the Michaelis-Menten equation which looks at the reaction rate and enzyme concentrations; the equation is still used today. Menten received her Ph.D. from The University of Chicago in 1916, and worked at the University of Pittsburgh for most of her career, including as head of pathology at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Her plaque is in Toronto, near South Queen’s Park and the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Toronto.
Do you know of a historic building or historical marker related to a Theta? We welcome your suggestions! And check out the Theta Magazine's Spring 2017 Ask the Archivist page for more places named after Thetas.