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From the Archives and Special Collections

Archived Scrapbooks Tell of Bridgewater Normal School’s Role in Fraternity’s Founding
Story Series
Bridgewater Magazine

“Fourteen specimens of the genus homo, banded together by the sacred ties of fraternal brotherhood, met in [the] dining hall at 7:00 p.m. sharp…a number of [speeches] were made all expatiating on the desirability of perpetuating this secret band of brothers. Suffice it to be said, that an organization was effected [sic] which we hope may be as lasting as the university itself.”

This entry in the diary/scrapbook of Nahum Leonard from April 14, 1900, depicts the setting of the first official meeting of what would soon be known as the Kappa Delta Phi fraternity.

BSU’s Archives and Special Collections is home to two of Mr. Leonard’s scrapbooks. He studied at what was then the Bridgewater Normal School, beginning in 1899 and graduating in 1902. The scrapbooks offer a glimpse into the earliest days of the fraternity when it was a fledgling idea yet to take root.

The books also feature Mr. Leonard’s thoughts on a variety of matters, as his diary entries are mixed in throughout, a rarity for scrapbooks from this time. He and his fraternity brothers had on their minds the usual college-boy stuff – sports, girls, friends, and groups and organizations to join.

Today, more than a century after the fraternity’s founding, there are approximately 30 Kappa Delta Phi chapters from New England to Pennsylvania. BSU’s is still in existence, though at times membership has dwindled, and efforts have been made to boost its numbers.

Nahum Leonard had an inkling that the fraternity would last. On June 23, 1900, he wrote in his scrapbook, “the society is destined for eternity. Long live Kappa Delta Phi.”

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