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Tri Delta history
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  Founding members

Sarah Ida Shaw
Sarah Ida Shaw The inspirational force behind the founding of Tri Delta was Sarah Ida Shaw. Born in Missouri, Sally (her childhood name) moved to Boston at age six. There she was part of a large but close knit family. A brilliant student, she was valedictorian of her class at the Girls’ Latin School, and originally planned to attend Wellesley College. Her mother’s serious illness coupled with her father’s absence on business forced a change in plans and she enrolled in Boston University to which she commuted by horse-drawn car from her home in Roxbury.

Sarah was one of the best students in the class of 1889 at Boston University and her academic excellence was recognized by Phi Beta Kappa. All three of the women’s societies ( sororities) on campus had invited her to join, but she declined their invitations due to her family responsibilities and active personal life, as well as a preconceived notion that secret societies were foolish.

However, she came to realize that a fraternity could fill a great need for young women living away from home and their network of family and friends. This realization led her to start a fraternity - but one which would be different from the type she had seen. After her graduation, Sarah taught classical languages and German until her marriage in 1896. She continued her involvement with Tri Delta, serving as Grand President from 1889 - 1893; Grand Commissioner of Education from 1893 - 1897; and Grand Historian from 1987 - 1900. She attended Conventions when possible and wrote articles for The Trident.

In 1907, Ida Shaw Martin (she dropped the Sarah after her marriage) published and successfully marketed the first of eleven editions of The Sorority Handbook. The book contained advice on the organization and operation of fraternities, and thus began her thirty year career as a professional Greek consultant.

Ida Shaw Martin maintained close contact with Tri Delta’s leaders and her Fraternity until her death in 1940. Her vision and idealism never wavered. Tri Delta owes to her the beauty of the rituals and the knowledge that commitment to an ideal greater than ourselves can bring a new dimension into our lives. She was elected to the Fraternity Hall of Fame in 1976.

Eleanor Dorcas Pond
Eleanor Dorcas Pond Eleanor Dorcas Pond was valedictorian of her high school class and was awarded a scholarship to Boston University. During her freshman year she commuted by train from her home in West Medway, Massachusetts, and in later years boarded closer to campus and commuted by horse-drawn car. Eleanor had no interest in joining the established societies. A person of high intellectual ability, she was also fun-loving but practical young woman, a perfect compliment to Sarah Ida Shaw’s visionary personality. It was she who suggested the name be a triple letter, and she also influenced the development of the ritual, badge, emblems and Constitution.

She served as Grand Vice President until the first Convention. After teaching Latin and science for four years, Eleanor entered Tufts Medical College in 1893 and graduated with a degree in medicine in 1896. Her marriage to Arthur Mann in July of 1896 was attended by many Tri Deltas who sang a Tri Delta Song in place of the traditional wedding march.

The Manns first moved to Chicago where Arthur was an engineer and Eleanor practiced medicine, did post-graduate work, and lectured at the Chicago Post Graduate School. She founded the Chicago Alliance (alumnae chapter) in 1897.

Arthur Mann’s career took them all over the world, and after a year in Australia, they moved to Schenectady, NY, where for more than twenty years Dr. Eleanor Mann had a successful medical practice, specializing in obstetrics and diseases of children. She was active with the members of the Beta Chapter (St. Lawrence) and became a charter member of the Syracuse Alliance ( alumnae association). She attended the 1906 Convention hosted by the Omicron Chapter at Syracuse University, and her short speech describing her part in the founding of the Fraternity was a highlight of the banquet program.

She died suddenly in 1924 at the age of 56 from a stroke.

Florence Isabelle Stewart
Florence Isabelle Florence Isabelle Stewart was the youngest child of a village doctor who was in his eighties when she entered Boston University. Because the family has little money, it was difficult for Flora to remain in school. During her first years, she commuted from Medway with her high school friend Nellie Pond (Eleanor Dorcas Pond). Later she lived with a brother in Boston and helped with the housework and children which left her little time for anything but class work. Flora was an excellent student and salutatorian of her high school class. Her intelligence was matched by her beauty. From 1889 - 1893 she served as Grand Secretary, but was inactive in the Fraternity after this time.

For many years after her graduation from Boston University she taught Latin and Greek. She lived her last years as an invalid and died in 1932 at the age of 65.

Isabel Morgan Breed
Isabel Morgan Breed Isabel came from Lynn, Massachusetts. She had refused sorority bids because deep religious convictions made her question being part of a selective organization. After learning of Tri Delta’s principles, she consented to become a member.

After graduation she taught Greek and Latin from 1891 - 1903 and served as president of the Ladies Library Association of Randolph, Mass. Because of poor health, she retired to the family home in Lynn, Mass in 1903, where she lived with her three unmarried sisters.

She founded a branch of Alliance Francaise and served the Lynn Historical Society, DAR, the North Shore Club, and the Women’s Missionary Association of the Baptist Church in various capacities.

Her activity in Tri Delta is limited to serving as Grand Treasurer from 1889 - 1893, but her interest was unabated, and in her quiet and orderly life she reflected great credit upon the fraternity. During her last years, she spent much time in study. She died in 1915 at the age of 48.

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