The Delphic Society of Rochester – Our Fraternity’s Ancestor

delphicgst News

rush-rhees-library-university-of-rochester-rochesterWe, as an organization, have known of the existence of the Delphic Society at Rochester since the mid-1990s. Our historian looked into the history of the Delphic Society at Rochester and at the time did not see a clear connection between the Delphic Society at Rochester and the one from Geneseo, our alpha chapter. However, recent historical findings have now led us to finally illustrate a link between the two college literary societies, based at locations physically separated by only 30 miles.

The connection came to light with the confirmation that William J. Milne was instrumental in the founding of the Delphic Society at Geneseo in 1871. Professor Milne came from the Brockport Normal School along with students who transferred to Geneseo to become part of the first graduating class. Milne was previously involved with a literary society at Brockport. Milne first experienced literary society debates and exercises while he was a student at the University of Rochester. At Rochester, Milne participated in the last public debate sponsored by the Delphic Society in December 1866. He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1868. Milne was then a member of the teaching faculty at Brockport for a few years before being appointed the first principal of the Geneseo Normal School. The school opened its doors to students in September 1871.

On October 13, 1871, Principal Milne helped former students from Brockport and new students at Geneseo establish the Delphic Society at Geneseo. The seminal concept for the Delphic Society at Geneseo was the Delphic Society at Rochester, which was founded on November 2, 1850. This new finding very much supports to the point of confirmation something we have hypothesized about for quite some time. We had a good idea the origins of the literary society predated Geneseo in 1871, but we did not know the exact location of or the time frame for the organizational ancestor of the fraternity.

The Delphic Fraternity was founded in 1871 when the Delphic Society at Geneseo was formed. The literary society at Geneseo, however, stemmed from a predecessor organization at the University of Rochester founded in 1850.

The Delphic Fraternity was founded in 1871 in Geneseo, NY. It can now trace its ancestral origin back to the Delphic Society founded in 1850 in Rochester, NY.

The Delphic Fraternity, 1871. The Delphic Society, 1850.