History

1885—The Agonian Society

It all began at the Geneseo Normal School in 1885 when 17 women formed a literary organization—the Agonian Society—under the direction of school president William Milne. The society’s purpose was to study great works of literature and writers of the time, as well as to provide a social outlet for its members.

1892—The Agonian Fraternity

On October 8, 1892, the Agonian Society of the Geneseo Normal School united with societies of Oneonta and Fredonia to form a fraternity at what was called the First Annual Convention of the Agonian Fraternity. Geneseo became the Alpha Chapter of the Agonian Fraternity. Julia Wells, from Baldwinsville, NY, was named the first president of the Geneseo chapter.

We have a framed charter in our house that documents the First Annual Convention. It is handwritten in an ornate style and has an official gold seal, plus blue, white, and yellow ribbons (very similar to our current pledge pins). At the top of the charter is an anchor decorated with an “A”, a star, and pearls, which is the same design as our president’s pin and the anchor light that hangs at the highest peak in the front of our house. The Ago nautical theme seems to have been inspired by this anchor symbol that has been around since at least 1892.

The attendees at the convention were: Belle Minard, Alice McCurdy, Hattie Wycoff, Ella Falon, E. Morganstein, Minnie Lampson, Clara Gray, Ella Crane, Mabel Beebe, Hattie McGregor, Louise Herrick, Julia Wells, Mary Hazen, Fannie Haynes, Irene James, Libbie Haynes, Eva Cole, Flora Coykendall, Ellen Mather, and H. Hoagland.

The charter is signed by Mabel Jacques, President, and Nellie M. Hoard, Secretary, and dated October 27, 1901. We are not sure why the charter is dated nine years after the convention was held. Alumnae, please email us if you know the history behind this!

Click the thumbnail below to view a photo of the 1892 First Annual Convention charter.  

1895—Philathean Society

In 1895 the Agonians became pinned to the Philathean Society for men. The Philatheans eventually took the letters Phi Alpha Zeta and then Phi Sigma Epsilon (Phi Sigs). Today they are known as Phi Sigma Xi (Phigs). The two organizations depinned in 1974.

1928—Taking on Our Greek Letters

In 1928 an Agonian Convention was held in Oswego, NY. At this convention the constitution was revised and we were officially recognized as Alpha Kappa Phi.

1960’s – The Ago’s move into 26 Wadsworth Street

The Ago sisters began living in our current house at 26 Wadsworth Street during the 1960’s. The sister rented the house from Professor Neureiter until 1972 when he sold it to us. Check here for more history on our home.

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