The History of Phi Delta Theta Provinces
Today we look back on the history of province meetings. The first mention of utilizing provinces related to the structure of Phi Delta Theta came during the business discussions at the General Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in late October 1880.
During the Thursday, October 28 evening session, The Scroll reports officially “On the motion of Brother Reddig, Brothers Reddig, Parrish, and Owsley were appointed a committee to divide the chapters of the Fraternity into Provinces.”
Later on page 17 of the same edition, the details of the division are adopted.
“Brother Reddig presented the following report, which, on motion, was adopted:
Your committee on Dividing the Chapters of the Fraternity into Provinces recommend the following five Provinces:
Alpha Province, A. C. McCauley, president;
Vermont Alpha, Pennsylvania Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, and Maryland Alpha Alumni.
Beta Province, Scott Bonham, president;
Ohio Beta, Delta, Gamma, Epsilon, Delta, Zeta, Eta, Indiana Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Alpha Alumni, and Beta Alumni.
Gamma Province, Milo C. Summers, president;
Illinois Gamma, Delta and Epsilon, Missouri Alpha and Beta, Wisconsin Alpha, Michigan Beta, and Iowa Alpha.
Delta Province, Lyman Chalkley, president;
Kentucky Alpha, Tennessee Alpha and Beta, Virginia Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon, and Virginia Alpha Alumni.
Epsilon Province, J. M. Barrs, president;
North Carolina Alpha, South Carolina Alpha, Georgia Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta, Alabama Alpha, Alabama Beta, Mississippi Alpha, Texas Alpha and Alabama Alpha Alumni.
NOTE: The chapters are given by a list including several defunct chapters.”
J. Reddig, Gettysburg 1877
M. F. Parrish, Ohio 1876
W. W. Owsley Jr., Centre 1882
As early as 1910, we see reports of bi-province meetings, where two neighboring provinces convened to better the Fraternity through joining together and sharing ideas for improvement.
Joint Convention of Gamma and Eta Provinces
For the first time Gamma and Eta Provinces convened jointly on March 25 at Birmingham, Alabama, the great coal, iron, and steel center, and the headquarters of Eta Province. The usual balmy weather that characterizes the South in the springtime made the occasion most pleasant as it gave larger opportunities for outdoor entertainment and sightseeing.
All the delegates arrived on early trains greeted by a delegation from the Birmingham Alumni Club.
The active chapter of the University of Alabama arrived during the day with many visitors from Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. The delegates were seated at desks arranged in a semi-circle before the rostrum.
The meeting was called to order at eleven o’clock Friday morning by Monro B. Lanier, president of Eta Province, it having been decided that the two province presidents, W. R. Manier, Jr. of Gamma Province and M. B. Lanier, of Eta Province should alternate at the meetings as president and reporter.
See the full report in an early 1900s issue of The Scroll reporting about an early bi-province meeting held in 1910.
Flash forward to one of the more recent multiple province meetings during 2020 (just before the pandemic), including chapters from Central and Northeastern Ohio, plus all Michigan chapters.