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Gateway to Women's History

The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is a professional honorary Society of women educators. The Society promotes professional and personal growth of its members and excellence in education.

Sharing Our Vision - Strengthening Our Society

Established in 1929, Delta Kappa Gamma has attained major objectives in improving opportunities for qualified women employed at every level of education, as well as in advancing the status of women educators.

To this end, the Purposes set forth by the Founders continue to embody the spirit of the Society. The Purposes have grown and changed over time, but continue to be as valid in today's contemporary world as when first adopted. The Mission and Vision support the Purposes.

The Society’s Origins

The large two-story, red brick house with its Victorian cupolas, was listed in the University of Austin's telephone directory as the University Faculty Women's Club. Great oaks shaded the veranda where Dr. Blanton greeted her Austin friends and those who had come by train to help her found Kappa Gamma Delta, later to be renamed The Delta Kappa Gamma Society.

The founding group of twelve women educators represented a cross-section of the teaching profession. There was a grade school teacher, a dean of women, three high school teachers, three elementary school principals, and four college professors—Dr. Blanton was a professor of rural education at the University of Texas. In addition to Dr. Blanton, five of the members were from Austin: Anna Hiss, Helen Koch, Lalla M. Odom, Cora M. Martin and Ruby Terrill (Lomax). Already looking ahead to the formation of other chapters across Texas, Dr. Blanton had invited to membership six women educators from cities outside of Austin: Mamie Bastian from Houston, Ruby Cole from San Antonio, Lela Lee Williams from Dallas, Mabel Grizzard from Waxahachie and Ray and Sue King from Fort Worth.

The founding of the Society was the culmination of several years of dreaming and planning. Ideas for the structure of the organization, its purposes and procedures had been evolving gradually. Letter after letter from Dr. Blanton to the prospective Founders carried drafts of the Constitution and Ritual to be scrutinized and criticized. Frequent meetings of the Austin women, especially those who lived at the Faculty Women's Club, brought modifications and refinements.... By the lengthy process of conferences and correspondence, many differences of opinion had been resolved among the twelve Founders before May 11.

The financial aspects of the Society had to be determined—on the local, state and national basis. There were committees to be appointed and duties to define. The symbolism and the insignia were to be discussed. The official song seemed to be the one finished product in readiness. Mrs. Martin had somewhat rephrased Dr. Blanton's lyric so that it could be sung to the tune 'Men of Harlech'. Shortly after the initiation ceremony, the Founders sat down to work on the draft of the Constitution.

The Founders were well aware of the criticism that might be leveled at this new Society. Not only men, but also many women, opposed women's organizations. The suffrage movement had stirred strong reactions that could not be ignored. Within the teaching profession, discrimination was the rule rather than the exception. The practice was general that as soon as a woman teacher married, she was dropped from the staff. The few scholarships granted by colleges usually went to men. In university faculties, as in public schools, efficient qualified women educators were denied promotions. They were rarely elected to office or boards of professional organizations. These conditions combined to influence the purposes of the Society, the qualifications for membership and the manner in which Kappa Gamma Delta developed.

Patiently, meticulously the Founders worked through the mass of details that demanded attention that night. Dr. Blanton was authorized to secure drawings for a fraternity key to be submitted by mail to the other Founders for their choice. They adopted the colors—crimson and gold; they discussed additional initiation paraphernalia; they authorized a committee to secure incorporation papers for the state and national Kappa Gamma Delta.

It had been a strenuous and important business meeting which had stretched into the early morning hour. Sue King, exhausted, had retired before the close of deliberations; but, by adjournment time, the pattern had been drawn for a Society unique in the annals of organizations and destined to become the largest of its kind in the world.

Charter members of Alpha Chapter, Austin, TX – 1929

  • Dr. Annie Webb Blanton - assisted in the founding of 80 chapters and 35 state organizations.
  • Mrs. Lalla Odom - along with Dr. Blanton, installed Alpha Chapter on June 3, 1929, following the founding of the Society in May. Several chapters claim Lalla Odom as their organizer.
  • Dr. Anna Hiss
  • Cora Martin - assisted with the organization of Alpha Sigma State Organization (Washington) and the installation of Gamma State Organization (Oklahoma), and installed Alpha Epsilon, Alpha Zeta, Alpha Eta, Beta Tau chapters in Texas.
  • Mrs. Ruby Terrill Lomax - founded Gamma State Organization (Oklahoma) in 1932 and assisted with the installation of Alpha Beta, Alpha Delta, and Alpha Omega Chapters in Texas.
  • Dr. Helen Koch
  • Dr. Koch founded Lambda State Organization (Illinois) in 1935 and was a charter member of Illinois Kappa Chapter in 1937.

Charter Member of Beta Chapter, San Antonio, TX – 1929

  • Miss Ruby Cole - organized Upsilon Chapter in Texas

Charter Members of Delta Chapter, Fort Worth, TX – 1929

Charter Member of Epsilon Chapter, Dallas, TX – 1929

  • Miss Lela Lee Williams

Charter Member of Gamma Chapter, Houston, TX – 1929

  • Miss Mamie Sue Bastian - credited with founding 13 chapters in Texas and helping establish six state organizations

Charter Member of Alpha Alpha, Waxahachie, TX – 1931

  • Miss Mabel Grizzard

Source: DKG Texas State Organization Archives, Betty M. Vines and Jean Webb 2006 Our Heritage, The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, 1960.

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Delta Kappa Gamma artifacts, including a banner, ribbons, and dolls in a black suitcase
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