The Theta Chapter Composite Digital Archive contains digitally preserved composite images. Each image contains information about members depicted and links to more related digital archival materials that are available at the Kappa Kappa Gamma Digital Archive and Interactive History site. As more preserved composites or other chapter archival materials are added to the Theta Chapter Digital Archive, they will be available to explore on this site.
The digital composite images are fully searchable by name, date, and even chapter officer position. Clicking on any face in a composite reveals a panel that contains any known biographical information and links to other archival items.
The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Theta Chapter
Six close friends from among 30 women students at the University of Missouri became Theta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma on April 2, 1875, with large flat keys and a charter from Grand Chapter Alpha as proof. The first female student had been admitted to the university only five years before, and Greek-letter organizations were as unfamiliar as the women.
Little is known about Theta Chapter’s founding except that it was accomplished “through Delta by correspondence.” Records probably were destroyed during the five years of sub rosa existence beginning in 1880, when the university banned secret societies. The Kappas continued to meet and initiate during these years, and there seems to have been a system of honorable dismissal with later reinstatement.
In 1876 a charter member was one of the first two women to graduate with a degree, and she became the first woman to win the Stephen’s Medal for oratory. To walk among the four buildings on campus, the early Thetas wore “walking suits,” as well as hats, gloves and veils. College life was serious; debates and literary programs enlivened the meetings.
In 1900, a daring idea struck the chapter—a house! Two year later one was rented and nine girls and a chaperone moved in. House rules ordered that bills must be paid; a budget must be kept; and social rules obeyed. The social rules, submitted for the dean’s approval, stipulated: No riding in carriages after dark unless to a dance; only three parlor dates a week; and callers leave before 10 p.m. Lingering farewells provoked a chorus of heels beating on the upstairs floor.
Edith Stoner (Robinson), chapter president and financial watchdog, was in charge when the Kappa Convention came to Columbia in 1904. She became Grand President four years later, after serving as Grand Registrar and Grand Secretary. During the Convention, Theta Chapter hosted a dance for the delegates in Read Hall despite a shortage of men. “No active on pain of death was allowed to dance, only the delegates.”
At the 1906 Convention, an opening and closing ritual for chapter meetings written by an early member of Theta Chapter was adopted.
Increased enrollment resulted in the formation of the Women’s Council and in 1909, Kappa called the first Panhellenic meeting as Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Phi and Delta Gamma had joined Pi Beta Phi and Kappa on the campus.
Marie Bryden Macnaughtan, for many years a Fraternity officer and a 1956 Loyalty award recipient, described her years in 1912–16 in college as years of gracious living in an orderly community.
Each year a larger house was moved into until 1913, when one was especially built for the chapter. Buying and furnishing the 10-room, Hitt Street house was a tremendous undertaking. The chapter was limited to 25; dues were $1; and monthly board, $20.