The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International came into being on May 11, 1929 at the Faculty Women’s Club at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas. The Society was the dream of a great lady, Dr. Annie Webb Blanton, who envisioned a functioning organization uniting women teachers throughout the world to further noble ideals and worthy purposes.
Dr. Blanton, member of the faculty of the University of Texas and a former State Superintendent of Public Instruction, selected eleven other Texas women to help her found the Delta Kappa Gamma Society. She and the other Founders believed that there was a need for an organization in which women educators representing all areas of the educational spectrum might be united for efforts toward better professional preparation, fairer recognition of women’s work in the teaching profession, and more scholarships available to aid women educators in improving their professional preparation.
The Society is now in every state of the United States and in 17 countries. Today, more than 55,000 members are carrying on the purposes and ideals set by Dr. Annie Webb Blanton in 1929.
Nine years after the Delta Kappa Gamma Society was founded in Austin, Texas, in 1929, Dr. Nila B. Smith, a Delta Kappa Gamma member came to Indiana University as a professor of education. When she discovered that there was no chapter here, she wrote to Dr. Annie Webb Blanton, the founder of Delta Kappa Gamma, to inquire about the possibility of getting the Society into our state. Dr. Blanton followed her usual procedure for securing names of outstanding women educators in a state by writing to schools and universities. The founders and charter members of Alpha Epsilon State were selected from these recommendations.
It is interesting to note that because of the unusually large number of qualified women in Indiana, seventeen were chosen to be founders instead of the traditional twelve. After much planning and preparation, Dr. Blanton came to Indiana to install Alpha Chapter in Bloomington on January 26, 1938.
It was a bright winter day, January 29, 1938, when Alpha Chapter came to the Travertine Room of the Hotel Lincoln in Indianapolis to install Alpha Epsilon State, Delta Kappa Gamma. As founder Mary Beeman recalled, "When I entered the Travertine Room of the Lincoln Hotel, I was pleased to see a number of my friends, so I felt I was in good company. I also noticed a dignified woman with a calm face briskly arranging candles, red roses, and other insignia about the tables. I knew this was Dr. Blanton. She was assisted by two women who were members of Alpha Chapter initiated in Bloomington.
"When the group assembled, Dr. Blanton explained the purposes and ideals of Delta Kappa Gamma, an honorary fraternity of women teachers. She, with the help of the two Alpha members, proceeded to initiate the founders, a meaningful and beautiful service, which left an indelible impression on me." Not included in this service were Margaret Shepard and Dr. Smith who were already members, and Lilian Brownfield, who was initiated at a later date in the study of the home of State charter member, Edna McGuire Boyd.
Continuing the precedent set in selecting the original founders, the women chosen to be Alpha Epsilon State founders were from all areas of the state and represented a broad cross section of the teaching profession ranging from the elementary classroom through the university and into administration. Alpha Epsilon State was launched by outstanding women educators.
As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Indiana State Organization of DKG International’s founding, our name, our procedures, and ways of communication have all made outreach more feasible throughout the international scope of the organization. However, our purposes, principles and vision remain as Dr. Blanton and ensuing leaders had envisioned: Leading women educators impacting education worldwide.
Last Update: March 30, 2022
Webmaster: Sheila Akers
Webmaster: Sheila Akers