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Gamma Chapter


Established Fall 1892 at Geneseo Normal School

In the fall of 1892 a number of young ladies attending the Geneseo Normal decided to organize themselves into a literary society.  At the time there were two strong societies for young ladies existing in the school, and as the leading students were members of these the outlook was somewhat discouraging.  But the early organizers were active and enthusiastic and the result of their efforts was apparent from the outset; for the present strong and prosperous chapter of Arethusa is the outgrowth of their efforts.


Starting without a treasury, with no furniture, no room in which to hold meetings and two well organized rivals in the field, the outlook was indeed discouraging.  But these original members were imbued with the right spirit and the beneficial results of their work became apparent.  They organized by electing Miss Elizabeth O’Grady as president, Julia Ganiard; Secretary, Eliza C. Harvey; Treasurer, Helen Waterbury; Teller, Ava S. Hooker; Critic, Clarabel Milliman.


Originally they were known as the Athenaean Society, a sister organization to the Zetomatheans.  In the winter of 1894 the Zetomatheans were invited to join the Gamma Sigma fraternity and became the chapter of that organization.  The Athenaeans were immediately afterward visited by a delegate from the Brockport chapter of Arethusa and invited to join that fraternity as the Gamma Chapter.  As Arethusa was a sister of Gamma Sigma the Athenaenas were only too eager to follow the course of the old Zetomatheans and allied themselves with the Arethusa fraternity.  This was a fortunate step for them, as that fraternity with its Alpha Chapter at Brockport is one of the strongest young ladies fraternities below the rank of college fraternities, and includes in its membership women of national fame.  In Geneseo this society occupies rooms on the third floor of the Normal, nicely furnished with hardwood floor, and the necessary pictures, hangings and furniture to make it an ideal place for meetings and social gatherings.  From our ranks have gone forth young ladies who have won honor and distinction as teachers, and in other lines.


In Geneseo there are a number of former members who have made their school town their home and who frequently visit our meetings.  When thus favored we always ask them to tell of the early struggles of Athenea and Arethusa.  They never fail to respond, narrating to us the story of our pioneer adventures and experiences, and showing that we are indeed a strong organization.  Second to none and “at the top” in senses than the literal one.

Arethusa Room at Geneseo Normal School.g
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