The Archives of Phi Gamma Delta

Archives Home Founders Traditions Today in History Historic Sites Leaders Exhibits/References Blog Contact

______________________________________________________________________

 

The Archives Blog

Follow us on Twitter, and visit our Facebook, Flickr and Zazzle pages.
 


Phi Gamma Delta Archives Blog RSS Feed
Class Day: Prelude to the Original Pig Dinner
5/20/2013
In honor of the original Pig Dinner, held May 18th, 1893, here is a contemporary newspaper article about the event the preceeded it: Class Day at the University of California.

The story is well told of how Ralph Hathorn (California 1893) brought out a barrel labeled "U. of C. Glee Club" which, when kicked, squealed like a pig. The joke was on the DKEs and Betas who controlled the Glee Club.  The pig . . . well, a week later, he became dinner.

This article puts the stunt in context.
 

"THE  MORNING  CALL," SAN FRANCISCO, SUNDAY, MAY 14, 1893. PAGE 8

A CROWNING DAY.

Celebration by the Class of Ninety-Three.

THE CO-ED CANYON CLIMAX.

Mirth and Music in the Winding Walks
Merrily Close the Berkeley College Year.

Berkeley was in festal array yesterday. From far and near the friends of the class of '93 had come to assist in the celebration of its "class day."

This day belongs peculiarly to the graduating class. It is the informal "adieu" of the seniors to their friends. No longer under the restraint of the college authorities they have one day of glorious fun.

By 10 o'clock yesterday morning the winding walks of the university grounds were thronged with people. The First United States Infantry band was stationed at the first bridge and until noon discoursed sweet music.

Under the branches of the spreading oaks and through the devious paths of the experimental grounds wandered the students and their friends. There was a marvelous mixture of costumes and colors. Sophomores in black tasseled mortar-boards jostled juniors in battered white plugs while seniors in black silk hats that were once new gazed in admiring awe on the graduates—the members of the class of '93—the heroes and heroines of the occasion. The selections played by the band were:

March........................."Rock Point Cadets"
Overture..................................."College"
selection........................."Bohemian Girl"
Waltz..................."Remembrance of Naples"
Piccolo solo...................."L'Giseau du Boise"
Terzetto and finale.........."Att la, Sergeant Fix"

At the conclusion of the concert the class of '93, preceded by the band, proceeded to the library building. Here L. E. Van Winkle dug a small hole and in it Harry H. McClaughry, the president of the class, planted the class ivy.

The ceremony was exceedingly brief, as no speeches were made. When it was over there was an interim of several hours, which was filled by luncheon and the pleasures of showing the visitors over grounds and buildings.

With one exception the clubhouses and secret societies had made elaborate preparations for the entertainment of their guests. The members of the Zeta Psi fraternity did not keep open house because of the death of Mrs. Peter Deane, the mother of one of their members. The other clubhouses were beautifully decorated and dainty menus had been prepared.

At 3 o'clock the graduating class, seventy-two strong, gathered in the shadow of south hall. The men were decorated with linen dusters and black silk hats in all stages of decrepitude. There were twenty young ladies, or "co-eds," in the procession that started for Co-ed Canyon. They were led by the University band and W. S. Braun, who, attired in an enormous black silk hat and with a big walking-stick as a baton, acted as drum-major.

Several thousand people were massed before the platform when the students arrived. Their advent was greeted with tumultuous applause. This was returned by the class with interest in their class yell:
Ho, hah, hay! We're O. K.
Ninety three, Ninety-three. Ho, hah, hay!

Then the First United States Infantry band played a dead march, which caused a great display of handkerchiefs by those on the platform.   This was a fitting introduction to Harry N. McClaughry, the president of the day. He spoke regretfully of the College sport that was to be no  more, and hopefully of the great work of the future. He then introduced the class historian, Jesse P. Sayre.

Mr. Sayre proceeded at once to demonstrate that the class of '93 was the most remarkable organization of its kind the university had ever known. Judging by the noise his speech provoked from those on the platform there can be no doubt that he met with complete success.

"We entered the university with a rush," he declared. "We were that tide in the affairs of men that leads on to victory. But in our first rush we proved with ropes that the sophomores were the tied."

He told of feats of strength on the field of sport, and of strategy in humiliating obstreperous freshmen. When he said that in their entertainments they were always remarkable "for the fullness of their enjoyment," the masculine element of the class smiled audibly.

He stated that with the choicest intellects culled from all parts of this great State, they had succeeded in forming the greatest and noblest organization Berkeley ever knew.

"We saw what others had done," he concluded, "and by almost superhuman exertion raised the records. And now as the historian of the largest and most intelligent class that has ever graced the classic shades of Berkeley, I bid you adieu."

After a short selection by the band, Miss Bertha Hull, the prophetess of the class, was introduced. Carried on the wing of some forecasting power through twenty years of time, she told of the conditions of her fellow-classmates as she saw them at that time. They were missionaries, streetcar drivers, schoolteachers, dudes and capitalists. Her remarks were received with a great deal of applause, es-pecially from those on the platform, who most appreciated her sly hits.

After the prophetess had retired Ralph L. Hathorn, the class dispensator, appeared with an express wagon loaded with presents for the different members of the class. He was dressed as an old-fashioned doctor and immediately exhibited a great sign:

PUBLIC  DISPENSARY.
FREE CLINIC

With a great deal of grandiloquence he called up the different members of the class to "take their medicine." The fun was fast and furious. Some of the presents were replete with suggestions of past adventures, and the sight of the blushing recipient sent the thousands of spectators into convulsions of laughter.

W. S. Braun was introduced as a leader of fashion and given a shirt of particularly striking pattern.

J. C. Hennings was the next victim. He was dressed up in the uniform of a Prussian army officer and a little tin sword was stuck in his belt. This was a tribute to his military record.

G. N. Foulks was given a serio-comic commission as lieutenant-colonel. He had worked hard for the real commission and had just missed it by a few points.

L. de F. Bartlett was introduced as Leroy de Fauntleroy Bartlett. Having been dressed in a flaxen wig, lace-trimmed velvet jacket with a broad red sash and a jaunty velvet tam-o'-shanter, he was told to turn around so that the people could see how pretty he was. This he did to the intense delight of the spectators.

One of the young ladies who, it was evident, believed in dress reform, was presented with a carefully wrapped box. The shape of the box made it as evident that the contents of the package were intended to render the female form divine symmetrical. On opening the box it was found to contain—not the supposed waist compressors but some delicious chocolate creams.

Fred S. Pheby was presented with a dozen hair crimpers and a particularly fetching bow. His appearance with his hair done up was very funny.

S. Moody Haskins was given a present "which he bad long desired." A diamond-shaped placard on which was printed the Greek letters, D. K. E., the symbol of the fraternity of that name, was suspended about his neck.

Another boy's heart was made glad by a pair of flowing straw-colored whiskers.

His friends had not recovered from the laughter caused by his so suddenly obtaining the object of his most earnest aspirations when they were again convulsed. This time it was by the dispensator's presenting a young lady with a stove-lid, which he stated was a beginning of the "declaration of domestic independence."

One of the bold, bad boys of the class was presented with a baby bottle full of beer which he was required to suck through a rubber mouthpiece. He was also given a pack of cards and some cigarettes. The heart-breaker of the class, E. T. Houghton, was attired in the wings and bow and arrow of Cupid much to the delight of the young ladies. He kept on his other clothes too.

Colonel L. E. Van Winkle was introduced as "Our Western Ward McAllister." On his back was a huge placard labeled "401." L. M. Solomons was given a hobby-horse as a reminiscence of the frequency with which he had ridden a certain hobby during the lectures of Professor Moses.

There were many other presents dispensed and many more blushing recipients retired to digest the congratulations of their friends on getting off so easily. By 6 o'clock it was all over.

In the evening there was a promenade concert in "Lover's Lane" from 8 o'clock to 10:30.

Much of the success of the day's fun was due to the energetic class day committee. This was composed of L. E. VAN Winkle, Miss E. M. Crondace, Jesse Kohsland, Edwin Mays, Miss S. M. Hardy, L. E. Hunt and David Low.


 

An Introduction to An Exile's Toast
5/10/2013

Adam Newman (Missouri 2000) asked about a good introduction for "An Exile's Toast." He is traveling from Utah to Missouri to perform it for the fifth time.  "I need more than The Katzenjammer Kids," said Adam. "I need to tell them why some Cal guy wrestled a pig and cooked it up while writing a long weird poem about missing Homecoming."

The origin of Pig Dinner is separate from "An Exile's Toast," although they have been conflated over the years, and understandably so because the participants are the same.  Here is the brief explanation I gave to Adam.

Norris was invited by "The Committee" as were all Cal graduates to attend a reunion dinner at that most ancient and famous of San Francisco restaurants, The Poodle Dog. It was to be held the day before the Cal-Stanford game. But Norris was in New York City working at the publishing house of Doubleday, Page & Company.

He wrote a comical regret, remembering the previous times they had gathered at The Poodle Dog, and calls out many of the brothers: Jimmy White, George Gibbs, John March, etc. That part about "leads Shermans at Lunt's Hall" refers to dances at a local club, and there's a particular call out for Captain Edward Selfridge ("a howlin' martinet") who, as an officer of the 71st New York during the Spanish American War, fought up San Juan Hill. Norris was there too, as a war correspondent.

The second half recalls why they are gathering - the big game on Thanksgiving Day - and recalls the many brothers now spread across the globe (Chunky, Corbett, Rethers, etc.). All their thoughts are with the brothers gathered to dine and see the game. Though distance separates us, we are one in spirit; let's stand and drink a toast to that!

To learn more: 

 

May 1st, 1848: The Formation
5/1/2013

Phi Gamma Delta celebrates its founding date as May 1st, 1848.  The original minutebook preserves what occured on that Monday evening 165 years ago:

The Association convened according to the adjournment and was organized by calling J. T. McCarty to the chair.  The committee appointed to draft a Constitution then submitted their report which was received and adopted. The members then respectively signed their names to the Constitution and thus was established the order of the Phi Gamma Delta at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in the year Anno Domini 1848.  An election for officers was then entered into which resulted in the choice of S. B. Wilson, J. T. McCarty and N. Fletcher. On motion the Grammateus was ordered to purchase a small blank book for the purpose of transcribing the Constitution.

On motion a committee of one was appointed to draw up a report in relation to the establishment of foreign chapters.  Committee, S. B. Wilson.  On motion the Chapter adjourned to meet tomorrow evening at 9 o'clock.

J. T. McCarty, Chair.
N. Fletcher,  Sec.

Over the next month and a half, the Immortal Six recruited eighteen others to join the "Delta Association." They also founded a second chapter at nearby Washington College, which subsequently awarded every commencement honor to Phi Gamma Deltas. It was an auspicious beginning for the new fraternity.

 

The First Meeting
4/22/2013

On a Saturday evening in 1848, six Jefferson College students met in a boarding house and determined to found a fraternity.  Their names, ages, and hometowns:

John Templeton McCarty, 18, Brookville, Indiana.
James Elliott Jr., 23, Lawrenceburg, Pennsylvania. 
Samuel Beatty Wilson, 24, Mercer Co., Pennsylvania. 
Ellis Bailey Gregg, 20, Green Co., Pennsylvania. 
Daniel Webster Crofts, 19, Columbiana Co., Ohio.
Naaman Fletcher, 24, Sidney, Ohio.

All were in the class of 1848 except Fletcher, from the class of 1849.

The minutes of the first meeting are as follows.

Saturday Night, April 22, 1848.

Messrs Jno. T. McCarty, Jas. Elliott, D. W. Crofts, S. B. Wilson, E. B, Gregg and N. Fletcher, students of Jefferson College at Canonsburgh, Pa., at a social meeting and while conversing on the subject of association came to the conclusion that a Society founded upon the principle of secrecy, into which none but men of distinguished talents and acquirements, endued with a high sense of Honor and possessed of a laudable ambition and who were members of some college (at the time of their admission) should be admitted, would be of incalculable benefit to those thus uniting, thereupon determined to organize and establish such an association whereupon Mr. S. B. Wilson was called to the chair and N. Fletcher appointed Secretary.  After many suggestions on the part of those present a committee of two was appointed to draft a constitution and report at the next meeting.  Committee, Messrs S. B. Wilson and Jas. Elliott.

On motion the meeting adjourned to meet on Monday evening May 1st, at 9 o'clock precisely.

S. B. Wilson, Chair.
N. Fletcher, Sec.

They would next meet on May 1st to ratify the constitution of Phi Gamma Delta.

 

Origin of the Norris Pig Dinner
3/20/2013

With Pig Dinner season righ around the corner I thought it would be a good idea to post an article on how the longest running chapter based graduate event in the Greek World got started:


Origin of the Norris Pig Dinner and 'An Exile's Toast'

Roots in the 1890s with Noted Author Frank Norris (California 1894)

Pig DinnerIn the nineteenth century, "Class Day" was a public student exhibition featuring orations by chosen seniors, among other entertainment. At the class day exercises of the University of California in 1893, the dispensator was Brother Ralph L. Hathorn (California 1893). He took occasion to rap the Delta Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi fraternities for monopolizing campus activities, particularly the "glee club." Glee clubs provided musical entertainment and school spirit - part chorus, part cheerleading section. In the days before phonographs or radio, they were an important and popular campus activity.

Hawthorn's stunt consisted in bringing on the platform a barrel labeled "U. of C. Glee Club," tied with a cord symbolic of the strangle-hold established by these two rival societies. Out of this barrel tumbled a squealing pig - a commentary on the Dekes' and Betas' singing ability.


Some say the pig escaped and was pursued by Fijis with murderous intent. At any rate, that night the suckling pig was incarcerated at the Fiji house on Dana Street in Berkeley.
Frank Norris (1894) wrote an elaborate mock ceremony. On May 18 at 6 P.M., twenty Fijis made the Delta realm resound with "All Hail the Pig!" Hathorn, as master of ceremonies, then called upon every member present to renew his bond of allegiance, fidelity, and alliance, and to seal his vow on the bended knee by the solemn ordeal of kissing the pig's snout. After the banquet . . . at the break of dawn, Frank Norris was inspired to propose that they perpetuate the memory of the occasion by a perennial graduate chapter pig dinner and rally.


These Fiji dinners occurred annually the night before Thanksgiving and the Stanford vs. California football games. They were always held at the Old Poodle Dog restaurant on the southeastern corner of Bush and Grant streets, San Francisco. Wallace Everett (California 1897) wrote, "This habit continued up to the time of the great fire in 1906. . . . While the heartiest of good fellowship reigned and cocktails and red wine were to be had at all times for the asking, there were no evidences of over-indulgence to be found at these dinners. We were there for a good time and we had it, but the morning found us ready for the big game rally and all the excitement attendant upon this annual event. That was the Fiji attitude of those days."

An Exile's Toast
was read at the November 28, 1900 dinner. Frank Norris sent his poem from far away New Jersey in response to the graduate chapter's invitation, which was signed "The Committee." Thirty-two brothers attended, including Section Chief Edward Selfridge (California 1894) and Frank's brother Charles (California 1896). Ralph Hathorn was toastmaster. Almost everyone in attendance knew Frank Norris personally.


Interestingly, some business occurred amidst the fellowship. C. B. Lamont (Cornell 1900) wrote to The Phi Gamma Delta, "During the course of the toasts the subject of a chapter at Stanford was brought up and very actively discussed. . . . A committee was chosen at the banquet to look into the subject . . . ." Lambda Deuteron Chapter was finally rechartered two years later.

Frank Norris died in 1902. He was a nationally known author, having published several highly regarded novels and short stories. Fittingly, the annual Pig Dinner festivity was dedicated to him and began to spread across the Fraternity. In early 1903, pig dinners were held at Denison, Wabash, and Indiana; the latter wrote in the magazine, "our dinner . . . surpassed all previous gatherings. It was simply great. . . . Resolve to give a pig dinner before the close of the year. We guarantee that you will repeat it next year." Within a few years, almost every chapter had adopted the event.
From this small dinner of those days when Delta Xi had less than fifty members on its roster, has come the Norris Dinner of all Fijidom to symbolize the spiritual ideal of good fellowship in the fraternity so perfectly exemplified in Norris the Man.



From The History of Phi Gamma Delta, Tomos Beta with excerpts from "Frank Norris In His Chapter" by Wallace W. Everett (California 1897), The Phi Gamma Delta Volume 52 No. 6, April 1930, pp.560-566.

-Posted by Andrew Wethall