The First Sixty Years of Chi Chapter Delta Tau Delta By Rufus Southworth (1900)
In compiling this history of Chi Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, Brother Rufus Southworth has rendered a service of inestimable value to all the members of Chi. He has done a job which few others could have done as well, for he has known personally and associated intimately with men whose membership in Chi goes back to the first years of the chapter’s life and to whose devotion and loyalty we are indebted for the Chi of today.
For years I had been trying to induce some qualified member of Chi to undertake this task that “Brick” has done so well. Because of my failure in this effort, I had decided to attempt writing this history myself. With this end in view, I wrote to many of our alumni for information concerning their years as actives, and I received most helpful letters in reply. In addition, there came from Brother Southworth an offer to come to Gambier and to relieve me of the details involved in the compiling of this history. I gladly accepted this offer and turned over to him the material I had gathered. I was also privileged to assist him in his work, to take several suggestions, to edit his manuscript and to put it into final form. I am confident that this story of the live of Chapter Chi will be a source of information and of inspiration for many years to come.
W.C. Seitz, 1915
This history and the above foreword were written over 25 years ago. At that time, many of our older alumni, while deeply appreciative of Brother Southworth’s work, felt that it should not be generally circulated. They feared that his account of the difficulties placed in the way of Chi Chapter during its early years might tend to revive long forgotten animosities.
I am of the opinion that the need for such reticence no longer exists.
In the first place, there was formerly no accepted code of conduct governing interfraternity relations. Any weapon – detraction, innuendo, even falsehood – seemed justified in what was often internecine warfare (e.g., “jumping” from one fraternity to another was not regarded as evidence of moral depravity). So, we should judge the opposition, which Chi Chapter early faced and the tactics used against it not by the uncompromising standards of honor that characterized Brick Southworth but by the accepted practices of the 1980s.
In the second place, the enrollment at Kenyon College was, during these years of Chi Chapter’s difficulties, at a very low figure. One of our alumni has stated that during his freshman year, there were 29 students in the entire college. Those opposed to the introduction of Chi Chapter argued that since Kenyon College already had chapters of five national fraternities, there was no real need of a sixth. Even we members of Delta Tau Delta would have to concede that their position was not without justification.
In the third place, we must remember that the difficulties faced by Chi Chapter were not unique. At one time, the membership of the chapter shrank to one man. Alumni of two of the older fraternities represented at Kenyon have informed me that the membership in their respective chapters was at one time likewise reduced to one man. Another chapter at Kenyon had no actives for a full year and had to be revived by returning alumni. A fourth lost its charter and passed out of existence. The story of Chi Chapter must be read with these facts in mind.