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Epsilon Sigma Phi records


Epsilon Sigma Phi records
Epsilon Sigma Phi
Collection number:
65-3; 87-103; 97-135; 2012-39; 2011-138; 2015-037
6.25 linear feet
Bulk dates:
Inclusive dates:
Collection Area:
University of Maryland
Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries, Hornbake Library, College Park, MD 20742. Tel: 301-405-9212, Fax: 301-314-2709, Email:

The Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi was organized at the University of Maryland in 1928. This chapter of the honorary fraternity for agricultural extension agents has emphasized the attainment of professional excellence and the encouragement of 4-H programs, among other goals. The files of the Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi include correspondence, reports, publications, photographs, financial records, and documentation of members' achievements.

Important Information for Users of the Collection


Yes, some files in this collection are restricted. Please contact the Archives and Manuscripts Department for more information.

Preferred citation:

Epsilon Sigma Phi records, Special Collections, University of Maryland Libraries.

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Publication rights:

Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.


This collection is PROCESSED.

Historical Note

Epsilon Sigma Phi is an honorary professional fraternity for agricultural extension agents. Founded on January 10, 1927, in Bozeman, Montana, the fraternity soon attracted members nationwide. According to the fiftieth anniversary handbook for the Tau Chapter, the purpose of the fraternity was "to promote fellowship among Extension workers, to uphold ideals of superior work and to encourage advanced training." The fraternity met these goals by recognizing outstanding extension workers with awards, by establishing a scholarship loan fund for the use of members, and by holding an annual banquet and meeting at which members socialized and participated in a program relating to extension work. Epsilon Sigma Phi also pushed for colleges to grant academic rank, sabbatical leave, and other privileges to extension employees and was instrumental in the movement to provide retirement benefits for agricultural extension workers.

Mr. William A. Lloyd, a representative of the Cooperative Extension Service, organized the Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi at College Park, Maryland, on January 19, 1928. There were thirteen charter members; Thomas B. Symons was the first chief. To be considered for membership, candidates for induction had to have performed satisfactory service for at least ten years as an extension worker; the period was reduced to five years in 1964. Candidates also had to be currently employed at least half-time by the University of Maryland and/or by the federal Extension Service of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Traditionally the Tau Chapter held one meeting a year, at the time and place of the Annual Extension Conference. There were also several executive meetings a year, and occasionally spring and fall meetings were held. To foster continuing education, the Tau Chapter made membership loans and scholarships available for members. The Chapter also encouraged 4-H programs through their 4-H Recognition Award to county leaders. In 1952 the Tau Chapter started the Hall of Service to recognize those persons who had completed twenty-five years of work in extension, and in 1975, the chapter initiated the Rookie of the Year Award, recognizing a person who had been on the Maryland Cooperative Extension Service staff for more than one year but less than two and who had shown special talent and energy in carrying through a program.

The Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi continues to be active in 2015

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The records of the Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi cover the period 1928 to 2011 and contain correspondence, financial records, constitutions, directories, publications, and minutes. These records document the administrative activities and services of the chapter. Important subjects include Greek letter societies, the Association of Land Grant Colleges and Universities, 4-H, Smith-Lever Act, and the Federal Retirement Act. Among the correspondents are: Thomas A. Coleman; Seaman A. Knapp; A. Frank Lever; W. A. Lloyd; E. I. Oswald; Rep. Vincent L. Palmisano; Madge J. Reese; S. B. Shaw; Georgianan Smurwaite; Thomas B. Symons; and James Wilson.

Custodial History and Acquisition Information

The records of the Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi were deposited by Theodore L. Bissell, historian for Tau Chapter, in the University of Maryland Libraries on March 29, 1965. Additional materials separated from various university archival record groups during processing were incorporated into the collection in January 2000. Material donated by Dr. Richard Angus in 2011and David Ross in 2014 was incorporated into the collection in 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by:

Addenda incorporated into processed collection and finding aid revised by Allyson Raines, January 2012. Addenda incorporated by Deborah Ross and Susan Moore, August 2015. Finding aid revised by Kendall Aughenbaugh, August 2015.

Processing note:

Staples were pulled and replaced with plastic clips. Items were refoldered in acid-free folders. Photographs were moved to the photograph collection. Fraternity pin and pendant moved to the memorabilia collection.

Encoded by:

EAD markup created using EAD database in Microsoft Access. Markup completed by Dan Schwartz, May 2006.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series 1: Tau Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, 1928-2009 (4.75 linear feet)

Series I is comprised of three subseries of files, containing correspondence, membership lists, reports of chapter activities, minutes, constitutions, by-laws, financial documents, and other materials that document the administrative and financial activities of the Tau Chapter. Also included in this series are biographies, death notices, eulogies, and photographs of deceased members.

The majority of the correspondence relates to the annual meeting and banquet and membership eligibility. Madge J. Reese, Grand Secretary-Treasurer, is the most frequent correspondent.

Subseries 1 features letters written from 1956 to 1975 by A. F. Vierheller, Extension Pomologist, commonly known as the "Vierheller Newsletter," that provide updates on extension workers, including their activities and health. Vierheller also used the newsletter to comment on a variety of topics, politics and world events in particular.

Subseries 1.1: Administration, 1928-2009 (3.00 linear feet)

This subseries includes correspondence relating to membership eligibility; meetings, especially the Annual Meeting and Banquet; and chapter awards. Also included are membership and personnel lists; committee assignments, reports, minutes, and correspondence; the "Vierheller Newsletter"; reports of chapter activities; constitutions and by-laws; responses to Yearbook questionnaires; information on chapter awards; and the records of the chapter secretary. Files are arranged alphabetically by document type or subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Annual meeting and banquet (correspondence, minutes, programs), 1929-1937series 1.1box 1folder 1
Annual meeting and banquet (correspondence, minutes, programs), 1938-1942series 1.1box 1folder 2
Annual meeting and banquet (correspondence, minutes, programs), 1943-1956series 1.1box 1folder 3
Annual meeting and banquet (correspondence, minutes, programs), 1957-1969series 1.1box 1folder 4
Annual meeting and banquet (correspondence, minutes, programs), 1970-1975series 1.1box 1folder 5
Annual meeting and banquet (correspondence, minutes, programs), 1976-1993series 1.1box 1folder 6
Annual meetings and banquet (correspondence and minutes), 1994-2014series 1.1box 1folder 7
Certificate of Recognition, 1938-1975 and undatedseries 1.1box 1folder 8
Constitution and By-Laws, 1961-1963, 1976-1995 and undatedseries 1.1box 2folder 1
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1928-1935series 1.1box 2folder 2
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1936-1938series 1.1box 2folder 3
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1939-1942series 1.1box 2folder 4
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1943series 1.1box 2folder 5
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1944series 1.1box 2folder 6
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1945series 1.1box 2folder 7
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1946-1947series 1.1box 2folder 8
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1948series 1.1box 2folder 9
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1949-1950series 1.1box 2folder 10
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1951series 1.1box 2folder 11
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1952series 1.1box 2folder 12
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1953series 1.1box 2folder 13
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1954-1977series 1.1box 2folder 14
Correspondence (mostly membership), 1978-1982, 1988, 1991-1996series 1.1box 2folder 15
Deceased Members, 1958-1989series 1.1box 2folder 16
Delegate of Grand Council annual meeting, 1936-1941series 1.1box 3folder 1
Delegate of Grand Council annual meeting, 1942-1948series 1.1box 3folder 2
Delegate of Grand Council annual meeting, 1949-1953series 1.1box 3folder 3
Executive Board (correspondence and minutes), 1946-1963series 1.1box 3folder 4
Executive Board (correspondence and minutes), 1964-1991 and undatedseries 1.1box 3folder 5
Executive Board (correspondence and minutes), 1964-1991, undatedseries 1.1box 3folder 6
Executive board (correspondence and minutes), 1993-2014series 1.1box 3folder 7
Executive Board Committees -- Annalist, 1930-1951series 1.1box 3folder 8
Executive Board Committees -- Anniversary Recognition, 1939series 1.1box 3folder 9
Executive Board Committees -- Archives and Historian, 1961-1969series 1.1box 3folder 10
Executive Board Committees -- Archives and Historian, 1970-1990 and undatedseries 1.1box 3folder 11
Executive Board Committees -- Committee Assignments, 1960-1995series 1.1box 3folder 12
Executive Board Committees -- Auditing, 1942, 1949 and undatedseries 1.1box 3folder 13
Executive Board Committees -- Awards Committee, 1975-1990 and undatedseries 1.1box 3folder 14
Executive Board Committees -- Ethics Committee, 1962series 1.1box 3folder 15
Executive Board Committees -- Fellowship Committee, 1971series 1.1box 3folder 16
Executive Board Committees -- Hall of Service, 1952-1961series 1.1box 3folder 17
Executive Board Committees -- Hall of Service, 1962-1974, 1984series 1.1box 4folder 1
Executive Board Committees -- Health and Welfare Committee, 1976 and 1986series 1.1box 4folder 2
Executive Board Committees -- Hospitality, 1960, 1987series 1.1box 4folder 3
Executive Board Committees -- Initiation, 1949-1970, 1974series 1.1box 4folder 4
Executive Board Committees -- Membership and Recognition (includes lists of candidates for membership, 1928-1974), 1942-1969series 1.1box 4folder 5
Executive Board Committees -- Membership and Recognition, 1970-1986 and undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 6
Executive Board Committees -- Nominating, 1986-1987series 1.1box 4folder 7
Executive Board Committees -- Plans and Projects, 1952-1972 and undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 8
Exectutive Board Committees -- Publicity, 1972-1976series 1.1box 4folder 9
Executive Board Committees -- Resolutions Committee, 1975 and undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 10
Executive Board Committees -- Scholarship, 1966-1974series 1.1box 4folder 11
Executive Board Committees -- Summer Fellowship, 1971-1972series 1.1box 4folder 12
Executive Board Committees -- Summer Weekend Outing, October 18, 1974series 1.1box 4folder 13
Extension Personnel lists, 1944-1959series 1.1box 4folder 14
Extension Personnel lists, 1960-1964, 1970-1971 and undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 15
Extension Personnel lists (county), 1914-1962series 1.1box 4folder 16
Fraternity pins correspondence, 1930-1980series 1.1box 4folder 17
Handbooks, 1978, 1984, 2005series 1.1box 4folder 18
Initiation Services and Procedures, 1954-1984, 1988, 1999, 2002 and undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 19
Installation of officers, 1993, 1998, 2002series 1.1box 4folder 20
International Dimension, undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 21
International Service Award, 1986 and undatedseries 1.1box 4folder 22
Joint Council of Extension Professionals (JCEP) - Tau Chapter, 2014-2015series 1.1box 4folder 23
Junior Extension Certificate (4-H), 1937series 1.1box 4folder 24
Letters from A.F. Vierheller (retired member), 1971-1973series 1.1box 4folder 25
"Members and Officers" -- Booklet, 1962-1972, 1989series 1.1box 4folder 26
"Members and Officers" -- Correspondence, 1958-1972, 1993series 1.1box 5folder 1
Membership lists, 1937-1964series 1.1box 5folder 2
Membership lists, 1965-1970series 1.1box 5folder 3
Membership Lists, 1971-1987series 1.1box 5folder 4
Membership lists, 1988-1992series 1.1box 5folder 5
Membership Lists, 1993-1996series 1.1box 5folder 6
Membership lists, 1997-2009, undatedseries 1.1box 5folder 7
Membership Reports, 1981-1984 and undatedseries 1.1box 6folder 1
Membership, Retired/Resigned, 1972-1981, 1985-1993, undatedseries 1.1box 6folder 2
Membership Transfers, 1954-1985 and undatedseries 1.1box 6folder 3
Memorial Service Scripts, 1997-1999, 2001 and undatedseries 1.1box 6folder 4
Newsletter, 1971-2000series 1.1box 6folder 5
Officer Lists, 1967-1989 and undatedseries 1.1box 6folder 6
Officers' Handbooks, 1980s-1986series 1.1box 6folder 7
Parliamentary Procedure, 1954-1969series 1.1box 6folder 8
Prophecy, [1954?]series 1.1box 6folder 9
Regional Mid-Career Service Award, 1989-1994series 1.1box 6folder 10
Report of delegate to Grand Council annual meeting, 1940-1951 and annual reports, Tau Chapter, 1940-1951, 1962-1963series 1.1box 6folder 11
Report of Chapter activities to the Grand Council, 1937-1953, 1988series 1.1box 6folder 12
Rookie of the Year, 1974-1987 [Restricted]series 1.1box 6folder 13
Secretaries Award, 1976-1985 [Restricted]series 1.1box 6folder 14
Secretary -- Form letters, 1931-1945series 1.1box 7folder 1
Secretary -- Record book (minutes of annual meeting, financial records, committee assignments), 1928-1951series 1.1box 7folder 2
State Friend of Extension Award, 1980-1984, 1987-1994 and undatedseries 1.1box 7folder 3
Vierheller Newsletter, 1957-1964series 1.1box 7folder 4
Vierheller Newsletter, 1965-1968series 1.1box 7folder 5
Vierheller Newsletter, 1969-1975series 1.1box 7folder 6
Yearbook questionnaire responses, 1928-1939series 1.1box 7folder 7
Yearbook questionnaire responses, 1940-1943series 1.1box 7folder 8
Yearbook questionnaire responses, 1944-1947series 1.1box 7folder 9
Yearbook questionnaire responses, 1948-1954series 1.1box 7folder 10

Subseries 1.2: Finances, 1928-1990 (0.25 linear feet)

This subseries includes correspondence, accounts receivable records, a savings account passbook, two receipt books, treasurer reports, and financial statements. Files are arranged alphabetically by document type.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Financial correspondence, 1928-1952series 1.2box 1folder 1
Financial records, 1928-1958series 1.2box 1folder 2
Financial records -- Receipt Book, Savings Passbook, 1928-1942, 1946series 1.2box 1folder 3
Financial statements and treasurer's reports, 1928-1986, 1990series 1.2box 1folder 4
Financial Statements and Treasurer's Reports, 1991-2013series 1.2box 1folder 5

Subseries 1.3: Hall of Service, 1942-1996 (1.00 linear feet)

This subseries includes autobiographies, biographies, death notices, retirement announcements, and eulogies of members. Files are arranged alphabetically by members' last names. Photographs from this subseries were moved to the photograph collection.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Biographies A, 1942-1982series 1.3box 1folder 1
Biographies BA, 1937-1989series 1.3box 1folder 2
Biographies BB - BQ, 1954-1985series 1.3box 1folder 3
Biographies BR - BZ, 1953-1985series 1.3box 1folder 4
Biographies CA, 1937-1988series 1.3box 1folder 5
Biographies CB - CZ, 1938-1990series 1.3box 1folder 6
Biographies D - E, 1932-1995series 1.3box 1folder 7
Biographies F, 1955-1995series 1.3box 1folder 8
Biographies G, 1947-1987series 1.3box 1folder 9
Biographies H-I, 1937-1990series 1.3box 1folder 10
Biographies J, 1937-1995series 1.3box 1folder 11
Biographies K, 1949-1995series 1.3box 1folder 12
Biographies L - Mac, 1929-1990series 1.3box 2folder 1
Biographies Mad - Mn, 1938-1986series 1.3box 2folder 2
Biographies Mo - Mz, 1937-1978series 1.3box 2folder 3
Biographies N - O, 1958-1986series 1.3box 2folder 4
Biographies P, 1945-1988series 1.3box 2folder 5
Biographies R - Sm, 1952-1991series 1.3box 2folder 6
Biographies Sn - Sy, 1953-1988series 1.3box 2folder 7
Biographies T - V, 1954-1995series 1.3box 2folder 8
Biographies W - Z, 1954-1996series 1.3box 2folder 9
Biographies, Symons, T. B., 1953, 1970 and n.d.series 1.3box 2folder 10
Announcements of Retirement, 1964-1965series 1.3box 2folder 11

Series 2: Grand Council of Epsilon Sigma Phi, 1928-2011 (1.5 linear feet)

Series II is comprised of two subseries documenting the activities of the Grand Council, the national governing body of Epsilon Sigma Phi. The major activities of the Grand Council included the planning of events, such as the national annual meeting and the awards banquet, amending the constitution, and communicating with local chapters. Also included in this series are publications sponsored by the Grand Council.

Subseries 2.1: Adminstration, 1928-2011 (1.25 linear foot)

This subseries includes correspondence relating to arrangements for the annual meeting, minutes, "Highlights" of the year's activities, annual reports by the Grand Secretary-Treasurer and committees, as well as correspondence and biographies for recipients of the "Distinguished Service Ruby" award. Constitutions, by-laws, the charter, creed, initiatory ceremony, song, officer duties and publications sponsored by the national office are also included in this subseries. The subseries also included a fraternity pin and pendant, which were removed and added to the memorabilia collection. Files are arranged alphabetically by subject.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Annual meeting -- Correspondence, programs, and reports, 1931-1964series 2.1box 1folder 1
Annual meeting -- Correspondence, programs, and reports, 1971series 2.1box 1folder 2
Annual meeting -- Correspondence, programs, and reports, 1973series 2.1box 1folder 3
Annual meeting -- Correspondence, programs, and reports, 1974-1975, 1979, 1984-1985series 2.1box 1folder 4
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1939-1944series 2.1box 1folder 5
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1945-1948series 2.1box 1folder 6
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1949-1951series 2.1box 1folder 7
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1952series 2.1box 1folder 8
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1953series 2.1box 1folder 9
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1955-1957series 2.1box 1folder 10
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1958-1959series 2.1box 1folder 11
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1961, 1966series 2.1box 1folder 12
Annual meeting -- "Highlights", 1971-1974series 2.1box 1folder 13
National Epsilon Sigma Phi Annual Meeting hosted by Tau Chapter, 1996series 2.1box 1folder 14
National Epsilon Sigma Phi Annual Meeting hosted by Tau Chapter, 2006series 2.1box 1folder 15
Annual meeting -- Syracuse, New York, October 10-13, 2011series 2.1box 1folder 16
Annual meeting -- Report by Grand Secretary-Treasurer, 1935-1936series 2.1box 1folder 17
Annual Report and National Council Meeting, 1982series 2.1box 1folder 18
Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and By-Laws, 1929-1936series 2.1box 1folder 19
Articles of Incorporation, Constitution and By-Laws, 1942-1983 and undatedseries 2.1box 1folder 20
Awards Banquet (program), 1975series 2.1box 2folder 1
Chapter Survey, 1976series 2.1box 2folder 2
Charter (correspondence), 1928-1948series 2.1box 2folder 3
Committees -- Chapter Programs and Activities, 1941-1981series 2.1box 2folder 4
Committees -- Correspondence and personnel lists, 1951-1975series 2.1box 2folder 5
Committees -- Ethics Committee, undatedseries 2.1box 2folder 6
Committees -- Extension History, 1941-1943series 2.1box 2folder 7
Committees -- "Professional Improvement", 1941-1951series 2.1box 2folder 8
Committees -- Retirement, 1939-1942series 2.1box 2folder 9
Committees -- Retirement, 1944-1949series 2.1box 2folder 10
National Correspondence and Minutes, 1972-1980series 2.1box 2folder 11
National Correspondence and Minutes, 1981-1985series 2.1box 2folder 12
National Directory, 1983series 2.1box 2folder 13
Committees -- Distinguished Service Ruby (correspondence), 1936-1940series 2.1box 2folder 14
Committees -- Distinguished Service Ruby (correspondence), 1941-1942series 2.1box 2folder 15
Committees -- Distinguished Service Ruby (correspondence), 1943-1944series 2.1box 2folder 16
Committees -- Distinguished Service Ruby (correspondence), 1945-1947series 2.1box 2folder 17
Committees -- Distinguished Service Ruby (correspondence), 1948-1987series 2.1box 3folder 1
Duties of Officers, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 2
Grand Council Extension Workers Creed, 1936, 1960,1963, 1991 and undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 3
House of Pioneers (correspondence), 1937-1945series 2.1box 3folder 4
"Information for Chapter Secretaries" (manual), 1931series 2.1box 3folder 5
Initiatory Ceremony, 1948, 1954, 1976 and undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 6
"A Preliminary Study of Agricultural Extension Advancement", undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 7
Proposal to establish a professional journal, 1959series 2.1box 3folder 8
Scholarship loans (correspondence), 1945-1950series 2.1box 3folder 9
Song-"Epsilon Sigma Phi" by T. L. Bewick, undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 10
"The Spirit and Philosophy of Extension Work" (correspondence), 1952series 2.1box 3folder 11
Twentieth Anniversary (1927-1947) and "Outline History of the Organization and Accomplishments of Epsilon Sigma Phi, 1927 through 1959", undatedseries 2.1box 3folder 12

Subseries 2.2: Yearbook, 1929-1960 (0.25 linear feet)

The Epsilon Sigma Phi Yearbook includes the annual address of the Grand Director, annual reports of the fraternity, committee reports, articles on chapter events, and other information about members and activities. Volumes are arranged chronologically.

DescriptionSeriesBox / ReelFolder / Frame
Yearbook, 1929-1960series 2.2box 1folder 1
Yearbook, 1929-1960series 2.2box 1folder 2
Yearbook, 1929-1960series 2.2box 1folder 3
Yearbook, 1929-1960series 2.2box 1folder 4
Yearbook, 1929-1960series 2.2box 1folder 5
Yearbook, 1929-1960series 2.2box 1folder 6

Related Material

Materials related to this collection may be found in the Papers of Theodore L. Bissell, the Papers of Thomas B. Symons, and the Records of the Cooperative Extension Services held in the Archives and Manuscripts Department. Publications in the university publications collection under "Cooperative Extension Service" and "Agricultural Extension Service" may also be of interest. In addition, the resource guide, "Agriculture in Maryland," provides an annotated, selected list of holdings in the Archives and Manuscripts Department that relate to various aspects of agriculture in Maryland.

For other related archival and manuscript collections, please see the following subject guides.

Selected Search Terms

This collection is indexed under the following headings in the University of Maryland Libraries' Catalog. Researchers desiring related materials about these topics, names, or places may search the Catalog using these headings.


Names (Added Entries)