Early Sororities at Allegheny College

Two “local sororities” from Allegheny College were Iota Rho Epsilon and Skin and Bones. These two were established on campus when three other large sororities were already in existence. Both remained fairly small compared to their National friends on campus.

I found Iota Rho Epsilon which had fun yearbook information–including names in code and veiled faces!


Iota Rho Epsilon is listed under the sororities for the first time in 1898. Others were Kappa Kappa Gamma and Kappa Alpha Theta–which all had numerous chapters. Iota Rho Epsilon seemed to be the only “local” and the only one that used code. Their colors were black and green. Next in the yearbook of 1898 is a women’s secret society called “Skin and Bones”.


Skin and Bones is listed in the 1897 Kaldron with reference to a founder’s name–although made up. They employ the use of code in their underclassmen’s names. The group is not listed in 1896, so it is possible it was founded in 1897. In 1904, Skin and Bones lists their colors as Black and White, which was probably a misprint.

Skin and Bones, 1904.

Early sororities that were established were:
Alpha Chi Omega est. in 1891.
Kappa Kappa Gamma est. in 1888.
Kappa Alpha Theta est. 1881.

In 1904, a local sorority is formed: Theta Sigma and both Skin and Bones and Iota Rho Epsilon are no longer listed starting in the 1907 yearbook.

The current sororities at Allegheny College are:
Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Delta Pi est. 1983.
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Delta Delta Delta est. 2008.

It seems that Skin and Bones and Iota Rho Epsilon disappeared, but none of their members appear on the roasted of Theta Sigma. My first assumption was that the two weaker sororities merged to form a new local. It also seems that Theta Sigma did not last long. The defunct Theta Upsilon appears in the yearbooks in 1910. Since the letter Theta is used I am going to guess that Theta Sigma was formed for the purpose of petitioning a larger sorority and thus became Theta Upsilon in 1923.

In 1909, Tallagewe was established on campus.There were two active chapters in 1929. The group’s colors were yellow and white.

The badge looks like the head of a spear with a jeweled “Tau”. It seems that this was a group for non-sorority women:

It seems that in 1918, there was an increase need for sororities on campus, so members of Tallagewe withdrew their membership and formed Sigma Tau Sigma. STS would later become Alpha Gamma Delta.

In 1930, Delta Alpha Theta is formed. Colors: Rose, green, and white. Yet the sorority is not mentioned in the archives after 1934.

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