The Delta Sigma Chi Fraternity at 100!

Drawing its Greek letters from “Doctors of Straight Chiropractic,” the Delta Sigma Chi professional fraternity was established at the Palmer School of Chiropractic 100 years ago today. On July 14, 1913, the first meeting of interested students took place to make plans, elect temporary officers, and appoint a committee to prepare a constitution and bylaws. A few days later, on July 18, a follow-up meeting was held in which the new organization assumed its name, Delta Sigma Chi, and adopted a constitution and bylaws.

The 1918 Hand Book of the Delta Sigma Chi Fraternity thus considers July 18, 1913 as the founding date of the group. Charter membership for the Alpha Chapter, or parent chapter, was initially limited to twelve men, and later expanded to 20 men in August 1913. Among the charter members listed in the 1918 Hand Book are 6 from the Davenport College of Chiropractic, 8 from the Universal College of Chiropractic, and 5 from the Palmer School of Chiropractic; 1 unnamed member was expelled.

As articulated in Article III of its Constitution, membership was “open to all men of good moral character who are under-graduates, graduates, or faculty members in a school or college of Chiropractic of recognized standing, subject to election according to By-Laws.” B.J. Palmer, the president of the Palmer School of Chiropractic, was “initiated into the mysteries of the order” on November 6, 1913, and subsequently unanimously elected as Honorary President on January 14, 1918.

The aims of the fraternity are described in the 1918 Hand Book as follows: “A big clean wholesome profession composed of clean broadminded men to become leaders in their various communities and to build the Chiropractic profession as strong as Gibralter—to sweep Chiropractic on to that magnificent future which is hers if we but co-operate steadfastly—these are the motives of the Delta Sigma Chi Fraternity.”

While the fraternity is rightly celebrated one of the earliest chiropractic organizations to ever be established, it was in fact preceded by Palmer’s own Sigma Phi Chi sorority. Founded by Mabel Palmer in 1911, the sorority still maintains the distinction as the oldest chiropractic organization in the world.

Note: The composite photograph featured above dates from 1915 and is the earliest available group portrait of the fraternity. For more information on Delta Sigma Chi, Sigma Phi Chi, and other Palmer student organizations, please visit Special Collections & Archives in Palmer Library.


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