Chapter History

Iota Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, formerly known as the New England Chapter, was the first chapter of any Black sorority in the New England Area. Iota Chapter was chartered on December 29, 1921 by Sadie T.M. Alexander, who served as the sorority’s first national president, and Virginia Alexander. These women travelled from Alpha Chapter in Washington, D.C. to initiate the women who had hopes of becoming members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

The 16 women initiated into Iota Chapter were:

• Harriet Banks • Helen Hunter
• Emily Bennett • Eolyn Klugh
• Marieta Bonner • Mabel Patterson
• Inez Fields • Frances Phillips
• Emma Gilbert • Katherine Robinson
• Ethel Hall • Clarissa Scott
• Cecil Higgins • Helen Wheatland
• Elizabeth Hill • Jeanette Banks Wright

Since its charter, Iota Chapter has been the birthplace of many phenomenal women and excellent programs. One of our signature programs, Jabberwock, was established in 1925 by Soror Marion Hope Conover as a unique means of raising scholarship funds. The chapter presented a variety of performers who competed for prize money. From this successful venture, Delta’s Jabberwock was born and became part of Delta tradition. Iota Chapter’s annual production was adopted by other chapters in the sorority and since then innumerable Jabberwocks have been produced by Deltas in both the United States and abroad. On December 28, 1947, Jabberwock was formally adopted and copyrighted by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Until 1945, Iota Chapter consisted of collegiate and non-collegiate women. As the chapter began to expand, the non-collegiate members felt that they could better serve the community through an alumnae chapter. With the approval and assistance of Grand Chapter, the Alpha Omicron Sigma Chapter was chartered in 1945, making it the first alumnae chapter in the area. After the sorority changed its nomenclature system in the late 1950s, the Alpha Omicron Sigma Chapter became known as the Boston Alumnae Chapter.

The chapter’s charter at one time included many colleges and universities in the Boston area such as Boston College and the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Today however, the chapter’s charter is comprised only of Berklee College of Music, Boston University, Emerson College, Northeastern University, and Simmons University.