Alpha Chapter of Arkansas

Chapter Meeting, December 9. 1932

PBK Chapter Meeting, Washington Hotel, Fayetteville, AR December 9, 1932

(see below for list of those pictured)


This honor society was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. It is the oldest Greek Letter fraternity in America. At the time, members engaged in debating and literary pursuits. Later, the society was established at Harvard and Yale, and in 1875 the first women were admitted. It was chartered at the University of Arkansas in 1932.

Membership over the years has included giants in American history such as John Marshall, Helen Keller, Eli Whitney, Booker T. Washington, and the best and the brightest from politics, law, business, science, entertainment, publishing, and education. Seventeen presidents have been members of Phi Beta Kappa. John Quincy Adams, Chester Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, George Bush and Bill Clinton were elected as undergraduates.  The rest were elected as alumni or honorary members. Eleanor Roosevelt is Phi Beta Kappa's only first lady.  Alexander Graham Bell, Pearl Buck, Henry Longfellow, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Helen Keller, Booker T. Washington, Samuel Morse, Jonas Salk, William Henry Seward, Daniel Webster, and Eli Whitney were all members, as well as seven current Supreme Court Justices, Ben Bernanke, Eileen Collins, John Updike, Condoleeza Rice, Stephen Sondheim, Benazir Bhutto, Carson Kressley, and Peyton Manning.  Read more at the national Phi Beta Kappa site.


Chartered in 1932, the Alpha of Arkansas chapter has inducted almost 3,000 PBK members since that time, including J. William Fulbright (1945). Early initiates and chapter officers included familiar campus names such as Futrall, Leflar, Waterman, Hotz, Holcombe, and Droke. For sixty-five years, the University of Arkansas's chapter was the only one in the state. A charter was issued for a Beta Chapter at Hendrix in 1997.

Pictured in the photo above:

First Row: Ina Knerr, Daisy Holcomb, Burnelle Boyce, Rena S. Duncan, Jobelle Holcombe, Lucille A. Long, Olive L. Mathis, ?

Second Row: Reed Sparks, J.S. Waterman, W.R. Hervey, Zilpha C. Battey, A.W. Wasson, S.A. Mitchell, George Vaughan, C.C. Fichtner (Pres.), J.C. Futrall, J.C. Jordan, G.W. Droke, D.Y. Thomas, Mary T. Anderson, H. Christine Nelson, Mary Jane Trebble, V.L. Jones, Fred L. Kerr (sec.)

Third Row: H, Hale, E. Wertheim, ? Anthony, V.H. Young, Robt. ?, D. Swartz, L.B. Hamm, H. H, Strauss (Vice-Pres.), A. Marinoni

Meeting was held at the Washington Hotel, Fayetteville, Arkansas