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Boston University

Nov 28th, 1883

Founding Date

Martha Foote Crow (Alpha-Syracuse) sought out to begin another Alpha Phi chapter at Wellesley College, where she was working as the assistant to Alice Freeman Palmer, the President of Wellesley college at the time. Although Alice and Martha had a close relationship, they disagreed over the propriety of women’s fraternities. Over the next several years, faculty opposition at Wellesley to Greek-letter organizations made it impossible for Alpha Phi to found a chapter there. However, another prospect lay just 12 miles east of Wellesley, Boston University.  Founded in 1869, it was the only coeducational university in the entire commonwealth of Massachusetts. Martha traveled to inquire into the prospects at Boston. Soon after, two students there, Abby Barstow Bates, a freshman, and Alice Louisa Heath, a sophomore, were won over by the idea of founding an Alpha Phi chapter. Although there was another secret society at the University that many women took preference to, the two were able to gather seven more founding members. On the day before Thanksgiving, November 28, 1883, Martha arrived at 36 Appleton Street in Boston, joined by five Alpha chapter sisters to initiate the nine new members of the Eta chapter.