93 - Allie Simonds

Upon Dr. Richardson’s suggestion, Jobelle, Jean, and Ina May decided to seek out a strong leader and upperclassman to join them as their fourth Founder. After what would become known as the “first rush and pledge party,” Allie Simonds became the fifth and final addition to the initial roll of Chi Omega.

Before she became the last of the Founders, Alice Carey Simonds was born December 30, 1872, in Iowa Falls, Iowa.

Baby photo of Allie Simonds

While studying zoology at the University of Arkansas, she and Jobelle studied Spanish and German together and grew to know one other well. Jobelle decided Allie was the perfect prospect to gain an older member! After she shared the Constitution and Ritual with her, Allie said “yes” through her joyous tears.

She was 22 years old at the time and was the first G.T.B. and second G.H. of Psi. A friend of hers once described Allie’s leadership as having “a spiritual touch in a potent way, not by what she did or said – it was just there.”

Psi chapter 1896, Allie Simonds is pictured as number six

Allie’s specialization in zoology opened doors for her love of nature during her collegiate years. She was a talented illustrator, especially when it came to grasshoppers, and created pen and ink studies for professors, one of whom was Dr. Jerome McNeil whose book was titled “Truxalinae of North America.” It was published in 1897. She later illustrated government bulletins as well.

Allie was the first to have a Chi Omega wedding celebration when she married her Kappa Sigma husband, Van Smith, in 1898. They moved to Washington D.C. where Van studied law and Allie had their son one year later.

Allie Simonds Smith and husband Van Smith

Allie only lived to be 27 due to complications of appendicitis and joined the Omega Chapter in 1900 while living in Washington D.C. with her family. She is buried in Congressional Cemetry. The memorial service conducted for her at the 1906 Convention set the standard for the memorial services that would be practiced for years to come.

Not much had surfaced about Allie’s short life since her death, but in 2013 Archivist Lyn Harris made an exciting new discovery in her story! She was able to trace her lineage to her grandson Harold Van Smith, Jr., a graduate from the University of Arkansas Medical School and practicing in Harrison, Arkansas. When Lyn contacted him, he happily wrote back a kind letter.

Letter from Allie Simond’s grandson, Harold Van Smith, Jr., to National Archivist Lyn after being contacted about his grandmother