16 - Missing From the Archives

The Chi Omega archives are robust and growing constantly, but there are a few sought after pieces that our National Archivist is really after. 

“I’m often asked what items I would love to come across that are missing from our collection in our Archives. My answer is different each time I’m asked! I will tell you about several things I have on my “Wish List,” but I also have to add that there are constantly exciting, precious items that we discover each year about which I never knew a single thing, so the unknown possibilities are just as intriguing!” says Lyn Harris, National Archivist.

Photo of All Five Founders Together

No photo exists of all five of our Founders together – or if it does, we don’t have it yet. Group shots of early members of Psi Chapter exist including Jobelle, Jean, and Allie, but Dr. Richardson was not included and Ina May left the University of Arkansas after Spring 1895 and was not there for a picture.

Portraits of all five Founders

Dr. Richardson’s Watch Fob

Dr. Charles Richardson carried a pocket watch and on the end of the chain was the watch fob. On the watch fob was a disk which had a Kappa Sigma badge on one side and a miniature Chi Omega badge on the other. You can partially see it in this profile photograph of him and it is featured also in his portrait which hangs in the Founders’ Library at Psi Chapter House at Arkansas.

Portrait of Dr. Charles Richardson with watch fob featured at bottom of photo

Portrait of Dr. Charles Richardson wearing the watch fob featured in the Founders’ Library at Psi

Ida Pace Purdue’s Ruby Badge

Ida Pace Purdue, Psi/University of Arkansas, was the first editor of The Eleusis and served as S.H. 1904-10. She had a beautiful, ruby badge with a ruby Psi guard. Prior to 1906, when the Convention voted to only allow pearls and diamonds on the badge, it was not uncommon for colored stones to be used. Ida’s badge was in the museum case at the Chi Omega Executive Office in Carew Tower in Cincinnati, Ohio, when the May 1982 robbery occurred.

“Ida’s badge was among several items which were taken. Her ruby guard is still in our possession, but we are hopeful that someday her badge will return to our museum,” says Lyn.

Along with Ida Pace Purdue’s ruby badge, Mary Love Collins’ Phi Beta Kappa key and her softball glove, used at some early Conventions where actives played the alumnae and Mary Love was the pitcher, were also stolen. No items were ever recovered.

The historical significance of these pieces was so great that following this robbery Chi Omega called upon it’s members to help rebuild and expand the archives. The deep understanding for historical preservation was ignited more than ever.

Ida Pace Purdue with her ruby badge pinned to her dress

Ida Pace Purdue’s Psi guard

Psi Goblets

Among the most popular items in our collection are the Willets Belleek hand-painted goblets which were given to early members, primarily from Psi Chapter, on the occasion of their wedding. We don’t know how many exist, but are happy to know the location of some.  There are seven, all light green, in our collection in the Executive Headquarters Museum and one on display in the Founders’ Library at Psi, which is a deep cranberry color. “I would love to obtain more of them. I’ve also heard that some were made in a shade of light blue!” says Lyn.

Light green Psi goblets on display at the Executive Headquarters Museum

Cranberry Psi goblet on display in the Founders’ Library at Psi

Lapis Lazuli Crest Ring

Based on this ad from 1927, this beautiful blue Lapis lazuli crest ring was produced by Burr, Patterson & Auld. The ring sold for $15 dollars, which would be the equivalent of $208 dollars today.

“I would love to have a ring like this in our Archives. Can you imagine the beauty of the blue Lapis lazuli, ladies?!” says Lyn.

If you or anyone you know come across one of the sought after pieces or anything you think could have a place in our Chi Omega archives please contact Lyn Harris at lyn.harris@chiomega.com.