97 - The Legends of Mary Love

Mary Love Collins was a Chi Omega leader who spent her entire life dedicated to the Fraternity. Over the course of her 42-year term as S.H., she became notorious for her sharply tailored suit and her demanding presence when she entered a room. She also had some legendary moments that have been passed down for decades.

The Great White Owl

Mary Love Collins, circa 1924

During one of her countless chapter visits, Mary Love Collins had been assured that a chapter member would be at the train station to meet her when she arrived. When Mary Love stepped off the train, there were no Sisters in sight awaiting this important visitor. She made her way to a phone to call the chapter house and check on the arrangements.

When a Sister picked up the chapter house phone, Mary Love promptly asked to speak to the G.H. The member, not knowing who was on the other end of the line replied, “She’s not here. She went to pick up the ‘Great White Owl.'”

Mary Love was taken back by this nickname that had been unbeknownst to her and exclaimed, “This IS the Great White Owl!” Imagine the reaction on the receiving end of that statement!

A Prestigious Address

In 1947, Chi Omega purchased a home in the Hyde Park section of Cincinnati, which would serve as the Executive House for all Chi Omega business. Mary Love Collins wanted it to have a fitting address for the Fraternity that would match the impressiveness of the organization.

Grandin Road Executive Office, front
Grandin Road Executive Office, back

The only problem with the prestigious home was that it was actually located on Weebetook Lane, which didn’t sound very prestigious at all! Mary Love made the executive decision to have the mailbox moved to a different corner of the property that touched Grandin Road, giving the Executive House the more fitting address of 2245 Grandin Road!

Grandin Road remained the home of Chi Omega for almost 30 years after Mary Love took it upon herself to upgrade our address!

Corner of Weebetook Lane and Grandin Road

Christelle Telegram

Mary Love Collins often communicated via telegram and was just as often extremely thrifty when writing her messages. She sent a message to Epsilon Gamma Chapter at Tulsa explaining that Christelle Ferguson, longtime editor of The Eleusis, a position that was on the Governing Council at the time, would arrive to inspect the chapter.

Instead of Christelle, she implemented her thriftiness, of which she became known for, and wrote the shortened version of Christelle as “Chris.”

One could assume that the chapter members would be able to decipher who Mary Love was referring to, except Western Union made a typo on the telegram. Instead of reading “Chris. will arrive to inspect the chapter,” it read “Christ will arrive to inspect the chapter.”

At Convention in 1972, Mary Clay Williams, former S.K.A., delighted everyone with her story of being a young chapter president when this hilarious confusion preceded Christelle’s visit. Mary said everyone listened, received the message, and agreed that Mary Love was capable of just about anything!