Societies to Sororities - Ago & Alpha

The sororities we know today as Alpha and Ago were once literary societies.  According to this Wikipedia article, "society activity consisted of formal debates on topical issues of the day, but literary activity could include original essays, poetry, music, etc. As a part of their literary work, many also collected and maintained their own libraries for the use of the society's members...

Typically, a college would have two or more competing societies. The campus societies were generally intense competitors...In the 1830s and 1840s, students began to organize private literary societies for smaller groups, and these more intimate associations quickly developed into wholly secret associations. These groups are the earliest college fraternities."

The following articles are from the June 7, 1934 edition of The Potsdam Normal School Normal-Raquette newspaper.

The Calliopean Literary Society, founded in 1882, became the Gamma chapter of the Agonian Sorority in 1928.  There were nine chapters, the Kappa chapter at SUNY New Paltz (chartered in 1924) and the Alpha chapter at SUNY Geneseo are the only other chapters still active today.  These chapters were forced to disband in 1953, you can read about that here
The Alpha Society was founded in 1869 and became Alpha Sigma Nu Sorority in 1926, then the Kappa chapter of Alpha Delta Sorority in 1929.  There were nine chapters before the 1953 order required them to disband.  Alpha Delta Epsilon at SUNY Geneseo and Alpha Delta Eta at SUNY Oswego are still active today.

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