black and white old photo of a large gathering of SDT members

On March 25, 1917, seven young Jewish women who exemplified self-confidence and the willingness to take a chance, founded a new sorority at Cornell University. The name chosen, Sigma Delta Phi, was soon changed to Sigma Delta Tau when the women discovered the letters belonged to another Greek organization. Most of the seven had experienced the subtle, but very real, discrimination practiced against religious minorities by many Greek organizations at the time.

In response to the closed doors, and as a way to meet their own social and housing needs, these young women established a sorority which would respect the individuality of its members. The personal growth and social development of each individual was the basis upon which the new organization would be built.

On June 16, 1917, the seven founders and their Ritualist were welcomed by Cornell administrators and faculty and representatives of the seven National sororities on campus—Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Kappa Delta—as their guests of honor at the Installation Banquet of Alpha Chapter of Sigma Delta Tau. Pledges Frances Bayard and Frances Brock also were present for the banquet.

Meet Our Founders

Dora Bloom Turtletaub
Amy Apfel Tishman
Marian Gerber Greenberg
Grace Strenco Grossman
Index Dane Ross
Regene Freund Cohane
Lenore Rubinow
Nathan Caleb House