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Beta Chi House Photograph Album, Circa 1950s

 Collection
Identifier: SC Photo-0017
The collection is a series of black and white photographs approximately in sizes 12 x 8 cm; 6 x9 cm and 9 x 12 cm. Most of the photographs are attached to the black photo album pages. Several photographs were found loose in the album along with notes as to how the album was acquired by Special Collections. The total amount of photographs is 164.

Dates

  • Majority of material found within 1950-1955
  • 1950-1966

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Extent

0.24 Linear Feet (1 boxes, 0.24 linear feet) ; 0.24 linear feet

Overview

The collection of photographs is a nostalgic look at fraternity life in the 1950s. Possibly it was composed and presented on the occasion of the retirement of the gentleman to whom the album is dedicated – Willie Johnson. Mr. Johnson was an African American who lived on the premises of the Beta House at least until the mid 1960s employed as general factotum.

Biographical / Historical

The Lehigh University Chapter, Beta Chi of Beta Theta Pi, was established on campus in 1891 as a social fraternity especially known for its chorus. It became inactive on Lehigh campus in 2008. The Beta house photograph in the album is of the Beta House built in 1926 as the first Beta Chapter House in Sayre Park. In the 1930s this Beta House hired Willie Johnston as a general factotum. He lived in the house during his employment by Beta Chi at least until 1966 fondly referred to as “The Professor.” He died in the early 1970s having lived his later years in the Northampton County Home. Evidence indicates that this album was assembled perhaps sometime in the 1960s and given to Mr. Johnson possibly on the occasion of his retirement in the later 1960s.

Arrangement

The photographs are arranged in an indeterminate manner. The binding was held together by two screw fasteners and possibly the pages were rearranged as the dedication page is not located directly inside the front cover. Pages 0017.01 to 0017.66 represent the contents of the Photographs Album, the remaining numbered pages contain the loose photos and ephemera.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

This album was given to Special Collections in January 2011 by Patricia S. Jones of the Alumni Association who received it at a Lehigh Alumni event from an alumnus. The alumnus reported that the album was found in an abandoned truck in June 1996 and given to Robert M. Bevan ’60 who presumably passed it on to eventually be handed over to the Alumni Association.

Related Materials

The Brown and White.

1991. Floriani, Peter J. Beta Chi—Like a Diamond, The Centennial History of the Lehigh Chapter, the Beta Chi of Beta Theta Pi, with the assistance of William F. Hahn, Robert J. Kirchberger, Joseph W. Romano, Jr. The Beta Theta Pi House Association and The Lehigh Chapter, The Beta Chi of Beta Theta Pi
Title
Beta Chi House Photograph Album Circa 1950s
Status
completed
Author
Eleanor Nothelfer and Ilhan Citak
Date
2011-12-07
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-4506
610-758-6091 (Fax)