From the Archives: Virginia Beta Re-Chartering

Timothy Tangen Minn. – Duluth ’03, Director of Alumni Associations and Housing; Archivist

This week we are celebrating the re-chartering of Virginia Beta by taking a trip to the archives. This piece is one of the oldest in Phi Psi’s collection and represents the story of many brothers.  

Shown below is the original 1855 charter from the Virgina Beta chapter, the oldest chapter charter in Phi Psi’s archives. Then simply known as Washington College, now Washington and Lee, this document was hand drawn and designed by Thomas Cochran Campbell. One of the fraternity’s earliest initiates, Campbell was also the creator and author of the Ritual. 

During this period, chapters operated under “the unite rule”. This rule required unanimous consent of all existing members before a new member could join. Similarly, chapters could not be admitted without the consent of all other existing chapters as well.  

For that reason, you’ll see the seals and signatures of the other two existing chapters of Phi Kappa Psi, Pennsylvania Alpha and Virginia Alpha, both signing off and agreeing to welcome Virginia Beta as a chapter in the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.  

Although small and difficult to see in this image, you might also note the signature of Charles Page Thomas Moore as one of the officers of the Virginia Alpha chapter. He transferred his membership to Virginia Beta to attend law school at Washington College as well as expand the Fraternity.  

While the Fraternity retains the original at our headquarters at Laurel Hall, a reproduction will be presented once again to the Virginia Beta chapter at their re-chartering on October 30, 2021 in Lexington, VA.