Omicron Nu, Alpha Chapter Records

Summary Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections
Omicron Nu. Alpha Chapter (Michigan State University).
Omicron Nu, Alpha Chapter records
Date [inclusive]
5.0 Cubic feet

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: "Item title, Collection title, Collection Identifier, Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections, East Lansing, Michigan."

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Historical Note

Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State University) was the first in the nation to establish the honor society Omicron Nu in 1912. Maude Gilchrist, Dean of Women, felt that honorable students in the field of home economics deserved recognition, and the program expanded across the country as other institutions also realized the need for promoting scholarship, research, and leadership opportunities for women in the home economics field.

Dean Gilchrist and a group of other faculty women established the Michigan Home Economics Association the previous year in 1911, and the same group was responsible for organizing the Omicron Nu Honor Society. Early projects included offering international fellowships to support research, and their mission was to promote the establishment of Omicron Nu at other universities and promote scholarly endeavours between the chapters. Within three years, sister chapters had been established at eight universities, including the New York College of Teachers, Iowa State College, Purdue, Kansas State Agricultural College, and the Universities of Illinois, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Kansas. By 1947, Omicron Nu had held 15 national conclaves and was active on 34 campuses nationwide; by 1987, that number had increased to 49 active chapters and almost 63,000 inducted members.

The society has gone through a number of transformations since its beginnings at Michigan Agricultural College, the largest of which occurred in February of 1990, when the two honors societies of Kappa Omicron Phi and Omicron Nu consolidated to form Kappa Omicron Nu. The purpose was unity and solidarity between the organizations, as well as greater visibility of the society. At the time of their merger, the members numbered almost 95,000 and were present on over 100 campuses.

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Scope and Content

This collection includes the records of Omicron Nu from their installation on campus in 1912 until around the mid 1980s. The contents contain lists of society members, blueprints for the Michigan Agricultural College Alpha chapter home, papers about the history of the society, historical information and rules for new members to memorize, the officers' instructions for running the organization, and the procedures for aspects of Omicron Nu management and induction ceremonies.

The records include handwritten meeting minutes for the Alpha Chapter of Omicron Nu. The minutes are contained in two volumes that document the meetings from the beginning of the chapter's existence. The records include chapter rolls which track society members from one meeting to the next, the plans and descriptions for Omicron Nu events, details of new members and installation of officers, and general club business.

The publication volumes discuss local and national matters, and they also contain the semiannual newsletters published by the Home Economics Honor Society. Some of the publications additionally include papers published by Omicron Nu members.

The Home Economics Association scrapbook (4020) contains a file with a paper by Marie Dye entitled, "Home Economics at Michigan State College," a list of the organization's annual meetings from 1911-1936, a list of the organization's charter members, a history of the association by Marie Dye, two Home Economics newsletters from 1960, and a newsletter packet for Michigan Student Clubs from 1934. The cover is wrapped separately and contains a leather front and an inner fabric handwritten cover page reading, "Michigan Home Economics Association."

Scrapbooks 4021, 4022, and 4023 contain photographs of members, banquet and dance cards, newspaper clippings about the association, and other publications. Scrapbook number 4023 has a particularly interesting and large collection of photographs taken by the women in and around the Omicron Nu Practice House.

Additionally, the collection includes multiple drafts for the College of Human Ecology logo done by Marion Soria. The same box has a folder with photographs of houses on campus, a view of Michigan Avenue in 1923, and a picture of a women's class from the early 1900s.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Michigan State University Archives and Historical Collections 2011

Conrad Hall
888 Wilson Road, Room 101
East Lansing , MI, 48824

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Legal Status

Copyright: Michigan State University. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Michigan Agricultural College. Students. Societies, etc..
  • Michigan State College. Students. Societies, etc..
  • Michigan State University. Students. Societies, etc..
  • Omicron Nu. Alpha Chapter (Michigan State University).


  • Blueprints
  • By-laws
  • Handbooks
  • Letters (correspondence)
  • Membership lists
  • Minutes (Records)
  • Newsletters
  • Photographs
  • Publications
  • Reports
  • Scrapbooks
  • Video recordings

Personal Name(s)

  • Maddex, Eileen C.


  • College students -- Societies and clubs
  • Greek letter societies -- Michigan -- East Lansing
  • Home economics
  • Women -- Societies and clubs
  • Women college students -- Michigan -- East Lansing -- Societies, etc.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Alpha Chapter 1912-1964 

4018 1

Conclave Reports 1929-1955 

4018 2

Correspondence 1931-1936 

4018 3

Home Ecology Building Plans 1974 

4018 4

Home Management Building Blueprints Undated 

4018 5

Meeting Minutes of the Alumnae Association 1927-1936 

4018 6

Miscellaneous papers, publications, and schedules 1919-1978 

4018 7

New member information 1952-1958 

4018 8

Newsletter 1945-1946 

4018 9

Newsletter 1973-1981 

4018 10

Newsletter 1981-1985 

4018 11

Newsletter, Home Economics Honor Society 1947-1952 

4018 12

Newsletter, Home Economics Honor Society 1953-1959 

4018 13

Newsletter, Official Publications 1971-1973 

4018 14

Officers' Hand Book 1937-1962 

4018 15

Parliamentary Procedure and Bylaws circa 1960s 

4018 16

President's Hand Book Undated 

4018 17
Box Volume

Record Book (constitution, bylaws, and meeting minutes) 1912-1938 

4019 1

Record Book (meeting minutes) 1938-1967 

4019 2

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 2 - 9 1921-1929 

4019 2 - 9

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 9 - 14 1929-1935 

4019 9 - 14

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 13 - 15 1934-1936 

4019 13 - 15

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 16 - 21 1936-1942 

4019 16 - 21

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 22 - 29 1942-1955 

4019 22 - 29

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 30 - 33 1955-1963 

4019 30 - 33

Omicron Nu Publications, Volumes 34 - 37 1963-1971 

4019 34 - 37

Scrapbook cover, Michigan Home Economics Association 1911-1937 

wrapped package
Box Volume

Scrapbook pages, Michigan Home Economics Association 1911-1937 


Scrapbook, Alpha Chapter Omicron Nu 1912-1944 


Scrapbook, Home Economics Club 1933-1950 


Scrapbook, Memory Book from original Practice House 1921-1928 

Box Folder

College of Human Ecology Logo Drafts 1979 

4080 1

Miscellaneous Photographs Undated 

4080 2



"The Best There Is To Know" MSU College of Human Ecology   0.1 Cubic feet 1 VHS


"The Best There Is To Know" MSU College of Human Ecology   0.3 Cubic feet 3 U-Matics