The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International

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International History Alpha Mu State
Montana History


On May 11, 1929 Dr. Annie Webb Blanton and eleven other women educators met at the University Faculty Women's Club in Austin, Texas to organize a society which today is known today as The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. Dr. Blanton planned that the membership of each chapter should represent different areas of educational work.

The women who accepted her invitation to join in founding the Society represented a cross section of the profession; a grade teacher, a dean of women, two high school teachers of history and one of mathematics, three elementary school principals, college teachers of psychology, physical education and elementary education. Dr. Blanton was a professor of rural education at the University of Texas in Austin.

Although they risked their security and the loss of employment by working in the new Society which focused on women’s issues within their profession and their community. While this new organization was frowned upon by masculine educators, these twelve women gave generously of time and energy as they crusaded on behalf of women teachers.

The Society grew from 12 members in one state in 1929 to 2,201 members in six states five years later. Expansion into British Columbia in 1952 made the Society an international organization.

The 25th anniversary of the Society was celebrated in 1954 by presenting a silver anniversary scholarship to one member from each state. Thelma Berntson received the award to complete work for her MS degree in speech pathology from the University of Wisconsin. The International Headquarters building was dedicated debt-free on August 3, 1956. Montana was the first state to complete their financial support to the new building. Even though the building has been through several renovations, it still serves the Society in an efficient and welcoming manner.

Thelma Berntsen of Theta Chapter served on the first Board of Trustees for the Education Foundation. Other Alpha Mu State members who have served are Catherine Rathman and Jan Nerem.

Norway State was organized in 1970 and today the Society has eighteen countries when Japan was initiated in 2011. The Society now has approximately 85,000 members.

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Dr. Blanton came to Montana on April 13, 1940 to organize Montana as the thirty-sixth state in Delta Kappa Gamma. Alpha Mu State was organized at the Finlen Hotel in Butte, MT. Following a one o'clock luncheon, members were initiated, dues were collected, officers were elected and installed for Alpha Mu State. Alpha and Beta Chapters were chartered at that time. Plans were made to organize four chapters in the state. An attendance of 54 was reported.Dr. Blanton collected the dues and initiation fees until she became loaded down with cash, much of it in silver dollars. As the group met later in her room, Dr. Blanton emptied her pockets and purse, scooped up the piles of bills from her bed, and said, "This money is all mixed up. I don't know what to do with it. Here, Bess, you be the treasurer and straighten it out." Dr. Blanton dumped the money in Bess' lap. (Bess Stone served as the state treasurer from 1940 to 1946.) Dr. Blanton went to Billings next and installed Gamma Chapter on April 15 before going to Great Falls to install Delta Chapter on April 16. She then went to Idaho to organize Alpha Nu State at Pocatello on April 18, 1940. Information taken from Fifty Years in Montana Ethel T. Picton State Editor 1966-1990.

Alpha Mu State Founders

Mildred Beaudoin
Minnie P. Elliot
Marion Bainbridge Elmslie
Zella Flores
Thelma Fay Fouts
Alice Laustad
Huldah Laustad
Agnes McDonald
Helen O'Dea
Dr. Catherine Nutterville
Edna Tobias Reeser
Margaret Reese
Margaret Skinner
Estelle Ryan
Lois Toumbley
Bess Vera Stone

Organized April 13, 1940
Finlen Hotel, Butte
Dr. Annie Webb Blanton, Organizer

Chapter indicated is during their term as President
1943 Dr. Catherine Nutterville (Deceased) Beta
1945 Lucy Kreiman (Deceased) Alpha
1947 Alice Lustad (Deceased) Gamma
1949 Helen O'Dea (Deceased) Zeta
1951 Zella K. Flores (Deceased) Zeta
1953 Virginia Speck Eta
1955 Catherine M. Rathman (Deceased) Delta
1957 Lulu Barnard (Deceased) Lambda
1959 Helen Adams (Deceased) Beta
1961 Thelma Bernston (Deceased) Theta
1963 Elsie Browning (Deceased) Delta
1965 Helen Small (Deceased) Beta
1967 Lucetta F. Hope (Deceased) Xi
1969 Mary Kron (Deceased) Kappa
1971 Alice Klimas (Deceased) Omega
1973 Janice Nerem Sigma
1975 Arlene McKee (Deceased) Lambda
1977 Alberta Klocker (Deceased) Alpha
1979 Gertrude Olson (Deceased) Delta
1981 Letitia Johnson (Deceased) Eta
1983 Kathleen Tubman (Deceased) Xi
1985 Dr. Marolane Stevenson Phi
1987 Pauline Oldenburg Eta
1989 Joyce Fiechtner Tau
1991 Sally Macmillan Delta
1993 Betty-Jean Olson Chi
1995 Sharon Britton Omega
1997 Doris Nicholson-Whitley Alpha Zeta
1999 Carolyn O'Mara Alpha Gamma
2001 Virginia Mart Tau
2003 Rita Fish Mu
2005 Charmaine Mansheim Alpha Alpha
2007 Maureen Watt Omicron
2009 Lloyd-Ann McMahan Mu
2009 Mary Meissner

Colleen Allison Judy Martz *Dorothy Caton *Margaret Warden
Norma Ashby Theresa Raciot *Dorothy Floerchinger *Mildred Scheem Walker
Dr. Betty Gilson Joan Schmidt *Harriet Meloy * Deceased

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Maintained and updated by Eva English, Alpha Mu State Webmaster
Created, July 2009.