Have you ever thought what you would say to our founders if you had the chance to talk to them? As a historian, I have a long list of questions about those early days. I would also want to say "thank you" and tell them what an amazing organization they created. However, I am not the first one who thought of saying something to the founders. At the 1903 Grand Convention, the Founders Day Committee, charged to investigate and recommend uniform methods for the observance of Founders Day, recommended that all active chapters hold a banquet, use the ritual adopted by the committee, wear Theta colors on that day, require the grand president to send out a birthday greeting to every college and alumnae chapter, and that "the corresponding secretary of each chapter send on that day a note of congratulation to each of the original members who are still living." The practice of sending notes began and was greatly appreciated by the founders. A letter from Hannah Fitch Shaw, printed in the Magazine in January 1918 states: "You should see the eager interest my children and grandchildren take in the coming of Founders’-day mail. That is one time when I could make good use of a social secretary. We think it is perfectly lovely that I am remembered in that way. The nicest letters I have ever received came this year. I kept hoping I would get to answer all of them promptly. Will you thank the girls for their kindness which is deeply appreciated?"
In 1933, in a response to one of these notes, Bettie Locke Hamilton writes: "Yours came this morning along with five other greetings and six telegrams from the 'remote parts of the earth.'" The content of these notes have been lost over time. Beta Lambda/College of William and Mary talked about the telegraph they sent (and it also gives us a glimpse of Founders Day celebrations of the past): "Although several members were out of town for a basketball game, those at college celebrated Founders day by a supper party at Ye Poore Debtors’ prison tea-room, followed by a Theta birthday cake, Theta songs, and the reading of Theta Decades, the pageant written by Mrs. Marjorie Benton Haviland, former Grand vice-president. The celebration closed with a telegram of greetings and thanks to Hannah Fitch Shaw for her part in giving us Kappa Alpha Theta."
Our founders passed away many years ago, but we can and still should say "thank you." From January 21 to February 1, visit the Founders Day message board
and share your message. Mark this, our 143rd year, with a note of thanks or a comment about what Theta means to you, or read what other Thetas have to say.