The records consist of ledgers containing membership information -- including student members and alumni -- meeting minutes and meeting "roll calls", and dues collection information; correspondence between the national office and local chapter members; a chapter handbook from the 1950s, index cards with information on current members and alumni from the 1920s and 1930s; quarterly reports from the LaGrange chapter to the national office, and a small quantity of group photographs.
Membership information commences with the chartering of the LaGrange chapter in 1905. Personal information on many of the early initiates is quite comprehensive, including birth dates and locations, listing of collegiate and post-collegiate activities, awards and employment information. The amount of information on initiates varies with the turnover of chapter secretaries.
The chapter handbook published in the 1950s provides a brief history of the beginnings of the Minnesota chapter.
The collection includes minutes, membership, financial records and photographs of the university-based Minnesota chapter of the Alpha Zeta Fraternity, the national professional agricultural fraternity.
Biographical Sketch or Historical Note
Alpha Zeta, the national agricultural fraternity, was founded at the Ohio State University in 1897. The motivation of the student founders Charles Burkett and John Cunningham, was to increase fellowship among agricultural students on campus and raise the "standing" of the students studying agriculture in the eyes of the campus community through performing acts of community service and advancing agriculture-related professions.
The predecessor to the Minnesota chapter of Alpha Zeta was called the "Berkshire Club", which solicited the assistance of Professor C.P. Bull as the faculty sponsor. The Minnesota chapter experessed its appreciation to Dr. Bull by naming the chapter "LaGrange" in honor of Bull's leadership in the popular progressive farm organization, The Grange.
The chapter rented a house for members between 1906 and 1910, and through numerous fundraising efforts was able to place a downpayment on a house in 1911. The house debt was retired in 1926. The house was ultimately sold in the late 1940s.
The chapter had periods of greater and lesser participation and activity, often dependent on the whether or not the membership was involved in active military service. What had begun as a "professional" fraternity founded on a service ethic " became an "honorary" fraternity in 1936. Membership declined for a second time during WWII, and the chapter house became a rooming house for wives of navy recruits training at the University.
The LaGrange chapter was still active at the University of Minnesota into the early 2000s. Several members of the Minnesota chapter were named to the Alpha Zeta Centennial Hall of Fame in 1997.
Source of acquisition
The records were transferred to University Archives from the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Sciences Student Services Office in 2012.
Related Materials in University Archives
Department of Agricultural Engineering Records
School of Agriculture Records
Minnesota Agricultural Experiement Station Records