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Eumenean Society. Records, 1838 - 2004

Identifier: RG12-1

Scope and Contents

The collection contains minutes, constitutions, correspondence, class and roll books, membership books, credit books, treasurer's books, records from the Junior Eumenean Society, a scrapbook, some printed material, and memorabilia. The minutes are from 1838-1935, 1950-1957, and 1984-1987. There is also a photocopy of the minutes from 1838-1843 which can be found at the end of the collection. Unfortunately, the minutes from the first 38 meetings of the Society have been lost, as have the minutes from 1935-1950, 1957-1983, and 1988 to the present. The minutes from 1907-1914 are oversized and are housed separately. The minutes are from both regular and called meetings, and contain information including debate topics, fines levied, honorary and regular membership, commencement speakers, the organization of the library, the construction of the hall, oration and essay awards, and political movements within the society. The detail of the minutes depends largely upon the secretary of the period. There are three bound copies of the Eumenean constitution, one of which is believed to be written by Woodrow Wilson while he was a student at Davidson. The correspondence is from 1842-1843 and 1990 and discusses honorary membership and financial contributions. The class and roll books are for the years 1901, 1910-1911 and 1913-1914. They contain information about society members and list debate groups. The membership book lists members from 1840-1869. [This book is oversized and housed separately.] Members who graduated from the society are also listed in the alumni book. There is a separate book listing honorary members; these names are organized alphabetically. The credit books are from 1905-1933 and list the names of members, plus activities related to the society, such as orations, essays, and debates. The Treasurer's books contain financial information from 1839-1858, 1892-1893, 1895-1914 and 1916-1930. The records from 1906-1914 are in the same book as the minutes from 1924-1931, and this book is housed with the minutes. The records from 1916-1926 are oversized and are housed separately. The records from 1927-1930 are in the same book as the minutes from 1931-1935, and this book is housed with the minutes. These records include the payment of dues, initiation fees and fines, and occasionally list expenses of the society. There is a book from 1899-1900 containing minutes of the absences committee. The records of the Junior Eumenean Society contain minutes from 1920-1921, the roll book from 1919-1921, and treasurer's records from 1921-1927. There is a scrapbook from the presentation of the newly-renovated literary society halls in 1956. Printed material includes copies of the Eumenean Society publication "Euphony," printed information about the presentation of the halls, and printed copies of the constitution. Memorabilia consists of a note found in a bottle in the attic of Eumenean Hall during its 1956 renovation and a typescript copy of the text, plus several pictures of the hall that were used is various publications. The oversize folder contains blueprints of the hall, as well as copies of the Eumenean diploma. There also is a file folder that contains invitations to the Fete Champetre from 1882-84. Box 10 contains correspondence, constitution and flyers from 1977 to 2003. There is also a bound volume that contains printed speeches from speakers invited to campus by both literary societies. Included in the volume are: Beard, John, Jr. Address delivered at the request of the literary societies of Davidson College.; Thornwell, James H. Address delivered before the literary societies of Davidson College.; Sparrow, P. J. (Patrick Jones), 1802-1867. Duty of the educated young men of this country.; Bynum, John Gray. Address delivered before the literary societies of Davidson College, N.C. ;Baker, Archibald, 1812-1878. Address delivered before the two literary societies of Davidson College, North Carolina. Howe, George, 1802-1883. Value and influence of literary pursuits. Strange, Robert, 1796-1854. Pursuits of life. ; O'Neall, John Belton, 1793-1863. Address delivered before the Eumenean Society of Davidson College, N.C.; Gorrell, Ralph. Influence of educated men upon society.; Palmer, B. M. (Benjamin Morgan), 1818-1902. Baconianism and the Bible.; Phillips, Samuel F. Some topics in Roman history of special importance to the American scholar.; Smyth, J. Jones. Address delivered before the Philanthropic and Eumenean Societies of Davidson College, North Carolina.; Smith, Moody B. Address delivered before the two literary societies of Davidson College, N.C.; Eaton, William. Address delivered before the Eumenean and Philanthropic Societies of Davidson College, N.C.; Clingman, T. L. (Thomas Lanier), 1812-1897. Address.; Witherspoon, T. D. Materialism in its relations to modern civilization.; Orr, Gustavus John, 1819-1887. Choice of a profession. Included in the volume and also as a separate copy Rev D. E. Frierson's Literary Merit of the Bible, 1858.


  • Creation: 1838


Biographical / Historical

The Eumenean Society, founded in 1837, is one of the oldest organizations on the Davidson College Campus. Originally called the Polemic Debating Society, it changed its name soon after the formation of the Philanthropic Society, feeling that its name was too "war-like." The first meetings of the society took place in the classroom of Professor Sparrow. In 1842 the Eumenean Society decided to "make an attempt to erect a Society Hall," and in 1849 the building was constructed. The Philanthropic and Eumenean Societies served an important role in the college's history. They provided the opportunity for self-government and leadership within an organized structure, using mutually agreed upon rules and regulations. The societies also created libraries for use by the members. Oratorical skills were stressed and regular debates were held both between and within the societies. Medals were awarded for outstanding orations and essays. In addition, the societies invited speakers to the campus, arranged commencement activities, and helped to provide activity to an isolated campus. In 1921 a group split from the Eumenean Society in order to keep interest and encourage competition amongst the students. This group was known as the Pandenic Society. In 1927 the Eumenean and Pandeinic Societies combined, keeping the name of the Eumenean Society. Noteworthy members of the Eumenean Society include Woodrow Wilson, Peter Stuart Ney, Dean Rusk, and honorary member John C. Calhoun. The motto for the Eumenean society is "Pulchrum est colere mentum," meaning "it is noble to cultivate the mind," and the society's color is pink.


10.00 boxes_oversize (10 boxes plus oversize)




The collection is arranged in the following series: 1) Minutes from regular and called meetings; 2) Constitutions and Bylaws; 3) Correspondence; 4) Class and Roll books; 5) Membership books; 6) Credit books; 7) Treasurer's books; 8) Absences Committee Minutes; 9) Junior Eumenean Society Minutes; 10) Junior Eumenean Society Treasurer's books; 11) Scrapbook; 12) Printed Material; 13) Memorabilia; 14) Photocopy of minutes; 15) Oversize.

Physical Location



Mapstand D-5

D-Room Case III

Related Materials

Dean of Students' Office


Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the College Archives Repository