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Literary Societies Records

Identifier: LU-RG06-017
This collection consists of records of literary societies at Lawrence University, including the Amphictyon, Athena, Lawrean,  Philalathean, Philal-Athena, and Phoenix societies. Records date from 1851 to 1925 and include meeting minutes, correspondence, programs, photographs, scrapbooks, and song books.


  • 1851-1925


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials older than 120 years are in the public domain. For all others, uses beyond those allowed for fair use under U. S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) require the researcher to secure permission from the copyright holder.


8.00 boxes

Biographical or Historical Information

The first literary society founded at Lawrence was the Amphictyon, a men's literary society, in 1851. The Phoenix Society grew out of fragments from this organization in 1855. The Philalathean Society, also for men, was founded in 1855. Once established, the Phoenix and Philalathean were rival societies through the early 1900s. The Athena Society for women was founded in 1858, and the Lawrean Club, also for women, was founded in 1870. After this time, the men's societies were aligned with the women's societies such that the Philalathan often cooperated with the Athena, and the Phoenix with the Lawrean. This led to the Philal-Athena Society, a coeducational group founded in 1897. Weekly meetings of these societies typically involved debates, orations, papers, and sometimes music. By the 1880s, societies occasionally produced theatrical works as well. Membership was restricted during their early years, but by the 1870s almost everyone in the college belonged to one of the societies. Enthusiasm and participation in literary societies gradually waned during the early 1900s as fraternities and sororities were established on campus.

Arrangement Note

Materials are arranged alphabetically.

Processing Information

Preliminary processing completed prior to 2014. Final processing and finding aid by Erin Dix, 2014.


Archon Finding Aid Title
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Lawrence University Archives Repository

Seeley G. Mudd Library
113 South Lawe Street
Appleton WI 54911 US
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