Edith Reese Crabtree

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Edith Reese Crabtree, President 1952-1956

Edith Reese Crabtree, Beta Gamma, Wooster (1884-1983)

Edith Reese Crabtree was the oldest Kappa to serve as President (1952-1956). When she took office at 68, she had already served the Fraternity nearly a quarter of a century.

Edith briefly taught Latin and was YWCA secretary in Boston (she later became Boston YWCA president) before her marriage, and had served two terms as President of Boston Inter-Collegiate Alumnae and as adviser to Phi Chapter. She rose through the ranks before her presidency, becoming Alpha Province Director in 1933, Director of Standards in 1936, Director of Membership and Panhellenic in 1938, Vice President in 1942 and Director of Chapter Programs and NPC Delegate in 1944 (serving until 1951, when she became chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference). She also served as Interfraternity Research and Advisory secretary to the Council of College Fraternities and Sororities for several years. When she took office as President in 1952, the Constitution, Bylaws and Standing Rules were revised. Clara O. Pierce was honored on her 25th anniversary as Executive Secretary, which included the presentation of the first Gracious Living Award.

A mother of three and a grandmother, Edith focused special attention on chapters, hoping to heighten for young members the meaning of the Fraternity by teaching Kappa history, organization, policies and procedures. At the Centennial Commencement at Monmouth College in 1953, she received an honorary degree of doctor of human letters.

When she left office, Edith became chairman of Kappa’s first Fraternity Research Committee (1956-1964). In 1964 she received the Loyalty Award and was honored with a special achievement award for outstanding volunteer activities in the fields of community, education and fraternity, an honor reflecting her constant concern for the welfare of youth.

“I believe the fraternity system has special opportunity and responsibility in helping to train the leadership America needs,” she once said, “and I’m sure the Fraternity offers joys of friendship greater than anything except family ties.”

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