Bertha Richmond Chevalier

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Bertha Richmond Chevalier, President 1896-1900

Bertha Richmond (Chevalier), Phi Chapter, Boston (1873-1942)

Bertha Richmond (Chevalier) was elected Grand President in 1896. In 1894, a year before her graduation from Boston University, she was appointed Business Manager of The Key and accompanied the Editor to Convention. There she was elected Grand Secretary, and two years later, Grand President. She served two terms, 1896-1900, closing out the century.

Like Kate Sharp, with whom she served as Grand Secretary, Bertha was a librarian. For seven years she worked on staff at the Boston Public Library (she married the head of the Catalogue Department, Samuel Chevalier, in 1902) and later worked at the Harvard College Library.

During her term as Grand President, she shared Kate Sharp’s conservatism on extension. At the 1898 Convention, charter revocation was seriously discussed and the Fraternity decided to confine chapters to large colleges and universities. The result was a vote to withdraw Beta Beta’s charter at St. Lawrence. Beta Beta objected, but the Council would not be swayed. Though the chapter took its case to the courts, the chapter ceased to be known as Beta Beta in 1903 and its members reorganized as a local fraternity, Zeta Phi. In 1915, the chapter was re-installed as Beta Beta Deuteron.

Bertha Richmond ended her second term reporting that the Song Book had paid for itself, the Catalogue had been published and The Key was financially sound. She also imparted her belief that the Fraternity was not only part of undergraduate life, but “something that you can always come back to.” In her 1898 valedictory address, she urged formation of alumna groups.

Years later, Ella Titus, Boston, (former Editor of The Key) mentioned that “those rather dry little items…stand for six years of faithful, competent administrative work (and) lasting ties of friendship.”

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