Phi Kappa Sigma Initiates New Member

Thu., Jun. 26, 1856

Phi Kappa Sigma, at the time a secret society two years in age unknown to Dickinson faculty, initiated Horatio Collins King (Class of 1858) as the seventeenth member of the Epsilon Chapter.  King described the initiation ritual in his journal: "At 9 P.M. Messrs Hulsey [Jennings Marion Clark Hulsey, Class of 1858] and Bird [Gustavus Claggett Bird, Class of 1857] came to my room and escorted me to I.D. Clarks [Isaac Davis Clark, Class of 1856] room at Mrs. Armstrongs.  Before entering the room, was blindfolded, and an obligation of Secrecy was imposed upon me: I was then led to a table, my right-hand placed upon a human skull, and my left upon my heart, and I then received the first degree, repeating and swearing to observe a most binding oath."

The next day, King underwent the "2d degree": " being informed of the signs of recognition, grip &c., &c., all of which I fear to entrust to paper, as their disclosure would cause great trouble.  I am now a full member.  Was shown the Archives, the skull and bones &c., &c."  King called the members of Phi Kappa Sigma "a choice crowd: about the best in College."

Event Type: 

Journal of Horatio Collins King, Class of 1858