The Theta Nu Epsilon Society.
National Officers in Theta Nu Epsilon History.
||Olin L. Livesey
Livesey has always been credited as the leading
spirit behind the founding of Theta Nu Epsilon. The idea of
organizing was likely his, and he also appears to have been
the one both the intelligence and dedication to make the
Society grow in its first years.
As an undergraduate, he was a Psi Upsilon, and had both a
Bachelor’s and Master’s from Wesleyan.
He initially settled close to Middletown in New London.
His career was initially wide-ranging. He wrote for the
New York Tribune, taught school, and then turned to
business, after a few years establishing the Livesey
In 1887, he sold out and went to California, where he
managed farming operations and the Manzana Colony. He then,
in 1902, became the City Assessor and Tax Collector of
Pasadena, California. From 1905 until just before his death,
he was Clerk of the Superior Court, Los Angeles.
Starting in 1912, he, Costons, and Gerst were named
Honorary National Presidents of the Society.
The original photo reproduced here is inscribed “Yours in
Theta Nu Epsilon, Olin L. Livesey, Alpha ’73“”, and is in the
archives of the Alpha Chapter.
||Lyman H. Weeks
Lyman Weeks was another of the founders of Theta Nu
Epsilon. Although his exact role at the beginning of the
Society was unclear, he became a regular at National
Conventions in New York in the Teens and Twenties, always
willing to show support for Theta Nu Epsilon.
At Wesleyan, he was a member of Alpha Delta Phi. Later in
life he authored several books and was also a journalist. He
wrote on historical and cultural topics, and his most
substantial work is probably The Legal and Judicial
History of New York, (1911).
This photo seems to have been taken at the fiftieth
reunion of the Class of 1873, or in 1928, when Brother Weeks
deposited his Theta Nu Epsilon - related items in the
Templeton - 1885
The first national conventions
of Theta Nu Epsilon were held in upstate New York in the
1880’s & 1890’s. These Original Conventions recommended
policy to the Alpha Chapter, which was still the source of
At the first convention in May, 1885, Charles Templeton
was elected the first presiding officer.
Later when those conventions were surpassed, he played no
rôle in national afairs, but did continue as a loyal and
Joseph Hartigan was the individual who, more than
any other, deserves credit for the national organization of
1907. A student at New York University, he saw the need for
closer coöperation among chapters. Working with J.W.S. Moss
and later Gordon Case, he was able to organize the society
He later also worked to establish the Alumni Club of
Theta Nu Epsilon in New York.
||Thomas J. Smull
Smull, of the Omicron Omicron chapter at Ohio
Northern University, was recently graduated from college
when he took a leadership role in the national organization.
He had begun his studies at Susquehanna University in
Pennsylvania. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta.
He was a Civil Engineer, and became the Dean of the
Engineering Department at Ohio Northern in 1905.
He first became President of the Society on April 12,
1912, and had an ongoing active rôle in National affairs,
||James W. S. Moss
Probably the most ambitious and successful officer
of this era of Theta Nu Epsilon. He was President from 1909
to 1912, and again in 1915 & 1916. Moss was also especially
active in organizing New York City area chapters. He played
the crucial rôle from in the creation of the United
He was a 1909 gratuate of Stevens Institute of Technology
and a mechanical engineer. He developed a system of uniform
heating in railroad passenger cars and worked under Edison
in New Jersey.
The steps he took with the officers of the National made
his era the most prosperous of the society’s history.
He later also worked to establish the Alumni Club of
Theta Nu Epsilon in New York.
Gordon Case was very important to the early years
of the national. As Editor of the Society’s publications, he
was central to fostering communication and the presentation
of the Society to the rest of the world.
He had a B. A. and M. A. from Yale University, Class of
1908, where he became a member of the Lambda Sigma Chapter.
He was a statistician and an actuary, and an examiner of
the New York State Insurance Department.
As editor of the Theta Nu Epsilon Quarterly, his
training and rhetorical skills were invaluable.
||George R. Sturges
Sturges was a Yale graduate (1905), and a Yale Law
graduate (1908). While there he was connected with the Yale
Law School Forum. He was also a member of the Yale Theta Nu
Epsilon chapter, Book and Gavel, and Phi Alpha Delta.
He served three year-long terms as President of Theta Nu
||Clarence J. Hand
Hand was an important organizer of the United
He was an undergraduate at Cornell until 1909, but he
appears to have only joined Theta Nu Epsilon as a law
student at New York University at the Upsilon Upsilon
Chapter on April 10, 1912, and became the National Historian
in 1915. He served in that capacity until WW I.
His careful management of the archives is reflected in
the records of the society today, as is his legal training.
He later practiced law downtown.
||I. Thurman Mann
Ira Thurman Mann was a Doctor and the
Vice-president for the Southeastern region of the society
from 1915 to WW I. His real strength in the Society was
holding together the Society in the Southeastern part of the
He was born in Silver City, North Carolina, but his
family settled in High Point. He was an undergraduate at
Duke where he was a Alpha Beta Kappa. He began his medical
studies at the University of North Carolina, and there also
joined Phi Chi. He transferred to Jefferson Medical College
in Philadelphia, and there became a member of Theta Nu
During his internship in Brooklyn, he was active in
national affairs in the Society. He later returned to High
Point, North Carolina, and, given his wide academic
experience, helped to support chapters in the region.
||J. P. O’Brien
O’Brien was elected a Trustee of the society in
He was an attorney from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He was
originally from a farm at Randolph, Wisconsin, and attended
Valley City Normal College. In 1912, he was admitted to the
study of law at Marquette University, and became a member of
the Nu Nu chapter of Theta Nu Epsilon there, completing his
studies in 1915.
He later began practice in Milwaukee.
Walter Erlenkotter, or ‘Early,’ was the secretary of the
society for many years and was generally regarded one of the
sage voices of the society. Without his efforts, there would
have been little institutional integrity in Theta Nu Epsilon
through the 1920’s.
He graduated from Stevens in the Class of 1908, and there
joined the Mu chapter of Theta Nu Epsilon. He there became a
chemist, and was also a member of the professional
engineering society, Tau Beta Pi.
It has not been possible to locate a photograph of
Erlenkotter. He was described as modest, and that “he
persistently refuses to release ... either a photograph or
the record of his still youthful past. Be it said, however,
that he is tall, blonde, handsome, and of sweet and loving
Clarke - 1921
Clarke was never an officer of
Theta Nu Epsilon, and he prided himself on the dissolution
of the University of Illinois Chapter, something he achieved
as Dean of that institution. However, after 1921, he was a
reliable friend of the society, and a valuable defender of
it before the N.I.C.
Frayser - 1932
Benjamin Frayser was a strong
supporter of the society, and for years was a crucial
organizer of the society in the Kentucky and Tennessee
areas. He spent many years as a Trustee, and as a District
deputy of the society in the northern Rocky Mountain states
during his military service.
Frayser was originally a member of the University of the
South Psi Omega Chapter.
He was also active in other societies, and was the
founder of the Kappa Phi society, a medical society for
physicians training in pharmaceuticals. His continuing
interest in Theta Nu Epsilon can be seen in Kappa Phi’s
emblem, which included the skull & bones.
Kappa Phi was founded in 1909 at Sewanee, and the
Tennessee Alpha chapter continued there for three years
under his leadership. In that short time, however, it
established three other chapters; at Lincoln Memorial
University, the University College of Medicine in Virginia,
and at the University of Alabama. The organization did not
||Francis L. Mathews
Frank Mathwes was the Historian of the Society in
He was a member of the University of Illinois Pi Pi
||John T. Madden
John Madden was the Dean of the School of Commerce,
He was a major stabilizing influence, serving as a
Vice-president for three years, and then in 1926 becoming
President of the Society for six years. Through most of this
period, Perry O. Powell, as Executive Secretary directed
most of the affairs of the society.
||Phillip F. Ray
Phillip Ray was the Historian of the society in
1928 and 1929, and then served a number of years as a
Ray was an alumnus of the University of California,
Berkeley, Delta Pi Chapter. He represented the interests of
the Western chapters for many years.
||Perry O. Powell
As an undergraduate, Perry O. Powell was initiated
at Marquette University’s Nu Nu Chapter.
Powell was the prime re-organizer of the society after WW
I. He had a very strong effect on the society, and by the
late 1920’s, the National had been reconstituted, had a
quarter as many chapters, and had become a four-year
society. He was the Executive Secretary through this period,
only becoming President in 1931. The dramatic changes in the
Society in the Twenties can largely be traced to him. His
efforts were short-lived.
||T. J. Smull
Thomas Smull was President of the Society in 1912
and 1913. Years later, in 1926, he returned to office as
Vice-president under John Madden and Perry O. Powell,
holding that office for almost a decade.
||Henry R. Kelly
Henry Kelly was Perry O. Powell’s successor as
president in 1935. He was originally a member of Phi Nu
Theta at Union College.
Kelly was particularly selected by National Council
members for the sole purpose of reversing the deleterious
trends of his predecessor and bringing responsible
leadership to the society. He inherited a society with just
a handful of chapters, and heading into the dislocations of
His records were eventually transferred to the Alpha
Chapter, where they remain in the Chapter archives.
He was recognized by the Alpha Chapter for holding the
society together through difficult times, and named a
Honorary National President in the late 1980’s. His efforts
have reunited branches of the society once far apart, and is
still alive today.
||W. F. Pilgrim
Wilbur Pilgrim was the Treasurer of the Society in
1930 and 1932.
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