Fraternities and sororities
- William McClellan
- , revised by Jessica L. Getman
Social, professional, or honorary organizations for men or women, or both men and women. Such societies are well established in the American academic world. This article deals only with those in which music plays an important part or is the principal concern.
Greek-letter organizations originated in the United States at institutions of higher education in 1776 with the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. This organization and most of the other early fraternal societies evolved as a result of the need for students to form groups for social activities, discussions, and fellowship—aspects of education usually denied them in the autocratic environment of the classroom. By 1831 Phi Beta Kappa had changed from a social organization into an honor society, emphasizing scholarship, and by 1900 the fraternity was co-educational and open to African American members. Another general, co-educational honor society still in existence is Phi Kappa Phi, which was founded in ...