In this Book

NYU Press
summary

Sororities are often thought of as exclusive clubs for socially inclined college students, but Bound by a Mighty Vow, a history of the women's Greek system, demonstrates that these organizations have always served more serious purposes. Diana Turk explores the founding and development of the earliest sororities (then called women's fraternities) and explains how these groups served as support networks to help the first female collegians succeed in the hostile world of nineteenth century higher education.

Turk goes on to look at how and in what ways sororities changed over time. While the first generation focused primarily on schoolwork, later Greek sisters used their fraternity connections to ensure social status, gain access to jobs and job training, and secure financial and emotional support as they negotiated life in turn-of-the-century America. The costs they paid were conformity to certain tightly prescribed beliefs of how "ideal" fraternity women should act and what "ideal" fraternity women should do.

Drawing on primary source documents written and preserved by the fraternity women themselves, as well as on oral history interviews conducted with fraternity officers and alumnae members, Bound by a Mighty Vow uncovers the intricate history of these early women's networks and makes a bold statement about the ties that have bound millions of American women to one another in the name of sisterhood.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Frontmatter
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. p. v
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Preface
  2. p. vii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction: Fraternities’ Past and Historians’ Present
  2. pp. 1-11
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1 Of Serious Mind and Purpose: The First Generation of Fraternity Women
  2. pp. 13-42
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2 The Most Socially Eligible: “At Home” with the Second Generation of Fraternity Women
  2. pp. 43-79
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3 A National Society to Rank with the First in America: Expansion and Exclusion in the Women’s Greek System
  2. pp. 81-112
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4 In Search of Unity: Fostering “High Ideals” in the Face of Antifraternity Sentiment, 1910–1920
  2. pp. 113-140
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5 Once a Sister, Always a Sister: Fraternity Membership in the Postcollege Years
  2. pp. 141-155
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 6 Bound by a Mighty Vow: The Costs and Benefits of Fraternity Membership, 1870–1920
  2. pp. 157-163
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 165-221
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 223-232
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 233-243
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. About the Author
  2. p. 245
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.