In 2008 brother Ron Decker ’55 made an extraordinary discovery: He found boxes of chapter records that he, as chapter president of the Cornell chapter, had removed from the house more than fifty years ago. The house was having major repairs done that summer, and he wanted to put them away for safekeeping.
The records date back to even before the founding of the Cornell chapter in 1869, and chronicle the organization of the chapter, the construction of the first chapter house, the devastating fire of 1909, the construction of the existing structure and scores of other events in the history of the chapter. They offer a unique glimpse of college life more than a century ago.
In 2009 Tony Cashen ’57 and Kevin Bruns ’79 began digitizing the materials. In these galleries you will find several dozen of the more important and more interesting documents. The archival documents are contained in cloth-bound, legal-size minute books (with lined pages), most of which had probably not been opened since long before Decker brought them home for safe-keeping in the mid 1950s.
Perhaps the most interesting find were the biographical profiles of decades of brothers. They were recorded by unknown contemporaries — likely undergraduate or alumni association officers. In these sketches, written in hand, the lives of DUs were chronicled — their post-Cornell degrees, first jobs, careers, political appointments, marriages and deaths.