The 1930's - The Nation Rebuilds
In writing about the early 1930s at Tau Phi Delta, Brother Laurence C. Smack, Class of 1931, was quick to point out: "The closing of the second semester last June also marked the end of another successful year at Penn State. June House Party was the farewell social function to our seniors, and with the loss of six men we carried the House over ‘til school opened in September. "The opening of school this year found us confining our 'rushing' to sophomores that had completed their freshman year at Mont Alto. The total membership of the house was twelve active Brothers, and through excellent cooperation we pledged eighteen new men, which fills the house and necessitates the rooming of' six men in town. The first social function this fall was the Pledge Dance held at the house on October 11th. The dance was well attended by Brothers and pledges and a good time was had by all."
A good time was surely had by all, as it has always been. Even while amidst the toughest known National crisis, this generation of Brothers continues to work hard for recruits, as well as enjoy life's finer moments (partying). The Grand National continues onward so other young men in collegiate forestry can also experience that known by Tau Phi's at Pennsylvania, Washington, and Minnesota colleges.
"Our delegation at Cornell initially appears favorable. The Robin Hood Club was organized and had been operating."Tau Phi Delta Alumni attending Yale University form an alumni chapter, possibly with the intent to organize another active chapter. Yet a real disappointment from the North Carolina State fraternity Theta Phi Theta, was reported by Brothers Philip McCandless and Walter Quick: "Theta Phi Theta withdrew its petition to become a chapter of Tau Phi Delta. Theta Phi Theta is composed of forestry students, many of whom transferred from the Mont Alto forest school when that institution merged with the Pennsylvania State College. Theta Phi Theta was fully eligible for admission to Tau Phi Delta and preparations were under way by the Grand Chapter for conducting the chapter installation when the withdrawal of the petition occurred. It is understood that Theta Phi Theta is to become a chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho, social professional agricultural fraternity. It is rather inconceivable that a group of typical foresters should so readily affiliate themselves with the farming profession, thereby entirely losing their individuality as foresters. Aside from this consideration, the withdrawal of the petition after it had been approved by Tau Phi Delta is generally regarded as entirely unethical among fraternity organizations. A group of men that are as unfixed in their purpose and ideals as this action indicates, certainly cannot constitute a loss of very great importance to Tau Phi Delta. Perhaps we should rejoice that this absence of purpose became a reality. In establishing new chapters, we are anxious that our fraternity's definite objective and firm foundation be in no way weakened. Assuredly, though we are all regretful that Theta Phi Theta has deserted the forestry profession." One can imagine that in those days cotton and tobacco money had more clout over pulp and lumber. On a brighter note in 1930, "the house I-M football team, those mighty wood-choppers, hacked their way through the Delta Chi's, runners-up the previous year. The score 6-0." Hail Mary! Another house event becomes an annual ritual "as we incorporate the Christmas Frolic with a venison dinner. All the side dishes, nuts, cigars, and the usual distribution of unusual gifts." One historic account best describes the ongoing saga of Initiation Week. "And did we have fun. We arranged a lot of new requirements this year and the whole thing was more instructive to the pledges, and more interesting to us. Quizzes on the history of the house and more long trips with less paddling featured the festivities." And the moment every Brother looks forward to is best detailed in the following: "The Seniors are leaving, Hurrah, Hurrah! To further celebrate this gladsome occasion we are having a dance on March 19. The Varsity Ten has been booked to throw the notes around, and we are expecting many alumni back for this dance to give the unfortunates a good hot send-off before 'Fergie' shoves them into the cruel, cold world." This group called Tau Phi Delta celebrated its 10th Anniversary on March 4, 1934 with notable festivities. Also in 1934, the landlord, Mr. Heckert, realizing the economics of the time, reduced the rent to $100 for the remainder of the lease, which expired in 1936. During this period of tenancy relations between the fraternity and Mr. Heckert were very amicable, and a feeling of mutual satisfaction prevailed. Also during this period, career opportunities increased as forestry and its associated jobs in game management, forest pest research, and wood utilization expand. President Hoover said he would do it, however, it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who had to do it! The National Recovery Act, Migratory Bird Hunting Act, Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson) and the Civilian Conservation Corps brightened the hopes for those Brothers wishing to start their careers in the forests. "Uncle Sam's $75 jobs found plenty of supporters among the juniors, who hope that (these) experiences will be valuable when they have graduated."With these signs of prosperity ahead, the house began to make capital asset purchases. In 1937, we "bought a new radio-phonograph machine. It's a wonderful piece of machinery. You'll remember that we had one before, but the wheels fell off." The Mont Alto Campus (formerly the Pennsylvania Forestry Academy) continued to play an important role in the Brotherhood's membership expansion, vocational training, and individual growth. "During the summer the sophomores were in training at Mont Alto, becoming intimate with surveying, silviculture, and measuration during the day and burning the midnight oil preparing volume tables and maps. We refrain from mentioning the other intimacies that may have developed in Waynesboro, Chambersburg, and points North, South, East and West." Some things never change...except maybe the length of hemlines! Brother James McCracken, Class of 1937, reported that one of the major house projects of his era was the interaction with the Washington and Minnesota Chapters. This included academic achievement rivalries, nationwide job searches for Juniors and Seniors, and constant communications with The CONES. Brother McCracken, a former Phi, is retired and living in Laconia, New Hampshire.The later thirties bring about a breath of fresh air and celebrations in order. Jerry McHale's Orchestra (Scranton) and local talent Eddi Purdue and his Bellefonte Orchestra are common elements, as the "Puzzen Club" and other Tau Phi's "caught the swing of things and shagged on down!" A young college instructor, M. K. Goddard commits himself to the causes of Tau Phi Delta (as well as the profession) when he becomes our newest house advisor. (He succeeds Brother Ira Bull.) The decade ends with promise to the House's future, the forestry field, and our country...but this is not the case for rest of the world!
Penn State Alpha Chapter Room