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Dartmouth College. United Fraternity


Social fraternities at Dartmouth College grew out of a tradition of student literary societies that began in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The first such society at Dartmouth, the Social Friends, was formed in 1783. A rival organization, called the United Fraternity, was founded in 1786. These organizations were, in large part, the only social life available to students at the college. The organizations hosted debates on a variety of topics not encountered in the curriculum of the day, and amassed large libraries of titles not found in the official College library. Both the Social Friends and the United Fraternity created libraries in Dartmouth Hall, and met in a room called Society Hall inside Dartmouth Hall. In 1815, the college decided to intervene in the hotly contested recruitment battle between the Social Friends and the United Fraternity by restricting each society to recruit only from separate halves of the new student class. In 1825, the college began simply assigning new students to one society or the other. Interest in the literary societies declined in the 1830s and 1840s.

Found in 5 Collections and/or Records:

Dartmouth College United Fraternity membership certificate

Mss 789475.4
Identifier: Mss 789475.4
Overview In English.

Social Friend and United Fraternity report

Mss 814590
Identifier: Mss 814590
Scope and Contents Report of the Committee regarding membership.

Social Friends and United Fraternities amendment

Mss 815615.1
Identifier: Mss 815615.1
Overview In English.

United Fraternity & Social Friends letter

Mss 796607.1
Identifier: Mss 796607.1
Scope and Contents Letter from United Fraternity and Social Friends with a rushing agreement of United Confederacy.

United Fraternity and Social Friends vote

Mss 812900.1
Identifier: Mss 812900.1
Scope and Contents Vote to fit up lecture room (Society Hall) as a meeting place for the two fraternities.