Phi Beta Kappa in American Life: The First Two Hundred Years

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Diane Publishing Company, Jun 1, 1990 - Education - 319 pages
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On Dec. 5, 1776, five William and Mary students formed a secret club whose motto -- "Love of wisdom the guide of life" -- they represented by the Greek letters PBK. The society quickly increased in members; today, Phi Beta Kappa is America's foremost honor society, the forerunner and prototype of all other such groups as well as all Greek-letter fraternities. This book provides a complete history of the society, tracing its growth from a local debating club to a national organization. The author examines its grudging admission of women and blacks, the uproar over Paul Robeson's selection for the editorial board of American Scholar, and many other controversies.

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Phi Beta Kappa in American life: the first two hundred years

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This history was commissioned by the Phi Beta Kappa Society, but the Society's history committee was not pleased with the result because, says Current, the account gives an overall "negative ... Read full review

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The best (well, the only) current history of PBK, its history and impact. Read full review

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About the author (1990)

Born in Colorado City, Colorado, on October 5, 1912, Richard Nelson Current received his B.A. from Oberlin College and went on to earn an M.S. at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a Ph.D. in history (1939) at the University of Wisconsin. Current taught at a number of institutions, including Rutgers University, Lawrence College, Mills College, the University of Illinois, and the University of Wisconsin before becoming Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1966--1983). He also taught in Japan, India, the Netherlands, Australia, Chile, and Germany. He was Harmsworth Professor at Oxford University. Current wrote about historical subjects ranging from the invention of the typewriter to American diplomacy. In 2000, he won the Lincoln Prize for lifetime achievement in the area of best non-fiction historical work pertaining to the American Civil War . Current died on October 26, 2012 at age 100. He is buried in Greensboro, NC.

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