The Phi Mu Fraternity is an engineering honor society later known as the Maryland Beta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi. The Phi Mu Fraternity records consist of research papers on various engineering topics prepared as part of initiation requirements for Phi Mu. The records of Phi Mu date from 1923 through 1945 and contain items concerning the chapter's history and activities, including minutes, financial records, membership records, and the chapter's constitution. Although the theses in this collection cover various subjects, they focus primarily on engineering and industrial projects within or in the vicinity of the state of Maryland, in particular their historical process of development.
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5.00 Linear Feet
The records of Phi Mu date from 1923 through 1945. The collection consists primarily of theses written by the members of the Phi Mu engineering fraternity as part of their initiation. The records also contain items concerning the chapter's history and activities, including minutes, financial records, membership records, and the chapter's constitution.
Although the theses in this collection cover various subjects, they focus primarily on engineering and industrial projects within or in the vicinity of the state of Maryland, in particular their historical process of development. Many of the theses deal with the construction history of highways, bridges and railroads in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area, as well as various mines, mills, and ferries. Other of the theses document or describe the organizations which supervised or were involved in certain of the engineering projects.
Early in 1923, several seniors in the College of Engineering at the University of Maryland who had high scholastic rankings met to organize a local honorary engineering fraternity. As a result of this meeting, and with the approval of the president of the university, the honorary engineering fraternity Phi Mu was officially formed at the University of Maryland with the adoption of its constitution on March 27, 1923. The founders as well as the first charter members were: J. H. Harlow, M. J. Baldwin, L. G. Simmons, J. P. Schaefer, H. M. Boteler, and Professor S. S. Steinberg. One of Phi Mu's stated purposes was the inspiration of scholarship among the students of the College of Engineering. Eligibility for membership was based on excellence of scholarship. All candidates for Phi Mu were required to present a thesis upon initiation. This thesis was to be original research upon some phase of engineering practice within or in the vicinity of the state of Maryland. These theses are valuable sources of information of a historical nature on many of the larger engineering and industrial projects within the state. Because of the high scholastic requirements, membership to Phi Mu was rather limited and, therefore, election to it was a great honor among all engineering students. Another of the avowed purposes of Phi Mu was to achieve the recognition of and the granting of a charter by Tau Beta Pi, the national honorary engineering fraternity, which was founded at Lehigh University in 1885. In the spring of 1928, President A. D. Moore of Tau Beta Pi inspected the College of Engineering and the local fraternity Phi Mu and expressed his appreciation of the Engineering College and the work of Phi Mu. Encouraged by this, Phi Mu sent its vice president, H. H. Hine, in October 1929 to Iowa City, Iowa, where the annual convention of the Tau Beta Pi Association was held, to present Phi Mu's application. On November 21, 1929, Phi Mu was formally inducted as the Maryland Beta chapter of Tau Beta Pi. Twenty alumni, five active students, and three faculty members were initiated in a ceremony held in the newly built Home Economics Building. The transition from the local Phi Mu to a national chapter of Tau Beta Pi embodied the Association's goals, as outlined in the preamble to the constitution, which were to mark in a fitting manner those who have conferred honor upon their Alma Mater by distinguished scholarship and exemplary character as undergraduates in engineering, or by their attainments as alumni in the field of engineering, and to foster a spirit of liberal culture in the engineering colleges of America. Now, as one of the most outstanding chapters in Tau Beta Pi, Maryland Beta performs many service projects for the benefit of the University of Maryland, the College of Engineering, and the College Park community.
The collection is organized as two series.
The records of Phi Mu were donated to the University of Maryland Libraries by Maryland Beta of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Association in 1973. Other records were transferred from the records of Tau Beta Pi in 1999 during processing.
The records of Phi Mu have been placed into acid-free folders and boxes. All metallic clips have been removed.