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Charles L. Hepburn Letter to Charles Leven Powell

Identifier: UA 5.130

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Scope and Contents

Letter written by William & Mary student, Charles L. Hepburn, to his grandfather, Charles Leven Powell, dated January 21, 1894.

Hepburn discusses the reorganization of the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. He states the fraternity was reorganized in December 1893 by "several old members who had been taken in here before the war." Later in the letter, he mentions a couple of those members, including Benjamin Ewell and Colonel William Lamb. He says that all faculty were admitted as well a Charley Coleman "the poet." Hepburn discusses the character of the chapter, calling it a "post-graduate society" and notes that Harvard and other northern colleges only take in a small number of their brightest graduates. He believes Ewell and Lamb intended for William & Mary's chapter to be on the same footing.

Hepburn also discusses the Nu Chapter of Kappa Sigma. He states there are 13 members and mentions there are two other "frats" at William & Mary and of those, only Kappa Alpha is "any good." It has 10 members. The other fraternity is Phi Theta Psi, which he describes as very small and whose chapter "killed itself by taking in bad men on the start." There are only two members who are "very poor and who cannot get anyone else to join them." Hepburn continues discussing fraternities, both at a local and national level. Notes that he's distinguished among others because of Powell's acceptance into PBK in 1823.

He then switches to more personal content, specific to his grandfather's new housing and acknowledges that William & Mary "just enjoyed a holiday on account of the Great Lee's birth." He mentions that a committee from the state legislature came to visit. He describes the visit, how the students acted, and how they all hope to get a big appropriation from the state finance committee. Hepburn ends the letter with love to his family.


  • Creation: 1894 January 21


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Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

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Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from the Curator of Manuscripts and Rare Books, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.


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Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frank Snowden Hopkins, Class of 1927

Related Materials

University Archives Faculty-Alumni File Collection


This item was previously part of the Faculty-Alumni File Collection.

Guide to the Charles L. Hepburn Letter to Charles Leven Powell
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository