Why You Would Have Rushed a Sorority at The University of Utah in 1941

By Mallory K. Arnold


A portion of the article, “The U Spreads the Welcome Mat,” from the 1942 Utonian yearbook.

Greek organizations have always been a popular topic as well as a controversial one. With sororities and fraternities still going strong in 2018, what might it have been like to try to join such organizations during wartime, specifically for women?

The Utah Chronicle published an article in January 1941 where impartial statistics were given about each house at the University of Utah. According to said article, there were nine sororities and seven fraternities present during the time. It let the women and men trying to rush a house know the year all sororities/fraternities were founded nationally, when they were founded at the U, the address of the house, and who their current executive board was.

Right before Spring Recruitment began in 1941, the Utah Chronicle published an article about university men offering their opinions on each sorority. Although some comments given in the article were nice, others were not. Richard Blackhurst, who was part of a fraternity, said, “The Tri Deltas are plenty cute but their mental capacity has not developed to the highest degree.” Another man named Dave Boyer, who was unaffiliated, said, “Chi Omegas had the most beautiful group of girls on campus.” It seemed as if these men were trying to persuade women to join certain houses based upon their outsider opinion.

Going to college and joining Greek life can be a difficult process. Luckily for the women looking to join Greek life that year, the Sorority Council decided to publish its first-ever University of Utah Rushee Handbook. According to an article titled “Sorority Council to Publish Rushee Handbook,” it gave advice to freshmen with tips to rushees, a rushee’s lexicon, and do’s & don’ts. Rules and regulations, as well as how much dues were, also were listed in the handbook that presented a brief history of each house. The editor of the new book was Martha Havenor. In an October 1941 article by the Utah Chronicle, Havenor was listed as part of the sorority known as Tri-Delta, which made her the perfect person to write the handbook on rushing a sorority.

Sorority pin ad

Utah Chronicle, January 23, 1941, page 3.

Another reason rushing a sorority became enticing was because the Utah Chronicle always had advertisements about pins, dances, and other things going on in Greek life. This made readers more curious as well. In 1947 Marian Dawson wrote an article titled “Why I Like Sorority Life” in which she spoke about her decision to pledge a sorority. She said the benefits one gained from belonging to a sorority depended entirely on what that individual contributed. Dawson explained that if one desired companionship of the highest type, she would find happiness in a sorority.

After all of this information on rushing, the 1940s decision to join a sorority would vary from person to person. In conclusion, deciding to rush a sorority in the 1940s seems a lot like it does now.

Mallory Arnold is a junior at the University of Utah majoring in communication with a minor in parks, recreation, and tourism.


Advertisement for Parry & Parry, Utah Chronicle, January 23, 1941, 3.

“Statistics Give Impartial View of Campus Greek Groups,” Utah Chronicle, January 23, 1941, 5.

“University Men Reveal Opinions Concerning Qualities of Female Greek Organizations,” Utah Chronicle, January 16, 1941, 5.

“Fraternity Row Makes Final Plans for Formal Greek Rush Season,” Utah Chronicle, January 23, 1941, 5.

“Introducing Martha Havenor,” Utah Chronicle, October 2, 1941, 4.

Dawson, Marian. “Why I Like Sorority Life,” The Iowa Homemaker 27, no. 3 (1947).