Name and location of repository
Level of description
Alpha Omega Alpha Fraternity Records
- 1905-1957 (Creation)
1.00 Linear Feet
Name of creator
Alpha Omega Alpha (AOA) is a national medical honor society that recognizes scholarship and leadership in medicine and related fields. It is composed of medical men and women, in medical schools in North America who show promise for attaining professional leadership, notable physicians in practice, and others who have gained unusual recognition in fields related to medicine. The original chapter was founded in 1902 by William W. Root, then a junior in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago, medical department of the University of Illinois.
Root founded the organization as a protest against 'a condition which associated the name medical student with rowdyism, boorishness, immorality, and low educational ideals.' Root and his fellow medical students formed a society that would foster honesty and formulate higher ideals of scholastic achievement.
The Washington University Chapter, called the Alpha of Missouri, founded in 1905, was the seventh chapter. The founding members of AOA at the medical school saw the need for a higher educational standard before the 1910 Flexner report changed the department and American medical education as a whole. The Washington University Medical Department raised its standards for entrance to the medical school, hired full time faculty, reformed the curriculum, and built a new medical campus with numerous hospitals on site as partners in medical education.
As the negative image of the medical student changed, the society continued to foster and honor student scholastic achievement at Washington University. The activities for members changed over the years but included initiation with an AOA membership key and certificate, annual banquets and lectures, and an AOA Book Prize still given each year at commencement for outstanding scholarship (News from the Medical School, Washington University, press release, March 10, 1954; Washington University School of Medicine Bulletin online, accessed 3/17/2006; Online Finding Aid to the Alpha Omega Alpha Archives, 1894-1968, at the National Library of Medicine, accessed 8/11/2006).
Scope and content
The record group concerns the selection of medical students for the society and the development of the local chapter. The records list many members who became prominent in their fields. The Alpha Omega Alpha fraternity records consist of three volumes, 1905-1957, that include the initial charter and constitution and by-laws, minutes of chapter meetings, treasury records, chapter membership lists, other by-laws, correspondence, and publications. See also the The Hatchet (1923-1931) and the Archives vertical file (1938-1992) for more information on this student organization.
System of arrangement
Conditions governing access
The collection is open and accessible for research.
Conditions governing reproduction
Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.
Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.
For detailed information regarding use of this collection, contact the Archives and Rare Book Department of the Becker Library (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.
Languages of the material
Scripts of the material
Language and script notes
Two volumes of typed and manuscript minutes and other records were the gift of George L. Wulff, Jr., MD, Class of 1933, in October 1972 (Accession 72-10). At an undetermined date, the third volume, a ledger, came into the possession of the St. Louis Metropolitan Medical Society, which kept it until 2006, when it was transmitted to Morton E. Smith, MD, as current chapter councilor of AOA, who transferred it to the Library (Accession 2006-038).
Immediate source of acquisition
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
Existence and location of originals
Existence and location of copies
Related archival materials
See also Alpha Omega Alpha Archives, 1894-1968 (national) at National Library of Medicine.
Rules or conventions
"Describing Archives: A Content Standard, Second Edition (DACS), 2013."
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