History

Zionsville, Zeta Sigma Chapter of Tri Kappa was founded in 1973. Our statewide philanthropic history goes many decades back though.

Tri Kappa was formed by several ladies attending the Girls’ Classical School founded by May Wright Sewall in Indianapolis.  The young ladies decided it might be fun to form a “secret” organization to have a few social times together, officers, dues, password,
and a few rules.

Of the original eight members, only Beryl Showers of Bloomington returned to school the following fall. BeZionsville Tri Kapparyl decided to revive the organization and selected her best friend, Erma Ribeyre, her roommate, Mary Sanders, and four other friends, Bertha Matthews, Gertrude Zumpe, Lulu Baer, and Frances Roberts. These seven young ladies are considered the founders of Tri Kappa.  They met in Beryl’s room on February 22, 1901, and formally organized. Officers were elected and they wrote a constitution avowing their
purpose to be charity and kindness.

To ensure that Tri Kappa would continue beyond their school days each member was to start a chapter in her hometown. No one of that small group would have believed that Kappa Kappa Kappa would become a thriving organization composed of 146 active and 114 associate chapters, with a current active membership of nearly 10,000 women in the state of Indiana.

Beryl Showers and Bertha Matthews started the first chapter, Alpha in Bloomington. Erma Ribeyre  organized Beta Chapter in New Harmony. Some remaining original members married and left the state, while two others began a chapter later.

By 1903 there was a total of seven chapters. They held the first Convention in the old Opera House in Bloomington in 1903. At the time of the first Convention they decided to publish a magazine and call it Cross Keys.

In its early years Tri Kappa was devoted to charity work in the various communities where chapters were established. During the second decade additional  chapters were added. What was once a loosely knit group of autonomous chapters became a strong forceful organization united in purpose and effort.

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