The secret handshake — it’s not a secret anymore. Once a closely guarded ritual reserved for the elect, the ΦBK “grip” is now on display as part of a traveling exhibit about ΦBK and its history.
The exhibit consists of contemporary and historic images from ΦBK’s collection, Colonial Williamsburg and various university archives. A portrait of John Heath and a copy of the original 1779 charter for a chapter at Yale University bearing the signature of Elisha Parmele, and the “secret” handshake, of course, are among them.
The ΦBK traveling exhibit debuted at Davidson College, Davidson, N.C., in the spring of 2008. It was displayed in the atrium of the E. H. Little Library on the Davidson campus, and then moved to the Lilly Family Gallery where the new ΦBK initiate banquet was held.
“This is a great way to get members, both new and old, more familiar with the history of this honored organization,” said Cort Savage, president of Gamma of North Carolina, who was responsible for bringing the exhibit to Davidson.
Since its first stop at Davidson, the exhibit has been in hosted by colleges and universities across the country, including Notre Dame University, the University of California - Los Angeles, Hendrix College, Wells College and the University of the Pacific. The exhibit is currently scheduled to open at Tulane University in New Orleans, La., in the spring of 2009. To find out if the exhibit will be in your area, go to ΦBK’s Online Calendar.
Any ΦBK affiliate organization may request to host the exhibit.
For reservations or more information, contact the Director of Public Relations or click here.
John Marshall (left) and William A. Shimer, past
secretary of the Society, demonstrate the proper
ΦBK “grip” in this photo from the 1930s, now part
of the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s traveling exhibit.