Open main menu

The Delphic Club is a co-ed social group at Harvard University. It began the process of merging with the all-female Bee Club in August 2017, and the Delphic & Bee became one of fifteen Harvard-recognized social organizations in September 2018.[1]

The Delphic Club
Delphic Club - Harvard University - DSC06448.JPG
Delphic Club is located in Massachusetts
Delphic Club
Delphic Club is located in the United States
Delphic Club
Location9 Linden Street Cambridge, MA
Coordinates42°22′20.6″N 71°07′03.1″W / 42.372389°N 71.117528°W / 42.372389; -71.117528Coordinates: 42°22′20.6″N 71°07′03.1″W / 42.372389°N 71.117528°W / 42.372389; -71.117528
ArchitectJames Purdon H'1895
Architectural styleneo-Georgian style
Part ofHarvard Square Historic District (#86003654)


The club was founded in 1846 as an all-male chapter of the Delta Phi fraternity, known as the "Alpha of Massachusetts." Twenty members were elected during the Chapter's two years of life. Then faculty forced it to disband. In 1885, the Grand Council of the Delta Phi fraternity decided to re-establish a fraternity at Harvard known as the Zeta Chapter, which evolved into the current club. The membership voted to become a Final Club in 1900 and in 1902 severed ties with the national fraternity to which it had maintained only loose ties. A famous, possibly apocryphal, story has it that J.P. Morgan, Jr., class of 1889, joined The Gas when he didn't get into his club of choice. According to The Harvard Crimson, he then financed the creation of his own club, the Delphic, from the fraternity.[2]

The club was initially located at 52 and 59 Brattle St. before moving to 72 Mt. Auburn St. where it was housed from 1887 to 1903. In the 1890s it "was officially called the Delta Phi, or more familiarly "The Gashouse", because all its windows would be lighted at once by the electricity that was then a novelty; so that it was called "The Gashouse" because of the absence of gas." [3] The current home of the club is at 9 Linden St., steps from Harvard Yard and a few blocks from Harvard Square. It was designed by James Purdon H'1895 in the neo-Georgian style and occupied in 1902-03. The design features the red brick and cornices typical of Harvard Yard. The interior contains numerous large common spaces and an oversize formal dining room on the 2nd floor for large events, no living quarters, and a regulation squash court.[4] In the basement is a panelled living room for entertaining visitors. In August 2017, the Bee Club moved into the house at 9 Linden St. as well.[5]

The Delphic is officially recognized by Harvard University. However, it was not officially affiliated with the university or recognized between 1984 and 2018. Ties with Harvard were severed in 1984 as a consequence of the Title IX provision of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, which would have required the club to admit female members.[6] In September 2018, Harvard announced that it would recognize the Delphic-Bee Merged Group as a gender-inclusive club, thereby exempting the club from the College's sanctions on members of single-gender social organizations.[7] The Delphic is governed by a Trust with a Board of Directors composed of alumni.

Merger With The BeeEdit

In August 2017 the Delphic and the all-female Bee Club agreed to share premises as a precursor to an eventual merger.[8] In September 2018, Harvard College announced that it would recognize the Delphic-Bee Merged Group as a single gender-inclusive social organization. As a result, members of the Delphic & Bee are not subject to the College's sanctions policy.[9] The Bee Club was Harvard's oldest all-female final club, founded in 1991.[10]


The club was founded as the Zeta Chapter of the Delta Phi fraternity. With the opening of the new clubhouse in 1903, after the break from Delta Phi, the undergraduates began calling the club "The Gas," after the club's nickname. This was adopted as the official name in 1908 but soon thereafter was changed to "The Delphic Club" presumably after cooler heads prevailed. The name of the club is a portmanteau of "Delta Phi Club".

Insignia and EmblemsEdit

The club's emblem is three torches on a blue field. The slogan for the club is "Three times three, long life to thee." The club's tie(s) consist of the "Three Torches" logo on a dark navy field, while the club's "summer" tie is blue and white stripes on the diagonal. The club's traditions include formal, black tie dinners with alumni and undergraduates and a ban on non-members in the club. The club recruits members through a series of invited dinners and formal dances in a process known as "Punch."


The clubhouse was renovated in 1974-75, which included the walls, interiors and roofs to deal with leaks and general conditions. A more comprehensive renovation was undertaken in 2013-14, it included updating the club's plumbing and electrical systems and also revealed pooled water beneath the club's floor and back yard occasioned by the destruction of the club's drainage system during the construction of Farkas Hall (aka the Hasty Pudding Clubhouse). This has resulted in litigation between the Delphic Club and Harvard University.[11]

In LiteratureEdit

Tales of "The Gas House" are recounted by several authors including Delphic alum Charles Macomb Flandrau (1895) who tells many stories in his celebrated book Harvard Episodes (1897)[12][page needed] and also in Diary of A Freshman (1901).[13] In Harvard Episodes Flandrau (writing in 1897) depicts the multi-generational aspects of the club in describing an old graduate, "If they didn't actually know him, they knew of him. Even this crust is sweet to the returned graduate whose age is just far enough removed from either end of life's measure to make it intrinsically unimportant."[12]:258George de la Ruiz Santayana (1886) was made an honorary member in 1890 and spent a great deal of time at the Delphic as recounted in Joel Porte's (Ph.D.'62) book, Santayana at the 'Gas (1964). Santayana included the club in several works, including "The Judgement of Paris, or, How the First-ten Man Chooses a Club," which concludes with:

Whatever follows: nor, until he die
Will Paris grieve he chose the Delta Phi[14]

At the opening of the new clubhouse in 1903, Santayana wrote a dedicatory poem that ends:

And though we go, for change is Nature's plan,
To loves and labours that approve the man,
Half the soul clutches what the world can give,

And half remains where youth and friendship live.[15]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "The Men's Final Clubs" James K. McCauley The Harvard Crimson October 5, 2010
  3. ^ George Santayana, Persons and Places, Fragments of Autobiography, ed. William G. Holzberger, et al, (Cambridge, MIT Press, 1986)
  4. ^ 1925 Delphic Blue Blook, Reminiscences of Haven Parker '22
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Clubs at Harvard Vote to End Ties" The New York Times; December 11, 1984
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Bee and Delphic to Share membership, Clubhouse" by Hannah Natanson, The Harvard Crimson; August 30, 2017
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Delphic Trust Files Lawsuit Against Harvard Administration" by Antonio Coppola and John P. Finnegan, The Harvard Crimson; October 28, 2013
  12. ^ a b Harvard Episodes by Charles Macomb Flandrau orig. published 1897, reprinted Westphalia Press 2014
  13. ^ Diary of A Freshman by Charles Macomb Flandrau, orig. published 1901, reprinted Kessinger Publishing 2010
  14. ^ William Hltzberger, "The Unpublished Poems of Santayana," The Southern Review Winter 1975 pp148-150
  15. ^ George de la Ruiz Santayana, November 20, 1903; reprinted: Delphic Club 75th Anniversary Booklet April 1979