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Henry Arthur Callis (January 14, 1887 – November 12, 1974) was a physician and one of the seven founders (commonly referred to as The Seven Jewels) of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University in 1906. Callis co-authored the fraternity name with George Kelley and became the only Jewel to become General President of the fraternity (1915). Callis assisted in the organization of several chapters, including Xi Lambda Chapter (1924) in Chicago.

Henry Arthur Callis
Born(1887-01-14)January 14, 1887
DiedNovember 12, 1974(1974-11-12) (aged 87)
Alma materCornell University
Rush Medical College
Known forCo-founder of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity at Cornell University


Callis was born in Rochester, New York and attended Cornell University[1] and Rush Medical College.[2] He became a physician and worked as a medical consultant at the Veterans' Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.[3] He was Professor of Medicine at Howard University and a frequent contributor to medical journals.[4]

The Eta Tau Lambda chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha created Alpha Phi Alpha Homes Inc. to address housing for low-income families, individuals and senior citizens in Akron, Ohio.[5] In 1971, Alpha Homes received an $11.5 million grant from HUD to begin groundbreaking on Channelwood Village with the Henry Arthur Callis Tower as its centerpiece.[6]

Callis died on November 12, 1974 in Washington, D.C.. His death was a milestone for the fraternity as Callis became the last Jewel to enter its Omega Chapter—distinguished to contain the names of deceased fraternity members, and the Alpha Phi Alpha entered a period when it had no living "Jewels". The Callis Papers - personal and family papers of Henry Callis including awards, certificates, clippings, correspondence, a diary, notebooks, photographs, programs and scrapbooks relating to Callis and his family - were donated to Howard University's Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.

Personal lifeEdit

Callis was the second husband of poet Alice Dunbar; their marriage ended in divorce.[7][8]


  1. ^ "HENRY ARTHUR CALLIS". Cornell University. Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "JEWEL HENRY ARTHUR CALLIS". Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc – Omicron Delta Lambda Chapter. Archived from the original on February 23, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Alpha Legacy: The Founding Seven Jewels". Yale. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Parks, Gregory S. Parks (2008). Black Greek-letter Organizations in the Twenty-First Century: Our Fight Has. University Press of Kentucky.
  5. ^ "Alpha Phi Alpha Homes". Alpha Phi Alpha Homes, Inc. Retrieved February 6, 2014.
  6. ^ Fraternity Achievement. Jet. 1973. p. 73.
  7. ^ Dunbar-Nelson, Alice Moore (1988). The Works of Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Volume 2. Oxford University Press. p. lviii.
  8. ^ Nelson, Emmanuel Sampath (2002). African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 120.

Further readingEdit

  • Charles H. Wesley Henry Arthur Callis, Life and Legacy (1977)
  • Wesley, Charles H. (1981). The History of Alpha Phi Alpha, A Development in College Life (14 ed.). Chicago: Foundation. ASIN: B000ESQ14W.
  • Mason, Herman (1999). "The Jewels' Jewel—Henry Arthur Callis". The Talented Tenth: The Founders and Presidents of Alpha (2nd ed.). Winter Park, Florida: Four-G. ISBN 1-885066-63-5.

External linksEdit