Betas of the 1930s
The heart of what is known about the Betas of the 1930s comes from Beta scrapbooks and research and interviews conducted by Susan Ness of MSU, of two Beta alumane: Jean (Herigstad) Pringle and Murle Ranney-Rack.
Jean Herigstad Pringle attended Minot State Teachers College from 1932-1934. She was a member of the Betas having first pledged on April 18, 1933. She was also active in 1934 In her second year, Mrs. Pringle served as President for the Betas whose total membership numbered 27. The sorority sister has fond memories of the Greek group. For one particular event and with little funds, Pringle and her sisters creatively decorated the gym in Old Main. The gym was surrounded with a wire fence. She reminisced, "It must've been in the late spring, because we went out and cut greenery everywhere we could and covered all the wires with greenery." She spoke highly of her fellow Betas and stated that "Nothing was casual."
Murle Ranney-Rack's memories of the Betas during the late 1930s confirm Pringles statement of "Nothing was casual." Ranney-Rack was one of 20 new pledges during the 1938-39 school year (see image below). The 1938 Beta pledged on July 29, 1938. She remembers wearing long dresses and of the ladies with painted bright red lips and nails. She said, "We tried to dress like the movies--it was during the swing music era when we had gobs of dances and live music."
Ranney-Rack also proclaimed that the Betas were "the best" and "so sophisticated." Socially, the Beta said, "We participated in school activties and had 'proper rushing' and traditional teas, where we entertained and tried to impress new recruits. We did a beautiful job and thoroughly enjoyed it."
A snapshot of the new Beta Theta pledges from the 1938-39 school year. There were 20 pledges total. Ranney-Rack is in the back row, 1st from the left.
This is a full page of newspaper clippings found in the 1930-31 Beta Theta scrapbook. The scrapbook is filled with newspaper clippings of events and social functions sponsored by the all-female Greek organization. The clippings provide insight into the function and purpose of the Betas at MSTC during its earliest years.
During the sorority's early years, it appears the focus of the group was primarily social rather than philanthropic. The girls also captured their sisters' academic successes. They held true to their mission statement which was to "...promote scholarship, friendship, fellowship, and to develop personality, loyalty, and helpfulness." The Betas hosted teas, all-campus parties, dinners, dances and plays. They weren't yet fostering international children or capturing fraternity brothers during rush events like their sisters of the 1960s.