The contents of a dusty old storage closet may not be as intimidating as they first seem. At least that’s what Michael Bennett ’17, president of Lafayette’s chapter of the national Engineering Honors Society, Tau Beta Pi (TBP), realized last spring when he uncovered boxes of documents including TBP archives dating back to 1921.
According to Bennett, the documents were found in a storage closet mostly filled with unneeded material. Instead of leaving the documents to gather dust, he contacted Lafayette to see if the documents could be added to the college archives.
The answer was yes. The documents are planned to officially be added to the archives on Friday at 9:30 a.m., where they will remain for use upon request. Some of the material currently held in the Lafayette College Archives includes documents from College Alumni Association — dating back to the mid 1800s — fiscal affairs and student activities.
Bennett found a wide array of Engineering Honors Society documents, all of which are being presented to the college archives. The documents include old commencement programs from ceremonies between 1963 and 2012. Bennett also found the original TBP roll book, which ends in 1956 where the currently used roll book picks up.
“Since we were founded here at Lafayette in 1921, every member who has been initiated into our chapter has signed our chapter roll book,” Bennett said. “This original roll book includes all members who joined the chapter from our founding in 1921 through the spring of 1956.”
Also recorded in the original roll book are the signatures of Lafayette alumni who were eligible for the Honors Society based on their grades, but who graduated before TBP was started at Lafayette. These signatures honor alum from as early as 1873.
Among the documents, Bennett found a box filled with an assortment of archives, including TBP’s founding documents from 1921 and meeting minutes through 1956. The log lacks meetings from May 1944 to Oct.1946 due to World War II. The log documents that TBP was temporarily inactive during this time. The box also contained programs from TBP initiation banquets ranging from the 1930s to 1950s.
“The programs from the 30s are pretty interesting,” Bennett said. “It looks like even during the Depression, Lafayette students were eating pretty well at these banquets.”