In celebration of Mothers Day, join us in reading this story from the Tri Delta Archives. Share with us in the comments your Tri Delta Mother / Daughter stories.
Mothers and daughters often share a unique bond, and when this bond is shared by mother—daughter Tri Deltas, it can be even more extraordinary. While there have been many mother—daughter Tri Deltas over the years, perhaps one of the most exceptional is Bessie Leach Priddy, Adrian and her daughter Frances Priddy McDonald, Missouri.
Bessie Leach Priddy was a remarkable woman who, though
widowed at a young age managed to raise three children, serve the Fraternity,
and earn master's and doctorate degrees in history at the same time. Bessie was
a charter member of the Gamma chapter at Adrian, and in 1893 was sent to the
first Tri Delta Convention to serve as her chapter's voting delegate. She later
served as National Historian from 1902-1931, and was so knowledgeable that she
was often consulted about Tri Delta's history.
She, along with R. Louise Fitch and Amy Parmelee, formed what has been called the Great Triumvirate and their extraordinary efforts were significant to Tri Delta's growth and development. Bessie edited the first and second Tri Delta history books.
Although she was offered the position of Fraternity National President several times, she felt that her work as Historian and her academic commitments were too time consuming to allow her to devote enough time to the presidency. She finally accepted the post in 1931, while she was Dean of Women at Missouri. She only served one term as president due to failing health, and died in 1935 one year after her retirement.
At 10 weeks old, Frances Priddy McDonald attended her first
Tri Delta Convention with her mother. To keep her occupied during a banquet,
her mother gave her a spoon to play with. Tri Delta engraved the spoon with
Fanny's name and sent a note saying that they hoped to see her in another 18
Frances joined Tri Delta at Missouri and went on to serve in many other
roles for the organization. When she was elected President in 1946, she was the
first Tri Delta daughter to be National President and to date she is the only daughter
of a Past President to serve as President. After her term as President, she was
appointed editor of the Trident, a
post she held for over 26 years.
Like her mother, Fanny had tremendous knowledge of Tri Delta history, traditions and policies. After her death in Arkansas in 1979, then Associate Director Jeanne Carson Gable, Miami—Ohio, wrote: "Fanny's dedication and pride [in Tri Delta] were never in doubt or hard to see. Can ours, then, in tribute to her and on behalf of Tri Delta, dare be any less?"