The following is an excerpt of a “From the Archives” article. You can read the full article in the Winter/Spring 2018 issue of The Trident.
Eleanor Dorcas Pond, Boston, was born Nov. 12, 1867, in Franklin, Massachusetts, to Samuel Willis Pond and his second wife, Dorcas Gilman. Her life was changed forever with the loss of both her parents by the age of 6. She went to live in West Medway with a widowed relation named Susan Blake and her two children.
At Medway High School, Eleanor and her friend Florence Stewart, who would later become one of Tri Delta’s first initiates, became the top two students of the class of 1885. Her outstanding scholastic achievements earned Eleanor a partial scholarship to Boston University, and she commuted by train her first year from West Medway. At Boston, Eleanor was a co-founder of Tri Delta, and became known for both her intellect and her practicality.
After graduation, Eleanor spent the next four years teaching Latin and science in Webster and Salem, Massachusetts, before she was accepted at Tufts Medical College in 1893. While at Tufts, she and her classmates founded a Greek letter organization called Alpha Delta, no doubt applying what she learned from the creation of Tri Delta.
On July 22, 1896, she married Arthur S. Mann, a childhood friend from Medway. The Manns first lived in Chicago where Arthur was an engineer and Eleanor practiced medicine. She did post-graduate work and lectured at the Chicago Post Graduate School.
Despite the demands of her career, she founded the Tri Delta Chicago Alliance at her home on May 15, 1897. A few of the members arrived early to help with the preparations, and in the afternoon Eleanor explained the idea and formation of Circle Degree and then conducted the ceremony.
In 1902, Arthur Mann’s business took them to Australia where they lived for a year. Women were not allowed to practice medicine there, so Eleanor taught mathematics in the local high school. On their return to the United States, they settled in Schenectady, New York, where for more than 20 years she was a successful practicing physician, devoting her time almost exclusively to work in obstetrics and children’s diseases.
Eleanor continued to be active in the sorority with the women of Beta at St. Lawrence, her adopted chapter, and as a charter member of the Syracuse Alliance. She entertained members frequently in her home, and in 1906 she attended the National Convention at Syracuse where she spoke briefly about her part in the founding of the Fraternity. She also served as president of the Women’s College Club.
In 1915, the Mann’s happy life was broken by Arthur’s illness and death. Eleanor cared for him devotedly and after his passing spent most of her time doing pro bono work for the poor. Her own ill health in spring and early summer 1924 had been particularly difficult, but she persisted in keeping up her practice. In August, she suffered a stroke and passed two days later on Aug. 25.
Alpha member Emma Gleason recalled, “At her death, people thronged the house, the remark universally made being, ‘We loved her so.’ What greater tribute could be given? Such was Eleanor Pond as I remember her and have heard of her—a friend I think of with loyalty and affection.”