Florence

Florence

Two significant things happened in 1885: Alpha Chi Omega was founded, and Florence Armstrong was born.

It cannot be a coincidence that these two events resulted in a symbiotic relationship that was beneficial to both the woman and her Fraternity.

Any story about Florence must cover both her internal [to Alpha Chi Omega] influence and an external component.

Let’s start with the internal. Florence was a student at Simpson College, in Indianola, Iowa,

where she was instrumental in the formation of Alpha Alpha Gamma,

composed of young women on the Simpson campus interested in affiliating with a national sorority.

That organization was installed as Mu chapter of Alpha Chi Omega on May 13, 1907, making Florence one of sixteen charter members. Alta Allen Loud was the installing officer.

Could Alta and Florence have realized then that in just a few short years they would serve together on Alpha Chi Omega’s Grand Council? In 1910,

Florence was elected to the Grand Council as editor—an elected position until 1919 when the positions of secretary and editor were combined and made a paid position.

 Florence served nine consecutive years as editor and, to turn a phrase, “put The Lyre on the map.”

She also served as an assistant to Mabel Harriet Siller in the collection of material and the printing of the first edition of The History of Alpha Chi Omega, published in 1911.

Perhaps Florence’s most significant contribution internally is best summed up by the Chairman of the National Panhellenic Conference who described the second edition of The History of Alpha Chi Omega, published in 1916,

as “the most progressive piece of fraternity journalism that has ever been published.”

While the 1911 edition was a nobleattempt, Florence authored the 1916 edition with her stated purpose to

“give mainly a picture of the Fraternity as she exists today; and to reveal her impulse, her evolution, and her genius, according to the records.”

 Florence wove together an amazing collection of photographs, historical information, maps and charts,

and biographies of important members into one volume that set the standard for future editions.

In the preface to the 1916 edition, Florence paid tribute to the woman who had installed her chapter just nine years before in this way: To Mrs.

Loud I would express especial thanks, for advice and cooperation at every step of the way.

No detail was too slight, no request too large for her careful and illuminating comment.

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