Where did our badge come from? Who designed it? Why is it so specifically worn? Penned by Dallie Hall of Chi Phi's Gamma Chapter (Emory University), this short account tells the story of our Chi Phi badge.
The Story of Our Chi Phi Badge
By Dallie Hall, Gamma 1960
For more than a century, our badge has represented the symbolism and secrecy of the Fraternity and the pride and loyalty of its wearers. Its modifications through the years are emblematic of the tides of discovery and union in Chi Phi history.
The Hobart and Southern Order badges were jeweled, whereas the Princeton badge, like ours today, was not. The original Princeton badge was a plain monogram, but later the Chi was engraved with two daggers and a skull and crossbones, and the Phi with a grapevine. The vine was originally enameled green and was the outward sign of a glass of wine which stood on the desk of the presiding officer of the Princeton Order. The Southern Order badge was a jeweled monogram, the Chi bearing rubies and pearls. The Phi was engraved with crossed swords, clasped hands and two stars cut into the gold with the initial letters E, K, F, and C of the motto.
The Hobart Order was established on November 14, 1860, and on this same day they adopted scarlet and blue as the official colors of their Order, thus their badge was the first to reflect our present-day Fraternity colors. The badge was a jeweled monogram carrying sapphires or turquoise on one bar of the Chi and rubies or garnets on the other. When the existing Chi Phi Society united with the Hobart Order in 1867, the badge of the Hobart Order was adopted, and thus the Hobart and Northern Order badges were one and the same.
When the Northern and Southern Orders united to form the Chi Phi Fraternity in 1874, there was much discussion and controversy over which badge should be chosen. The emergent badge was actually a mixture of that of each Order, retaining the original monogram style of the old Princeton Society, the jeweled colors of the Hobart Order, and the symbolic crossed swords, clasped hands and stars of the Southern Order. However, the swords and clasped hands were removed by the Convention of 1875 and the Convention of 1884 dropped the stars.
The Convention of 1895 recommended that a uniform badge be adopted, as proposed by the Grand Lodge. This badge was designed by John D. Adams, Xi 1882, who later became Grand Alpha (1891-1897), a member of the Grand Lodge (1899-1901), and Grand Delta (1901-1903). Its design was based on that of all its predecessors with an emphasis on simplicity and distinction. Like the Princeton, it was un-jeweled and possessed a grapevine; like the Hobart badge, it bore the scarlet and blue of the Fraternity; and like all the others, it was a monogram badge consisting of the two Greek letters, C and F. It was patented on May 19, 1896, Design No. 25,499 and Serial No. 579,799; and is our badge of today, without modification.
In 1896 it was decided that this new badge should be worn "one hand's width from the center of the body," but this was somewhat confusing so that in 1901 it was clarified to be "on a line with the left nipple and one hand's width from the center of the body." It was also ordered to be worn during both day and night. One of the best descriptions of when to wear the badge was written by S.H. Brockunier, Beta 1893, in the 1901 Year Book.
"Starting with the supposition of a loyal Chi Phi, he will own and wear a badge. Business is certainly not an objection if you wear your badge in its proper place and do not make yourself conspicuous by wearing it upon your coat or some equally prominent place. The position of the badge, as you know, is one hand's breadth to the left of the medial line and near the heart; and the badge is pinned upon the brest or shirt and NOT upon the coat or overcoat."
"So then let modesty and dignity go hand in hand with loyalty. Let your badge peep forth half shyly, only partially revealing to the public the nobility and sacredness of our order. Rather than an emblem flaunted in the eyes, let it be a half hidden token, showing to the public the grandeur of our order, but concealing from them the hidden mysteries by which such excellence is attained." Unfortunately the latter paragraph has been ambiguously interpreted to mean either half in and out of a shirt pocket or such that it would be partially visible on a shirt when a coat is worn.
There has recently been some controversy about the colors on the Chi of the badge. The scarlet does not cross the blue and the blue does not cross the scarlet; rather, the colors of each bar meet in the center which is completely filled by a gold leaf, as is exemplified in the original 1896 patent.
There are many other interesting facts and stories about our badge. There was a XF monogram on the ornamental ironwork of the Chicago Bridge in the 1890's. It was placed there by J.Z. Roemheld, Theta 1888, bridge draftsman for the Chicago Bridge Department. In January, 1860, it was decided that a gentleman could let a lady wear his badge, but in May, 1861, a small lady's pin, cuff links, and studs were made to circumvent this. It is presently recognized that one should never permit a person not a member of Chi Phi to possess our badge. The Fraternity possesses a most interesting historical collection of badges that is displayed at each Congress and College of Excellence.