February 5th, 2021
Filed Under: Foundation

Abigail Louise Davis, Nu—Randolph Macon & Zeta—Southwestern, was born February 11, 1890 in Weatherford, Texas. Abigail was the 7th of eight Davis children. She enrolled at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

After two years at Southwestern, Abigail went to Randolph-Macon Women’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia to continue her education. In early October 1910, she petitioned the faculty for the privilege of establishing a new Alpha Delta Phi chapter on campus. The petition was granted, and Nu Chapter was installed. Abigail served Nu Chapter as their first President. She attended the 1911 Convention in Atlanta, where she was one of the leading advocates for the idea of expansion.

Abigail attended the University of Chicago from 1911 to 1913, graduating in 1913 with a Bachelor of Science degree. While in Chicago, she organized the Chicago Alumnae Chapter, helped install Sigma—Illinois, and planned and carried out practically all of the arrangements for the 1913 Convention in Chicago.

During that Convention, Abigail was elected to the position of Inspector on the National Council, responsible for the expansion of new chapters. She oversaw the installation of Chi, Psi, Omega, Alpha Alpha, Alpha Beta, Alpha Gamma, and Alpha Epsilon. At the 1915 Convention, she was elected to the position of Alumnae Secretary.

During the winter of 1916, Abigail fell ill. On May 29, 1916, at just 26 years old, Abigail passed away from a cerebral embolism complicated by emphysema of the lungs. She is buried in City Greenwood Cemetery in Weatherford, Texas with her family.

So great were her contributions to our sisterhood that, at the National Convention in 1917, the Abigail Davis Student Loan Fund was established in her memory. For many years, chapters celebrated her memory with special events on her birthday, February 11th. Alumnae from the 1950s to 1970s may remember chapters collecting one penny for each pound that members weighed and contributing it to the Fund.

Today, chapters allocate $2.50 per member annually as a contribution to the Abigail Davis Emergency Grant Fund. It now provides grants of up to $3,500 for short-term assistance to collegians who are experiencing unforeseen financial difficulties. Grants must be used for tuition, books, or school fees.

For more information on the Abigail Davis Emergency Grant, please visit https://www.alphadeltapi.org/foundation/emergencygrants/.

Many thanks to Barbara Kinter Kunkel, Delta Kappa—Penn State for compiling Abigail Davis’ story.