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The literary society Phi Beta Kappa came into being at the College of William & Mary in 1776. Bushrod Washington was one of its first members. It was originally created as a secret society with the motto "Philosophia Biou Kubernetes" which translated to "Love of wisdom is the guide of life." The chapter at William and Mary was forced to dissolve as the Revolutionary War disrupted studies at the College, but the branches of the organization at Yale and Harvard continued to thrive. Joseph Story served as the president of Phi Beta Kappa from 1822-1826 and from 1838-1841. 


Diner, Eli Moses. “Phi Beta Kappa Society.” In Dictionary of American History, edited by Stanley I. Kutler, 3rd ed., 6:311. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2003.

PBK. “History of Phi Beta Kappa.” Accessed September 16, 2022.

“Original Records of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.” The William and Mary Quarterly 4, no. 4 (1896): 213–41.

Phi Beta Kappa. A Catalogue of the Fraternity of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha of Massachusetts. Cambridge. Accessed September 16, 2022.