How Much Do You Know About the KD Badge?
March 4, 2019, is International Badge Day, the day to celebrate and honor sisterhood. We encourage all members – collegians and alumnae – to wear their Kappa Delta badge with pride on that day. Keep your eyes open for KD sisters and other Panhellenic women wearing their badges on March 4. It’s a great conversation starter!
Do you know the history of the Kappa Delta badge? The first KD badge was designed by founder Julia Gardiner Tyler. It was diamond shaped, made of silver with a green enameled surface bearing the Greek letters K and D and was surrounded with fluted, silver filigree. There was only a dozen or so of the original badges made by a jeweler at the time. Later, replicas of this badge were made in the 1980s. You may have seen this replica in the Kappa Delta museum.
Within a year, Julia decided she was not happy with the original badge design. She conferred with some college friends at a neighboring men’s school and re-designed the badge to reflect the design we use today. Now, it is a diamond badge in black enamel with KD in gold and the dagger below the letters. The second badge is similar to other fraternity/sorority badges.
Until 1917, any jewels could be placed on the badge. At that time, the Convention chose diamonds, pearls and emeralds as our sorority jewels. It was then decided that only these three stones could be included on the badge.
At one point, badges could be given for special reasons. The governor of Virginia received one for hosting and attending events. Judge William Levere, who is given credit for helping us start Lambda chapter at Northwestern University was “awarded” one as well. There is documentation of several other badges being bestowed. However, only initiated members of Kappa Delta Sorority can purchase and wear the badge today.
After the coat-of-arms was copyrighted in 1915, it was decided to adopt one standard badge produced by one official jeweler. Soon contract agreements from the Burr-Patterson Company were accepted by the “Grand Council.” The office of “Custodian of the Badge” was created. Estelle Angier took the position and the responsibility of inaugurating a system of badge numbering and badge distribution, working with the official jeweler. Today our jeweler is Herff-Jones.
We are one of the few sororities that started identifying badges at an early date. Badges have member numbers and chapter initials on the back. It makes it easy to identify a lost badge or an old badge. Some groups to this day have no way to identify the owner of a specific badge.
Many people get the term badge confused with a pin. A badge is a distinctive emblem worn as a mark of office, membership, achievement, licensed employment, membership, etc. A pin is something (as an ornament or badge) fastened to the clothing by a pin. The correct term to use is badge.
Did you know your badge belongs to Kappa Delta Sorority? When a member passes away, her badge can be buried with her or it can be passed on to a KD family member. Otherwise, it should be returned to the national organization. We hope members will be responsible by returning these badges to prevent them from being acquired by “collectors” who have no association with Kappa Delta.
All badges are identified and placed in the KD Archives identifying the original owner and chapter name. An assortment of badges is displayed in the KD Museum on a rotating basis. The badge can be sent to: Shirley Gee, Archives Manager, Kappa Delta Sorority, 3205 Players Lane, Memphis, TN 38125. Email her at Shirley.Gee@kappadelta.org if you have questions.
If you would like to order a replacement badge or a new jeweled badge for yourself or as a gift to a Kappa Delta, visit the Herff-Jones website.