The Eta Chapter was opened at the University of Toronto in 1930. Little is known about the early years of the chapter, except that its first pledge was Jerry Goulding. The year 1937 ushered in what members called a “golden age” for the chapter when its members began to take a more active role in university activities, such as athletic activities, drama productions and dinner-dances. This is also the period when Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster became members. They regularly wrote articles for the undergraduate newspaper, "The Varsity", and performed in campus dramas. In 1939 the fraternity began presenting an annual campus musical, the Fraternity Review, which was put on entirely by fraternity members.
During World War Two, the Eta Chapter pledged the Canadian government to care for a group of young Jewish refugees from Germany and Austria who were interned in England. At least one such refugee came to Toronto in the Eta Chapter’s care.
Eta’s fraternity house changed location multiple times. In the late 1940s it moved from 15 Admiral Rd. to 18 Willcocks St. After the University of Toronto purchased this property, the fraternity moved to a new house at 84 Lowther Ave., and then it was relocated again a few years later to 699 Spadina Ave.
Scope and Content
Series is arranged into six files: alumni records, social events, newsletters, conventions and conferences, recruiting material and scrapbooks.
Information for History/Bio taken from "An Introduction to Beta Sigma Rho Fraternity" found in this series and "A History of Beta Sigma Rho" found in series #1 of this fonds.
File consists of three records documenting the Fraternity's alumni. Included are an unofficial list detailing what became of alumni (1940), an informal directory of alumni and associates (1963), and a reunion book (1994).
File consists of programmes produced for the Eta Chapter's social events. Included are the menus and ad-books for dinner-dances (1945-1966), the programmes from the Fraternity Revue musical shows (1940-1949), and one songbook [ca. 1960].
File consists of one scrapbook detailing the Eta chapter's activities. The first scrapbook (1937-1958) is the earliest record of the Eta Chapter's activities. It is mentioned in the booklet "An Introduction to Beta Sigma Rho", which can be found in file 6. It contains both textual and graphic material including, programmes and photographs documenting the fraternity's theatre shows, dinner-dance invitations, photographs of pledge parties, newspaper clippings featuring or written by fraternity members, a sketch of a Beta Sigma Rho Superman by Joe Shuster, photographs from national and regional conferences, and photographs of the chapter's weekend at the University of Western Ontario in 1950. Found at the back of the scrapbook is a document entitled, The Constitution of Eta Chapter of Beta Sigma Rho Fraternity, revised October, 1957.
DATE RANGE NOTE: The superman drawing was likely drawn sometime around 1940. Joe Shuster's cousin, Frank Shuster, graduated from the University of Toronto in 1939, although it is possible that the drawing could have been given to the fraternity after that time. Joe Shuster did not attend the fraternity as he had lived in Cleveland since 1924. However, he used to visit his cousin Frank Shuster in the summers. There is evidence that the Superman character as depicted in this drawing was already being "shopped around" by Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, prior to its first publication in 1938 and indeed, the character itself dates back to 1933. As well, similar drawings have surfaced from the same time period.
Wayne and Shuster
OJA does not own copyright of Superman sketch. Researchers must sign a publication contract and assume full responsibility for obtaining copyright clearance.
File consists of one scrapbook (1958-1979), which contains graphic and textual material documenting initiation dinners and pledge shows, Founder's Day celebrations, fraternity picnics, themed frat parties (Hallowe'en, playboy, Hawaii luau, and beatnik), and tributes to members who passed away. The scrapbook also includes newspaper clippings of articles written by and about fraternity members; correspondence with members, alumni and other chapters of the fraternity; wedding invitations and holiday greeting cards; and the signatures of people who attended various events. There is a large reunion sign-in card tucked in at the back of the scrapbook as well as photographs.