Phi Epsilon Phi Letter Sweater

Phi Epsilon Phi letter sweater, front view. Date unknown.

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Phi Epsilon Phi letter sweater, rear view. Date unknown.

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Student being “tapped” into the Phi Epsilon Phi honorary pep Society at Buchtel Memorial Chapel in 1946. From p. 53, 1945-1946 University of Denver yearbook.

The years between World War I and into the 1960s were the heyday for student organizations and activities in American college and universities. This letter sweater belonged to a member of one of many such organizations – Phi Epsilon Phi, an “honorary pep society” for men at the University of Denver (DU). The “Phi Eps” were active from the 1930s through the 1950s. Together with the “Parakeets,” (the equivalent organization for DU women), the “Phi Eps” supported the DU football team, organized student activities like picnics and dances, and engaged in philanthropic works.

Each year, new members in this organization (and several others) were initiated into the organization through a ritual known as “tapping,” where existing members would physically “tap” a new member on the shoulder in a public place – usually Buchtel Memorial Chapel – signifying their membership in the organization in front of the student body.

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