Five High School Students and Three Teachers establish Psi Iota Xi in Muncie, Indiana.

To learn more about these fascinating women, please visit our Facts on Founders Page.

 When Mayme Johnson returned to Muncie from her summer vacation in New York state, she enthusiastically shared news of a Greek letter society to which her friends in New York belonged.  Johnson, along with four of her friends, approached three of their Muncie High School teachers, who agreed to meet with them to discuss the potential of establishing a local group.       

Several meetings were conducted, a constitution was adopted, a ritual was written, and the special Greek letters were selected. September 19, 1897 the Alpha chapter of Psi Iota Xi Sorority was founded. Johnson was chosen as the first president.

The sorority chose turquoise blue and old gold as its colors, created a diamond-shaped pin, and pledged to focus on music, art, and literature, as demonstrated on its crest.

A primary goal of the organizing group was to establish a publication for “the benefit and entertainment of Muncie High School students.” The Helicon, named for the abode of Apollo and the nine muses, began as a monthly publication supported by the school. The first edition included a picture of the eight charter members of Psi Iota Xi: Miss Emma Cammack, Mrs. Martha Ivins, Miss Eve Kessler, Mary Louise Carmichael, Mayme Johnson (Oesterle), Huda Smith (Kimbrough), Ethelyn Dowell (Hinkley), and Sue Derexa Smith.

By 1910 Psi Iota Xi, the first Greek letter organization of its kind in Indiana, boasted ten chapters. Today the sorority has more than 100 chapters in Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Illinois.

In its more than 100 years of existence, the women of Psi Iota Xi have contributed millions of dollars to philanthropic projects, meeting needs in their communities and the nation, particularly in the areas of fine arts, music, literature, and speech and hearing.

Our national Web site offers the following description: “Psi Iota Xi is a network of friends dedicated to helping others with time, money, and love and meeting needs, whether cultural, educational, social, or financial.”

The Web site continues: “Each member of Psi Iota Xi is a part of the whole, and the whole is dependent on the contribution of each person privileged to wear the Psi Iota Xi pin.”