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06 February 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday: Penny's Sorority Bracelet

As I mentioned last week, my mother gave me her jewelry collection to  photograph before her death. She was so pleased with all that I had done thus far and wanted to make sure I photographed more of her treasures. I'm glad she gave them to me. Unfortunately, I did not have time to record the stories behind the charm bracelets and all the charms. However, with this charm, I have lots of clues as to what it is and what the items mean.

ΒΣΦ Charm Bracelet
ΒΣΦ Charm Bracelet
Canon PowerShot SX110 IS
f/4, exp 1/13 sec, bias +1, ISO 80
Focal length: 12 mm ; Center Weight Average metering

This charm is full of silver stars. You can see that some stars have the year 1967, 1968, and 1970. Some of the stars say Charter member, Founders day and Heart fund. And, the big clue for me are the symbols ΒΣΦ. That clue tells me this is from when mother participated in Beta Sigma Phi. Now, I don't know if the current organization is like the one my mother participated in in the late 1960s. I do know she would have participated in this group after she graduated college, and she was married. I remember that prior to her induction into the group, her grandfather-in-law Victor Zumstein would quiz her on her being able to read Greek. So this was definitely something she participated in as a married woman.

Heirlooms from fraternal organization
Here's the same photo after I cropped it, and
lightened it using a photo editor. 

I still have this bracelet. As I mentioned last week, you should play around with the charms so you can see as much as possible. I don't know if trying to photograph all sides of this bracelet would be helpful. Again, I like that there are clues... the stars, the years, the reason, and the sorority symbols. I think I'll keep the edited version of the photo but go back and record all the other things inscribed so I can perhaps gain a richer understanding of Mom's participation. Perhaps someone from the Columbus, Ohio chapter who knows the history of Beta Sigma Phi from the late 1960s and early 1970s could contact me and let me know more about the organization and what it did. That would be awesome. Someday, I'll pursue this research on my own if the “reach out and help me” fishing line doesn't work.

What clues are in your family heirlooms that you haven't noticed before that could help you better understand your relative?

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