Charles Wilford Guthrie’s Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity Paddle

Summary Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives
Guthrie, Charles Wilford, 1909-1990.
Charles Wilford Guthrie’s Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity Paddle
Circa 1930-1931
1.0 Linear feet
Wooden Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity paddle with names of students written on it.

Preferred Citation note

Charles Wilford Guthrie’s Phi Sigma Epsilon Fraternity Paddle, Emporia State University Archives, Emporia State University.

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Biographical/Historical note

Charles Wilford Guthrie

Charles Wilford Guthrie was born August 29, 1909, in Stafford, Kansas, to Jacob Martin Guthrie and Maude McCarty Guthrie. He attended Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia during the 1930/1931 academic year. He was formally initiated into the Alpha Chapter of Phi Sigma Epsilon social fraternity on January 25, 1931. On May 2, 1942, he married Beth Aileen Smith and their children were Charles Wilford Guthrie, Jr., and Charla Guthrie Soden. On June 17, 1942, Guthrie enlisted in the United States Navy. Guthrie lived in Great Bend, Kansas, for many years and worked as an investment broker. Charles Wilford Guthrie died on December 12, 1990, in Harris County, Texas, and was buried in Great Bend, Kansas.

Phi Sigma Epsilon

The Phi Sigma Epsilon social fraternity was established at Kansas State Normal School on February 20, 1910, and was the first Greek letter organization on campus. The fraternity was not officially recognized by the school until 1913. The fraternity’s colors were silver and old rose, and the flower was a white carnation. The Emporia chapter was designated the Alpha Chapter in 1928 when Phi Sigma Epsilon began to establish chapters at other teachers colleges. The fraternity house in Emporia has had locations at 1119 Merchant Street, 922 Mechanic Street, 516 East 12th Avenue, and 1128 Market Street. Phi Sigma Epsilon remained an active student organization until 1971. The fraternity was reestablished on April 10, 1979, and remained active under the Phi Sigma Epsilon name until August 14, 1985, when the national fraternity merged with and took the name of Phi Sigma Kappa.

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Scope and Contents note

The collection consists of a wooden paddle approximately 18.5 inches long, 3.5 inches wide, and 0.5 inches thick. The paddle has writing in black ink on both sides. One side has only “Emporia, Kansas,” “Blackwood,” and the name “Walt Butcher” written on it. This writing stands out in comparison to the other side which has many more names written on it. The second side has 22 names or identifiable nicknames written on it, the Greek letters “???” (Phi Sigma Epsilon) written in two places, the word “Heavy” (possibly an unidentified nickname), and some geometric patterns and random lines marked near the handle. One name is written as “Mac McCoy,” and may possibly refer to either Elvin McCoy or Merle Rugh McCoy, both of whom were members of the Alpha Chapter of Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity at the time the paddle was created. Although the paddle was in the possession of Charles Wilford Guthrie, his name is not on the paddle.

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Arrangement note

Single item.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Emporia State University Special Collections and Archives February 2009

1200 Commercial St
Campus Box 4051
Emporia, KS, 66801
(620) 341-6431

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

The Bulletin newspaper issue of January 29, 1931, contains an article listing Charles Wilford Guthrie among the new initiates of Phi Sigma Epsilon social fraternity. The 1931  Sunflower yearbook contains photographs of Charles Wilford Guthrie and the Phi Sigma Epsilon social fraternity. Various papers from Phi Sigma Epsilon social fraternity, including the 1960 alumni directory for the Emporia chapter, are located in record group ESU005. Theses for the Master of Science degree written by Walter Whitmore Butcher, Robert E. Butler, Joseph Dean Stutsman, and Merle Rugh McCoy are in record group ESU003.008.003. Other materials from Walter Whitmore Butcher are  Presidential Election Returns for Kansas, 1864-1952 (in  Emporia State Research Studies, volume 5, number 1; record group ESU003.008.003) and an interview for the Flint Hills Oral History Project (ESU003.004.010); additional information about him is in the Faculty Index and in the Academic Affairs record group (ESU003; Nb:1b). An obituary for Charles Wilford Guthrie appears in the   Wichita Eagle on December 14, 1990 (available through William Allen White Library holdings). Microfilm copies of  Emporia Gazette obituaries are also available for Joseph Albert Rich on January 12, 1987, Kenneth W. Rinker on March 23, 2005, Howard Galentine on January 20 and 21, 1977, Walter Whitmore Butcher on May 7, 1998, and Floyd Austin Hagins on July 20 and 21, 2001. Photographs showing groups of students using wooden paddles are in Unidentified Photo Album No. 1 (2006.0004).

Separated Materials note


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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Greek letter societies.
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Societies, etc..
  • Kansas State Teachers College of Emporia -- Students.
  • Phi Sigma Epsilon. Alpha Chapter (Emporia State University).

Personal Name(s)

  • Arthur, William, 1910- .
  • Bowman, Jim Dwain.
  • Brewster, James, 1912-1988.
  • Brinkman, Arthur F., 1911-1992.
  • Burke, Hogue LaVere, 1911-1989.
  • Butcher, Walter Whitmore.
  • Butler, Robert Eddie.
  • Cook, Warren.
  • Freeman, Owen.
  • Galentine, Howard, 1910-1977.
  • Grant, Bernard Dean, 1911-1987.
  • Hagins, Floyd Austin.
  • Johnston, Oscar Lee.
  • Kutnink, Marvin Herman, 1910-1962.
  • Lupfer, Raymond Doty, 1907-1990.
  • McCoy, Elvin, 1909-1989.
  • McCoy, Merle Rugh.
  • Oldman, Jack.
  • Phillipi, Pete Loyd.
  • Rich, Joseph Albert.
  • Rinker, Kenneth W., 1912-2005.
  • Stocker, Cloyd Evan, 1911-1975.
  • Stutsman, Joseph Dean.
  • Wise, Henry, 1909-1974.


  • College students -- Kansas -- Emporia -- Societies and clubs.
  • College students -- Kansas -- Emporia.
  • Greek letter societies -- Kansas -- Emporia.
  • Students -- Kansas -- Emporia -- Societies and clubs.
  • Students -- Kansas -- Emporia.

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Collection Inventory


Paddle, circa 1930-1931.