Banta’s Greek Exchange Published for Sorority and Fraternity News


George Banta and Walter B. Palmer published the inaugural issue of the Banta’s Greek Exchange in December 1912. This new quarterly publication was labeled as, “A Pan Hellenic Journal Published in the Interest of the College Fraternity World.” Banta’s printing press published the journal. In this issue Palmer wrote, “Fraternities are now on trial; not only that, but they are fighting on the defensive.”

In his discussion Palmer pointed out that opposition to fraternities came almost entirely from non-fraternity men. His solution was that fraternities should increase in size and number so that every student who desired it could share in a regulated and harmonious chapter life. Palmer had a whole-hearted belief in fraternities, not as elite groups, but as congenial bands of students enjoying and sustaining each other. “If the number of chapters was immediately doubled,” he declared, “the clamor against fraternities would in large measure cease.”

Writing in The Scroll, Walter Palmer concluded that the war on fraternities brought some compensations. “The result has been to place all fraternities on their mettle to demonstrate to the world that they are worthwhile and are doing good work in promoting scholarship, morality, democracy and college loyalty.”

The publication advertised in the The Scroll, Volume 37, No. 2, on page 306, described the publication as such:

This is a new departure in fraternity journalism, “A Pan-Hellenic Journal, Published in the Interest of the College-Fraternity World.” It has a broad field and gives expression to the growing spirit of fraternity cooperation and helpfulness, which happily has supplemented old time jealousies and distrust. The first number, dated December 1912, contains 82 pages, and every Greek who is interested in general fraternity movements would feel well repaid by reading it. Two of the leading articles are “Fraternity Scholarship,” by Frank E. Compton, President of ΘΔΧ, and “High School Fraternities,” by J. Cal. Hanna, former General Secretary of ΒΘΠ.

The magazine is edited by George Banta, Past President of ΦΔΘ, and former editor of The Scroll. The eleven pages of editorials are written in the characteristic vein of his genial personality. George Banta Jr. conducts an exchange department with the news instinct of an editor of long training. The fraternity department is handled by Walter B. Palmer, author of the ΦΔΘ History and Manual, the sorority department by Mrs. Ida Shaw Martin, ΔΔΔ , author of the Sorority Handbook.

The Exchange publishes the general news of interest in regard to all fraternities, articles suggesting improvements in fraternity methods and management, and discussions of problems with which the fraternities are confronted. It is the only medium for an interchange of opinions in regard to questions affecting all fraternities, and in this respect it has a very important mission.

A valuable feature is the Exchange was a list of the addresses of the general officers of the various fraternities and sororities, also announcements of national conventions.

Everyone who cares to keep abreast of fraternity conditions and progress should subscribe for this interesting journal, which occupies a unique position among fraternity periodicals. It will be issued four times a year, the subscription price being one dollar. Typographically it is very handsome and a credit to the Collegiate Press, Menasha, Wis., which is much the largest fraternity publishing house in America.”

Banta’s Greek Exchange continued to explain and promote the fraternity system and to support the sorority system which came into being in the late 19th century with the advance of women’s rights as a national issue.