The Scroll Finds Permanent Publishing Home


Phi Delta Theta was a lasting concern for George Banta, but he also had a career to advance. After reading law in his father’s office in Franklin, Indiana, he began a law practice that led into the insurance business. With his outdoors-loving father, he spent summers in the woods of Wisconsin, where he decided to settle. From an insurance office in Menasha, on the shore of Lake Winnebago, he developed a sub-agency system that made his business the largest in the state. Then, in the 1890s, he retired from insurance, pouring his energies into the Fraternity and beginning a new business venture.

As a boy, George Banta and his brother Charles had printed a small family newspaper using type picked up from the refuse of a local printing shop. Their paper had a short name, the SUN because they had only a few letters of bold-face type. Soon they bought a hand press, then a foot press, first installed in the family dining room but moved to the woodshed when they acquired a small steam engine. When the boiler blew up, George Banta went back to the craftsmanship of hand printing, an avocation he never outgrew.

Years later, when he gave up the insurance business. Banta saw the need for a printing company adapted to college business in the Midwest. At Menasha, he created The Collegiate Press of the George Banta Publishing Company.

In February 1904, the first issue of The Scroll was published by George Banta Publishing Company.

From the April 1904 issue: “Owing to a change of both editors and printers, the February Scroll was issued under some disadvantages. It was also issued in a hurry. It contains chapter letters dated as late as February 25. The last forms were printed March 9, and the edition was mailed March 11. We hope that it reached the great majority of our readers before Alumni Day. We are sure that all were pleased with the typographical appearance of the magazine under the new management. In the opinion of the editors, The Scroll is now handsomer than ever, and it is expected that this standard will be maintained. For this we have to thank our printers, the official printers of the fraternity, the George Banta Publishing Company, and especially the president of the company, Brother George Banta, ex-P. G. C., who has given close personal attention to the typographical details.”

The Scroll was continuously published by the George Banta Publishing Company until the early 1990s.