On March 17, 1917, five courageous women attending New York University School of Law could not find a membership accepting of all backgrounds. Therefore, they formed Delta Phi Epsilon with the purpose of accepting all races and religions–one of the first non-sectarian, social sororities to do so. Since our founding over 100 years ago, we have grown into a thriving organization with over 67,000 intiated members, representing 109 chapters located across the United States and Canada
"To promote good fellowship among the women students among the various colleges in the country...to create a secret society composed of these women based upon their good moral character, regardless of nationality or creed..." Founder notes.
Attending law school when you don’t have basic voting rights is a bold move. Our Founders were bold, courageous students who challenged the status quo and did not let society define their future. They were forward-thinking women who saw beyond what sorority was and knew what it could be.
Today, our Sorority stays true to our founding. Sisters find more than a home or friendship in DPhiE. We find empowerment to live authentic and purposeful lives.
Dorothy Cohen Schwartzman
Dorothy was the first woman to pass the bar in Fairfield County, Connecticut. After practicing law for seven years, Dorothy began working in social welfare and later traveled with her husband while he served in the armed forces. Throughout her life, she remained in contact with her fellow Founders and always portrayed the ideals and principles of the Sorority she helped to establish.
Ida Bienstock Landau
Ida graduated law school in 1920 and practiced law in New York City. She was a war correspondent during World War II in Europe, and helped relocated Jewish survivors and refugees. When Ida married in 1921, she married a non-citizen and, as a result, she lost her U.S. citizenship and the right to practice law. Ida petitioned Congress about the injustice, attracting national attention to the case. This led to the adoption of the Cable Act, which restored her citizenship, and guaranteed that American women would not forfeit their citizenship by marriage to a foreigner.
Minna Goldsmith Mahler
Minna was always interested in the cause of peace in the world and understanding between people. She was instrumental in setting up the constitution and bylaws that still guide our Sorority. Minna also served as the First International President (1922-1923). After practicing law and raising her family, Minna sat on the Human Rights committee of the United Nations with Eleanor Roosevelt, and became a speaker for the United Nations. She was also active in the World Health Organization and the National Council of Jewish Women.
Eve Effron Robin
Eve believed that education and Delta Phi Epsilon were means for women in the early 20th century to broaden their base and enrich their lives. Her love of education, books, travel and art were constant. She was always learning and encouraging others to learn. Her love of her friends and concern for people were legendary. Her lifelong friendship with her Founding sisters personified everything we say about the joys of lasting friendship within our sisterhood. Her sudden death during her travels in Europe serves to remind us to embrace life and explore our world.
Sylvia Steierman Cohn
Sylvia was a role model for women: dedicated to her family, aware of her community’s needs and conscious of her roles as an educated person. She worked with her husband in real estate, taught law and was active in her community. Reflecting on her experience during the Golden Anniversary Convention in 1967, Sylvia said, “It is in the evening of life that these occasions and memories which they provided become more precious and remain the reassures which we cherish.”