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March 17, 2012


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John W. Nelson

The photo is of dear Phi Kappa Hall. Both the hall and the Society are still standing. The Society recently celebrated its 192nd Anniversary.

The "other Society," the oldest continuously running debate and literary society in the south (perhaps the nation), is situated across the quad from Phi Kappa. It is called the Demosthenian Society.

Phi Kappa Hall was built in 1836—Demosthenian Hall was built in 1824. Demosthenian was founded in 1802, Phi Kappa in 1820.

Both societies produced notable members such as Alexander Stephens (Phi Kappa), Henry W. Grady (Phi Kappa), the aforementioned Thomas R.R. Cobb (Phi Kappa; both Cobb brothers were notable Georgians), Phil Gramm (Phi Kappa), Crawford Long (the Other Society), Robert Toombs (the Other Society), and Ralph Reed (the Other Society).

Interestingly, during my time at Georgia as a member of the Society, and as an alumni after graduation, the topic of Thomas R.R. Cobb's book came up a few times. (A number of Phi Kappans, and members of the Other Society, find there way to the practice of law.) I believe the Phi Kappa library has a copy of it, although the library has seen better days.

One final legal trivia note, Phi Kappa was founded, in part, by Joseph Henry Lumpkin. Lumpkin founded a law school in Athens, Georga, where Cobb taught. This later became the University of Georgia Law School, which met in the offices of Lumpkin and Cobb. UGA's law school is still called the Lumpkin School of Law. Oh, and Cobb married Lumpkin's daughter. (He also founded a woman's college.)

Then there is Cobb's older brother Howell. And you can visit TRR Cobb's old house in Athens.

Fun times with history.

Alfred Brophy

Yes, John, fun times!

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