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Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity (Savannah, Ga.) Records

Identifier: Mss 390

Scope and Contents

This collection is composed of correspondence regarding the Savannah Graduate Club of the Phi Delta Epsilon Fraternity. Most of the correspondence is addressed to Dr. Leonard J. Rabhan, who founded the club in 1960. The records are dated from 1954 to 1975. There is also correspondence relating to Aaron Brown Memorial Lectures as well as the death of one of the Club’s members, Dr. Jacob “Jake” Rubin, in 1970. Notably, the collection includes the entire notebook kept by Dr. Rabhan in relation to the establishment of the Savannah Graduate Club in 1960 and 1961.


  • 1960 - 1975

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

The Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity (ΦΔΕ) was founded by Aaron Brown (ca. 1885-1945) and eight other Jewish students at Cornell University Medical College in 1904. The formation was in response to the discriminatory practices of other fraternities, which would not allow membership to Jews and people of other backgrounds. The founding principles of Phi Delta Epsilon are philanthropy, deity, and equity.

The success of the first chapter later led to the formation of new chapters across the country, culminating with the absorption of a similar fraternity, Alpha Phi Sigma, and continued geographical expansion. The first Canadian chapter, at McGill University, opened in 1926, officially making Phi Delta Epsilon an international fraternity. By 1930, enough members had graduated from medical school and started professional practice to form graduate chapters.

In the late 1960s, membership was opened to female medical students and those of non-Jewish backgrounds, leading to increasing diversity in the Fraternity’s ranks. Today, the demographic characteristics of the Fraternity closely align those of the medical profession itself. In 1994, an undergraduate premedical chapter opened at Binghamton University, allowing the Fraternity to “span an entire lifetime of medical education and practice.”

The mission statement of the Fraternity is: “Phi Delta Epsilon International Medical Fraternity creates physicians of integrity with a lifelong commitment to our guiding principles of philanthropy, deity, and education through fellowship, service, mentoring, and formal training in leadership, science, and ethics.”[1]

Once a year, each chapter conducts an Aaron Brown Memorial Lecture, which “promote[s] the highest scientific and educational standards in the practice of medicine, medical teaching, and research.” It “also promote[s] the discussion of current social and economic issues related to medicine as well as promote the art and humanity of medicine.”

Phi Delta Epsilon’s graduate club in Savannah was founded in 1960 by Dr. Leonard J. Rabhan (1907-2003) and other graduates of the Beta Iota Chapter at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA, although graduates of any chapter were eligible to join. It is unknown what became of the Club after 1975.


0.4 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



The records of the Savannah Graduate Club of the Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity.


The records are arranged in alphabetical order by folder title. Within each folder, the records are arranged in chronological order.

Custodial History

The Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity (Savannah, Ga.) Records are part of the Savannah Jewish Archives that were transferred from the Georgia Historical Society to the Breman Museum in 2015.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Dr. Michael Zoller to the Savannah Jewish Archives.

Separated Materials

Oversize Materials
Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity (Savannah, Ga.) Records, Mss 390
Lindsay B. Resnick
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum Repository

1440 Spring St. NW
Atlanta Georgia 30309 United States