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Girls High Graduate, Class of 1910, Recognized with Grave Stone

By Samaria Bailey Tribune Correspondent (excerpted)
The Philadelphia Tribune, March 30, 2015

Pauline Oberdorfer Minor, a 1910 graduate of Girls High and Founder of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, was finally celebrated with a well-attended memorial Saturday March 28th at Eden Cemetery in Collingdale, just outside of Southwest Philadelphia. Her whereabouts had remained a mystery for years until her history and contribution were uncovered in 2013 by members of the sorority she founded.

Oberdorfer graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1910, and, later that year enrolled at Howard University, where she helped found Delta Sigma Theta in 1913. According to research, in 1914 she graduated at the top of her class and by 1915 was teaching at a school in South Carolina. She later would teach in West Chester.

In addition to teaching, Oberdorfer wrote songs and performed as a mezzo-soprano recitalist, focusing on spirituals. In her biography, the Delta’s cite a Philadelphia Tribune article on a holiday gathering at which she sang two songs, “Deep River” and “Rose in the Bud.” In 1932, she obtained a copyright for two books — “Faith. I Wonder How When Bound in Sin etc.” and “Witness Within. Once I was a Sinner etc.”

At the monument unveiling, hundreds of Delta members withstood winds and temperatures dipping into the 30s to dedicate a new headstone, bearing Oberdorfer’s image and the Delta official flower, the African Violet. The headstone was placed at Oberdorfer’s gravesite.

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