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The Scroll and Key Society is a senior or secret society, founded in 1841 at Yale Universitymarker, in New Haven, Connecticutmarker. It is the second oldest Yale secret society.


Scroll and Key was established by John Porter, with aid from several members of the Class of 1842 and a member of the Class of 1843, Wiliam Kingsley, after disputes over elections to Skull and Bones Societymarker, the oldest society at Yale. Porter, William Kingsley, Enos Taft, Samuel Perkins, Homer Sprague, Lebbeus Chapin, George Jackson, Calvin Child, Charlton Kewis, and Josiah Harmer were among the society's first members.Theodore Runyon, Issac Heister and Leonard Case were also early members from the Class of 1842. William Kingsley, the namesake of the alumni organization, was a member of the Class of 1843.

In addition to financing its own activities, "Keys" has made significant donations to Yale over the years, among them the John Addison Porter Prize, awarded annually by Yale since 1872, and in 1917 the endowment for the founding of the Yale University Press, which has funded the publication of The Yale Shakespeare and sponsored the Yale Younger Poets Series.

The society has been "coed" since 1989.


Facade displaying Moorish gate and patterned forecourt.
The Scroll and Key Tomb
  • Richard Morris Hunt. (1869-70, Moorish- or Islamic-inspired Beaux-Arts.) Architectural historian Patrick Pinnell includes an in-depth discussion of Keys' building in his 1999 history of Yale's campus, relating the then-notable cost overruns associated with the Keys structure and its aesthetic significance within the campus landscape. Pinnell's history shares the fact that the land was purchased from another secret society, Berzelius.

Regarding its distinctive appearance, Pinnell noted that "19th century artists' studios commonly had exotic orientalia lying about to suggest that the painter was sophisticated, well traveled, and in touch with mysterious powers; Hunt's Scroll and Key is one instance in which the trope got turned into a building."

Notable members

Name Year tapped Known for
Cord Meyer, Jr. 1943 Central Intelligence Agency; United World Federalists
Frank Polk 1894 Davis Polk & Wardwell; (acting) Secretary of State, managed conclusion to World War I
Dean Acheson 1915 51st Secretary of State
Cyrus Vance 1939 57th Secretary of State; Secretary of the Army; Chairman, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Theodore Runyon 1842 Envoy, then Ambassador, Germany; Battle of Bull Run
Sargent Shriver 1938 Peace Corps; 1972 Democratic Vice-Presidential Candidate, Presidential Medal of Freedom
Allen Wardwell 1895 Russian War Relief, Davis Polk & Wardwell; Bank of New York; Vice-President, American-Russian Chamber of Commerce.
John Enders 1919 shared 1954 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
William C. Bullitt 1912 US Ambassador, France, '36-'41, first US Ambassador, Soviet Russia, '33-'36.
Huntington D. Sheldon 1925 Central Intelligence Agency; Director of the Office of Current Intelligence; President, Petroleum Corporation of America.
Warren Zimmermann 1956 US Ambassador, Yugoslavia, 1989-1992; author of book about the causes of Yugoslavia's dissolution.
Roscoe S. Suddarth 1956 President, Middle East Institute; US Ambassador to Jordan; American Iranian Council.
Lewis Sheldon 1895 US Peace Commission, Paris Peace Conference, 1918; Olympic medalist, track and field.
Raymond R. Guest 1931 US Ambassador, Ireland; Special Assistant to Secretary of Defense, 1945-47; horse breeder; polo Hall of fame.
Thomas Enders 1953 Ambassador, Spain '83-'86, Assistant Sec. of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Ambassador to the European Union '79-'81, Ambassador to Canada, '76-'79; Salomon Brothers
A. Bartlett Giamatti 1960 16th Yale University president; National League president, MLB Commissioner
Paul Mellon philanthropist
Robert McCormick 1903 Chicago Tribune; Kirkland & Ellis
Henry deForest 1876 Southern Pacific Railroad
Fareed Zakaria 1986 Editor, Newsweek International and host of CNN show
J. Peter Grace 1936 W. R. Grace & Co.
Cornelius Vanderbilt III 1895 Vanderbilt heir.
James Stillman Rockefeller President and Chairman, The First National City Bank of New York; Olympic gold medal for crew, 1924
Brewster Jennings 1920 Founder and President of the Socony Mobil Oil Company Standard Oil of New York; president, Memorial Center for Cancer and Allied Diseases and Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research
Gilbert Colgate 1883 President and Chairman of Colgate & Co.
Benjamin Brewster 1929 director, Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey (later Exxon).
Seymour H. Knox 1920 American retailer, F. W. Woolworth Company.
Donald R. McLennan 1931 Founder and Chairman, insurance brokerage firm Marsh & McLennan
Stone Phillips 1977 Dateline NBC
Peter H. Dominick 1937 US Senator 1962-1974 (Colorado); US Congressman, 1960-1962; US Ambassador, Switzerland.
Gideon Rose 1987 Foreign Affairs
Philip B. Heymann 1954 Watergate Special Prosecutor, Deputy US Attorney General; Professor, Harvard Law School.
Joseph M. Patterson 1901 founder, New York Daily News; manager, Chicago Tribune
George Edgar Vincent 1885 President of the University of Minnesotamarker; President of the Rockefeller Foundation
Ethan A. H. Shepley 1918 Chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis.
Robert D. Orr 1940 Governor of Indiana; US Ambassador, Singapore.
Joseph Medill McCormick 1900 U.S. Senate '19-'24, Publisher, Chicago Tribune.
James C. Auchincloss, 1908 Representative, US Congress 1943-1965, Governor of the NYSE., US Military Intelligence WWI.
Herbert Parsons 1890 US Congress '04-'10; leading supporter of League of Nations.
Fred Dubois 1872 First US Senator from Idaho 1891-1897, resigned, re-elected 1901-1907; Opponent of gold standard; Engineered statehood for Idaho.
Richardson Dilworth 1921 Mayor of Philadelphiamarker 1955-1962.
Frederick B. Dent 1944 US Secretary of Commerce.
John Dalzell 1865 US Congress
Wayne Chatfield-Taylor 1916 President, Export-Import Bank; Undersecretary of Commerce; Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
William Nelson Runyon 1892 acting Governor of New Jersey (May 1919 - Jan 1920)
Newbold Morris 1925 New York lawyer and politician
Randall L. Gibson 1853 US Senator 1883-1892 (Louisiana); US Representative, 1872-1882; Brigadier-General in the Confederate States Army; President, Tulane University.
Mortimer R. Proctor 1912 Governor of Vermont, 1945-47.
Frederic A. Potts 1926 Chairman, Philadelphia National Bank; New Jersey Senate; Republican candidate, New Jersey Governor
Carter Henry Harrison 1845 Mayor of Chicago, five terms 1879-93; US Representative, 1875-79; cousin of President William Henry Harrison.
George Shiras Jr. 1853 U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Harvey Cushing 1891 neurosurgeon considered father of brain surgery
Dickinson W. Richards 1917 1956 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Benjamin Spock 1925 Baby & Child Care
Edward Salisbury Dana 1871 Leading American mineralogist.
George Roy Hill 1943 1974 Academy Award for Directing, The Sting
Cole Porter entertainer, song writer
James Gamble Rogers 1889 collegiate Gothic architecture, favored architect of Edward Harkness and designed many of Yale's buildings
Garry Trudeau 1970 cartoonist
William Adams Delano 1895 Award-winning Architect; designed many of Yale buildings.

See also


  1. "Change in Skull and Bones, Famous Yale Society Doubles Size of its House - Addition a Duplicate of Old Building", September 13, 1903, New York Times

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