display | more...

Born in March 1870, in Chicago, and died in Oct. 1902, Benjamin Franklin Norris managed to acquire quite the reputation as a writer during his short career. After moving to San Francisco with his family at the age of 14, he spent two years studying painting in Paris. While there, he changed his mind, and decided that literature was the way to go. He left France and headed back home to California, enrolling in the University of California at Berkeley.

While there, he initiated into the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta, and was responsible for the founding of one of its most important traditions. One day near the end of classes in 1893, the Fijis were rapping on the Dekes and the Betas who had monopolized the local glee club that year. They brought out a barrel labeled "U. of C. Glee Club" tied up with cords that were supposed to be symbolic of the strangle hold established by their rivals. Out of the barrel fell a live squealing pig, which the Fiji brothers chances after.

To make a long story short, later that night as the brothers were feasting upon the pig, it was suggested that each member renew their pledge of fealty towards the fraternity by kissing the snout of the pig. After the dinner, it was Norris who suggested making it an annual event. He wrote the poem 'The Exile's Toast' to express his regret when he was stranded in New York in 1900, causing him to miss the pig dinner that year. When Frank died in 1902, they decided to dedicate the annual event to his memory. Since then, the Frank Norris Pig Dinner has spread to every Fiji chapter, where it is usually the main chance for undergraduates to meet the graduate brothers. And to this day, the snout of the pig is kissed by every brother, and there is a recitation of 'The Exile's Toast.'

After leaving Berkeley, he spent a year studying at Harvard. He worked as a reporter for a little while in South Africa, and then returned to San Francisco for a short time, and then out to New York as a correspondant with McClure's magazine in 1898. He finally returned to San Francisco where he worked as an editor of the San Francisco Wave, while concentrating upon his fiction. He was earning a lot of recognition when he died at the early age of 32 of peritonitis.

His most famous works are:

Source: The history of Phi Gamma Delta, Tomos Beta, by William Fosdick Chamberlin, University of California at Berkeley website, www.berkeley.edu

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.