The following documents are of some note and interest.
The Old Philolexian Constitution (?)
The following presents what I believe is Philo's original constitution. It is certainly archaic enough. I should note, however, that an exhaustive search of the Columbiana archives may turn up otherwise. What's hilarious about this constitution is that, according to Student Development and Activities at Columbia, it was the official constitution of the present Society until 2004. Apparently the Avatar, in renewing our group, neglected or chose against writing a new constitution. Oral sources inform that in the late eighties an extensive debate arose about whether or not to revise the document, and concluded that enshrining our original laws, with all their flaws, was the best form of both flattery and of amusement (see, for example, Article II, Section V). They have since been revised and updated and approved with great fanfare and fervor. -Jonathan Treitel CC '05
The Philolexian Quick March (1853)
In 1853, H.B. Dodsworth, leader of the eponymous band which played at the annual Philolexian anniversary dinner, composed a march in honor of the society's semi-centennial, and presentedit on at the 51st anniversary. A short while later the music was arranged for piano by F.B. Helmsmueller. A copy of the sheet music is located in the Library of Congress, the images included herein, in addition to a MIDI transcription by Aaron Davies '99.
The Philolexian Ditty (1915)
The following song was discovered on the inside cover of a the program for a Philolexian anniversary dinner. According to the program the lyrics were written to the tune of a german drinking song, "Krambambuli." Here are the lyrics, and a copy of the german melody.
Letter to Michael Sovern, President of Columbia University (1986)
The following is the text of a letter actually sent to the then President of the University, Michael Sovern. I include this letter because it seems to epitomize the spirit of Philo during the first few years after its refounding, witty and yet comically absurd. This letter can also be found in the Columbiana Library in Low Library. -Ian Sullivan CC '04
Declaration of War on the American Whig-Cliosophic Society of Princeton (1987)
In the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighty seven, the Philolexian Society officially allied with the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvana, and issued this Declaration of War to the Whig-Cliosophic Society of Princeton. The Whig-Clio's never officially replied and eventually both Philo's declared the war an uncontested victory. While many of the reasons may seem specious, look at points 3 and 4 for the actual reasons that both Philo's were annoyed with Princeton. It is questionable whether the war was actually won by the Matho-Lexian alliance since none of the charges against Princeton were answered and all therefore remain valid.
Epic Poem, by Jonathan Treitel (2003)
In the spring of 2003, an inebriated member of the Philomathean Society of the University of Pennsylvania entered Alfred Lerner Hall and absconded with the banner of our Society. The crime was reported by Julian Himes, a Columbia College student who was also the lover and accomplice of Ms. Annafrancesca Fuchs, a Philomathean.
Our Society was quick to respond. Distrusting Mr. Julian Himes, Philolexian established a Secret Committee with the express purpose of extending diplomacy by other means. Soon, an elite selection of the Secret Committee (the predecessor of our current Knickerboxer Defense Battalion) marched to the University of Pennsylvania and committed acts of cunning, daring, and flirtation.
When our heroes arrived in Philadelphia, however, they quickly despaired. The Halls of Philomathean stood locked, and entry seemed impossible. And so, like Odysseus at Troy, our immortal sons of Philolexian connived their entry. Some convinced a Philomathean to let them in, as "prospective students," while others secured the gates and hid inside. And so it came to pass that, later that evening, two members of the Secret Committee took the defending Philomatheans out to coffee, while other heroes entered and secured the Philomathean flag.
Next November, at the annual Joyce Kilmer Memorial Bad Poetry Contest, then-scriba Jonathan Treitel composed an epic poem celebrating the Society's feat. A robed Philomathean delegation delivered a speech in Latin, with english translation with urgent requests for treaty negotiation and flag exchange, and hostilities were closed in the following Autumn with a formal flag exchange and peace treaty negotiation and signing. Included herein. is the text of Mr.Treitel's poem, and some appropriate photos. -Jonathan Treitel CC '05
Letters of the Nomenclaturist General (199?-Present)
Mr. X, esteemed Geezer and original Nomenclaturist General, explains about the Nomenclature committee:
We Philolexians are an opportunistic bunch, so when we heard that some other student organization had gotten free toys from some company by naming that company their official toy company,we immediately decided that a committee should be formed to name the official "X" of the Philolexian Society every week. I volunteered (thus bringing upon myself the Philolexian nickname "Andy X"), and have served as Nomenclaturist General ever since. (Well, during my year in Japan I didn't realize that I still had the position, but upon my return our illustrious censor reprimanded me: "Mr. Shiner is reminded that he is not Mr. Shiner but Mr. X, and still bears all the attached duties and responsibilities.")