The Badge of Merle Beeman, 1916

This absolutely stunning matte gold badge with small diamond and attached Masonic guard was a gift from my husband that thrilled me beyond belief.

Clara Merle Beeman was initiated as a charter member of the Gamma Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Kansas State University on September 23, 1916.

I shouldn’t play favorites, but this is definitely my #2 favorite of my collection, second only to the opal badge.

The badge is a gorgeous matte gold with a small genuine diamond. It is hard to capture the loveliness of the matte gold finish as an amateur photographer. It is unlike any of the other badges in my collection. The diamond is larger than what I have seen on any other badge, and the fact that it is a single diamond and the placement on the badge also make it unusual.

Trying to capture the beauty of the matte gold and little diamond made me realize that photography is a lot harder than it looks!

The pin guard is the badge of a 32nd-degree Scottish Rite Mason. My grandfather and son are both Masons, so this made this find extra special. Although there is no list of Masons that I can search, I assume that this is the pin of Merle’s husband, William Herbert Robinson, who she met while in college.

Clara as a junior, the year she became a charter member of the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Clara, senior year.

From the Kansas State College 1917 Yearbook, Royal Purple.

Merle was voted as one of six “Senior Beauties” of the 1917 graduating class.

Clara Merle Beeman was born on May 11, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois to William J. Beeman and Clara Cordilia Parks Beeman. Her mother passed away when Merle was only six years old, and then her father died when she was ten. She was then raised by relatives, listed in census reports as being a niece in the household of D.O. and Emma Coe. Merle graduated from Topeka High School in 1913 and Kansas State University in 1917. She married William Herbert Robinson on February 18, 1920. Clara Merle Beeman Robinson passed away on March 31, 1989 in Topeka, Kansas, at the age of 94.

So far, I have been unable to find a photo of Merle and William later in their lives, but this is a photo of Merle’s husband in 1916, his senior year at Kansas State University.

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