Linonian Society

Linonia is a literary and debating society founded in 1753 at Yale University. It is one of the university's oldest secret societies.

The Linonian Society of Yale University
Motto Amicitia Concordia Soli Noscimus
(Latin for "We alone learn in friendship and harmony")
Formation September 12, 1753
Legal status Active
Region served
New Haven, CT, United States
The Linonia and Brothers Room in the Sterling Memorial Library at Yale
The Linonia Court in Branford College, Yale
The Linonia Pin


Linonia was founded in 1753 as Yale College's second literary and debating society. By the late eighteenth century, all incoming freshmen at Yale College became members either of Linonia or its rival society, Brothers in Unity, which was founded in 1768. Other debating societies arose throughout the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, notably Crotonia in 1738 and Calliope in 1819, but were relatively short-lived.[1] By the end of the Civil War, the social dominance of Linonia and Brothers began to decline, and the debating society system ultimately evolved into the Yale Union and later in 1934, the Yale Political Union.

Following this shift, the Linonian Society was reconstituted in the mold of Yale's other collegiate secret societies. However, instead of tapping only rising seniors, it draws from the Yale Law School, Yale Graduate School and Yale School of Management, in addition to Yale College students. According to tradition, Linonia participates in Yale's tap night during the second week of April. In contrast to other biography oriented societies, meetings often involve debate on intellectual and political topics.

Linonia and Sterling Memorial Library

At the time of the formation of Yale's central library in 1871, Linonia and Brothers donated their respective literary collections to the university. Both societies had kept substantial collections of works not deemed suitable by the Yale faculty, which did not teach English literature until the late nineteenth century. The donation is commemorated in the Linonia and Brothers Reading Room at Yale's Sterling Memorial Library. The reading room contains the Linonia and Brothers (L&B) collection, a travel collection, a collection devoted to medieval history, and a selection of new books recently added to Sterling’s collections.[2]

The Linonian Society, Brothers in Unity, and Calliope are all commemorated with their own courtyards in Branford College.

Prominent members


  1. "An Irrepressible Urge to Join". Yale Alumni Magazine. March 2001. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  2. "Sterling Memorial Library". Yale University Library. Retrieved 22 November 2016.

See also

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