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Holt House

Holt House: Pi Beta Phi's Founding Home

Holt House DVD  

“Holt House: Pi Beta Phi’s Founding Home.”

This exceptional 23-minute video captures the heritage of Pi Beta Phi and its beginnings at Holt House. It is highly recommended for collegiate and alumnae Fraternity Heritage programming particularly around Founders’ Day. A DVD copy may be ordered by emailing Jessica Strange or calling Headquarters at (636) 256–0680.


On April 28, 1867, a group of female Monmouth College students gathered in the southwest bedroom of the house owned by “Major” Jacob Holt, in a room rented by Ada Bruen and Libbie Brook. It was in Ada and Libbie’s second floor bedroom where the women’s fraternity movement began with the founding of a secret society named I.C. Sorosis by 12 young Monmouth students. The group’s Greek motto was “Pi Beta Phi,” which would eventually become the organization’s formal name.

Click here to read the complete history of Holt House.

Holt House Today

Today, Holt House is a vital part of the community. The house has been restored and is available for use by groups for gatherings. It is an intimate setting for weddings, receptions, parties and meetings. Ample seating and the recently renovated kitchen make it perfect for private dinners or luncheons.

A committee appointed by Grand Council manages Holt House. The Holt House Curator and the Holt House Committee Coordinator make day-to-day operational decisions.

In early spring of 2009, the Fraternity applied to the Illinois State Historical Society for Holt House to be recognized as a historic landmark in the state of Illinois. On October 8, 2009, the Holt House Committee hosted a dedication ceremony for a historical marker, which is now permanently placed in the southeast corner of the front yard.

A library renovation was completed, thanks to the generous donations of our members. The Holt House Committee is excited to share that a remodel of the curator's office and adjoining powder room is now complete as well. 

Gift Giving

The Foundation welcomes Holt House gifts or items made in memory or honor of individuals, alumnae organizations or chapters. The hallway next to the Historical Room displays a special donor book. 

Members can make a lasting contribution to Holt House and the heritage of Pi Beta Phi by donating to Pi Beta Phi Foundation. Individual Fraternity members, alumnae organizations and chapters are encouraged to make yearly donations to Holt House. Chapter gifts should be accompanied by a FT-1 Pi Beta Phi Foundation Gift Form. Alumnae organization gifts should be accompanied by a FT-2 Pi Beta Phi Foundation Gift Form. Both forms are also available on the Pi Beta Phi Foundation website and the Resource Library. (These contributions should be made to Pi Beta Phi Foundation and sent to Headquarters.) Gifts marked “Holt House” will be used for general operating costs, and gifts marked “Wish List” will be used to acquire special “extras” for the house and grounds. The Holt House Committee is grateful for all members’ support of the birthplace of Pi Beta Phi.

The Holt House Wish List

Click here to view the Holt House Wish List for 2019. Please email Holt House Committee Coordinator Melissa Hower, at mhower@pibetaphi.org for additional information and updates on items recently added to the wish list.

Visit Holt House

Pi Phi travelers to Monmouth are encouraged to visit Holt House on Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., or by contacting Holt House Curator Denise Turnbull at (309) 734–3988 or holthouse@pibetaphi.org in advance for an appointment.

Holt House Mission Statement

The mission of Holt House, the founding home of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, is to promote a welcoming spirit, to preserve Fraternity history and to provide an inviting setting that serves Pi Beta Phi collegiate chapters, alumnae organizations and the greater Monmouth community.

Holt House Vision Statement

Holt House, the founding home of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, is committed to being recognized as a premier historic home.