Sometime in the spring of 1912, a group of women in Cochran Hall became close friends, bound by similar tastes and ideals. Since the nucleus were Dayton home-towners, this informal group had been known as the Dayton crowd. Most of these girls and their friends lived on the top floor of Cochran Hall. One day, a dorm occupant commented that these girls lived at the top of the dorm. Norma McCally stated, "Surely, the cream always rises to the top." With this self-appraisal of their position and quality, they became known as "C.O.D." or "Cream of the Dorm." These girls wore a small common safety pin to identify themselves. From this circle of friends, a few left to join another group and some graduated or did not return to school.
In 1914, the remaining group of C.O.D.'ers decided to become more formally organized like a national sorority. This group of seven, our founding mothers, were Dora Beck, Ruth Drury, Dorothy Gilbert, Inez Staub, Stella Lilly and Norma McCally. These girls wanted to take on a Greek name. At this particular time, one of the girls had been reading the inspirational book Everybody's Lonesome. She felt that its titleadapted well to a motto. Two other girls, who were Greek students, had this title translated into Greek: tosauti eise monai (literally meaning "so many people are alone"). The first letters of the three Greek words are T, E, M--thus the Greek pronunciation of Tau Epsilon Mu. Later, searching for a common name to be called, the sorority chose Talisman, meaning "good luck charm". For this reason, the scarab is a symbol on our crest.
The seven founders initiated Opal Gilbert, Janet Gilbert and Margaret Marshall during 1914 and 1915. In 1917, one year after Talisman had organized, President Clippinger requested all social groups to destroy their constitutions and by-laws to disband. The administration during those days frowned upon secret Greek groups on campus and Tau Epsilon Mu, today the second oldest sorority on campus, compiled with the order. In an appropriate ceremony, the members buried the TEM constitution in the cemetery by Alum Creek.
In 1921, the administration recognized fraternal groups. During the Golden Jubilee year at Otterbein in 1922, five of the sorority's original founders returned to campus to activate their old sorority. The returning girls wrote notes to five prospective candidates, inviting them to appear at the house adjacent to the library. After a frank discussion, all the girls present made the decision to reactivate. These five girls were Mary Elizabeth Brewbaker, Mabel Cassel, Josephine Cridland, Helen Drury and Ruth Snyder. Mary E. Brewbaker was elected president of Talisman.
In the summer of 1922, Alma Guitner, who was a teacher and friend to the girls, accepted the invitation to become the first sponsor of the sorority. Janet Gilbert wrote the TEM ritual and other sorority documents. Today Talisman is rich in tradition, and has survived for more than 75 years.
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