Linonian Society

Linonian Society

Linonia is a literary and debating society founded in 1753 at Yale University.


Linonia was founded in 1753 as Yale University'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. [] 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.


In recent years, Linonia was reconstituted as an active debating society. Currently, it draws on undergraduate, graduate, and professional students in leadership positions across Yale to meet in monthly debates on issues of contemporary political and social importance. It also holds an Anniversary Ball each spring to celebrate its graduating members and introduce guests to the Society. Although not a secret society, it does require its members to remain discreet about their membership and the activities of the Society.

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. [] The Linonian Society is also commemorated in Linonia Court, a small courtyard in Branford College.

Prominent members

Nathan Hale

Timothy Dwight IV

James Hillhouse

William Howard Taft

Chauncey Mitchell Depew

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