An excerpt from 40 Years of AZO, by Jerome Boonshoft and Robert Kirschner, July 1960 (Archaic Spellings retained; misspellings removed where possible- Seth Cohen, Webmaster)



 by Hershel Cohen, past Kappa Directorum; Frederic T. Berman, past Supreme Board Member; Samuel Block, past Supreme Sub-Directorum; Henry G. Seidman, past Supreme Directorum.

A brilliant chapter in the proud history of Alpha Zeta Omega began with the inception of Kappa at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, Maryland, in the year 1922.

The lustre of this auspicious beginning, although occasionally obscured by the shifting clouds of time and circumstance, has never dimmed; rather, it has through the years continued to shine as a welcome beacon in the world of Fraternities, suggesting a new course for the uninitiated, and illuminating the familiar course of the established Frater and pointing out to both a happy highway to fraternal adventure.

So it is without boasting, but with pardonable pride born of recognized accomplishment and with a sincere regard and respect for the factual, that this account of Kappa Chapter and its recently formed counterpart, the Maryland Alumni Chapter, is recorded in the history of the Alpha Zeta Omega Pharmaceutical Fraternity.

The spirit of this Kappa is exemplified by a few words of the Signare of the year 1924 (Blechman) who wrote opposite the first page of his journal: “To leave this page a blank would not be in harmony with the thoughts and feelings of every Kappa Frater of A. Z. 0. Their minds are flowing over with ideas and suggestions which can only lead to production of a stronger, better, and bigger A. Z. 0.

We would start this new year with enthusiasm which is sincere, for have we not been successful in our previous year of existence. It is the desire of every Frater in Kappa to work faithfully and earnestly in the upbuilding of our A. Z. O.; to be true to ourselves and our Fraters, for only then when there is no structure in our ranks, can we expect to succeed.

“Then, let us go on. Onward to that goal which we all look forward to; a greater, better, and stronger – A. Z. O.”

The original Philadelphia founders of A. Z. 0. contacted Sidney Marks in 1922 on the shores of Atlantic City concerning the formation of a Chapter in Baltimore. From this original meeting, a Chapter evolved with a charter being granted December 28, 1922. The following group of Baltimoreans were chosen as Charter Members: I. Ellis Berman – Samuel Block – Charles Flom – Isaac Flom – Samuel Higger – Sidney Marks – Robert Scher – and Morris Shenker. This group of eight men was officially inducted at the original Kappa Chapter at the home of Sidney Marks, who became Kappa’s first Directorum. Subsequent meetings were held at different members homes for approximately a year. During this crucial time, Iz Ostrum kept a pretty close watch and made several trips from Philadelphia to advise and help this new Chapter along the road of Fraternalism. Sid Marks became the 1923 -1924 Supreme Sub-Directorum.

By the beginning of its second year (1924-25) under the able direction of its second Directorum, Bob Scher, Kappa started meeting biweekly at various hotels. Sam Block and Directorum Scher and a few other Charter members made what they thought would be a raid on the School of Pharmacy at the University of Maryland to recruit members. However, they found the student body so receptive to the ideals and precepts of the cause they were espousing, that the pursuers became the pursued and were immediately outnumbered by prospective pledges. With this rapid growth of roster, the Chapter immediately assumed an active and important role at the school and made itself felt in all student activities.

Kappa, at this early age already had definite opinions as to how A. Z. 0. should operate. They were unalterably opposed to Alumni groups or chapters and this feeling persisted until modern times when a token surrender was effected by the formation of Maryland Alumni approximately 30 years later. One of these early dissenting opinions was voiced at a Philadelphia Supreme Meeting for a revision of the Constitution and By-Laws. This meeting was held December 24, 1924 at which time the Kappa Delegation presented 33 objections to 33 different provisions of the new By-Laws. It is interesting to note that the delegation succeeded in sustaining all 33 points under discussion. Kappa was now recognized as a true, noteworthy, and motivating force in formulating the future development of Alpha Zeta Omega.

The years 1925-26 and 1926-27 were nurtured carefully by Samuel Block. Under Sam’s guidance and leadership, Kappa Chapter grew and consolidated its gains and clarified its aims. Sam realized that the fate of Kappa depended on the caliber of men absorbed into its fold. Sam also served a year as Supreme Sub-Directorum. A glance at the roster of these vital years indicates that these men were superior in every way. Just to mention a few of these stalwarts, there were Al Kolman, Phil Kramer, Manny Shulman, Si Brager, Godfrey Kroopnick, Hap Freed, Ben Striner, Ben Schoenfeld, Aaron Paulson, Nat Cohen, Lou Rosenthal, Dave Roberts, Milt Smulson, Harry Greenberg, Nat Schiff, and many many more.

Sid Marks again assumed the Directorumship during the year 1927-28. Kappa was preparing itself to assume its role as host to the National Body at the first Baltimore Convention.

During the year 1928-29, Morris Shenker was Kappa’s Directorum. The 1928 Convention had been held at Baltimore and this event marked one of the first times that Supreme had convened outside the immediate Philadelphia area and gave the Fraternity at large its first real feeling of National existence. This fact broadened the scope and thinking of Supreme that it was truly a National Fraternity and that its plans must be made with greater thought to future development. With Kappa’s Paul Schokett named Azoan Editor, the Supreme members returned to their homes resolved to make A.Z.O. what it has become today. Sam Higger. Supreme Sub-Directorum, was Chairman at the Convention, which was held at the Hotel Southern.

Manny Shulman was Kappa’s Directorum for the years 1929-30, and then was elected Supreme Directorum the following year at Cleveland’s National Convention in 1930. He was the first Kappa member to represent the Chapter in National’s highest office. It is true that Sam Higger had been chosen Supreme Sub-Directorum way back in 1927, but the Supreme Directorumship served to make Kappa more aware of its potential and spurred them m to even greater accomplishments. During this same year, Al Kolman served as Supreme Deputy and was instrumental in the installation of Pi Chapter in Washington. Manny’s election to AZO’s Chair followed his leading Kappa to the 1930 Directorum’s Cup.

Another star was ascending during the year 1910-31 when Ben Striner became Kappa’s Directorum. The years were lean moneywise, but the Chapter’s spirit remained undimmed and Ben led them to another cup.

Goddy Kropnick became Kappa’s next Director-um and he was followed by Ben Schoenfeld. These were years of organizing and reorganizing again. Times were very bad now but Kappa Chapter refused to quit.

Again in 1934, Kappa hosted the Fraternity at National Convention in Baltimore. Max Helman was Directorum and Ben Striner chairmanned the Convention. Baltimore really did itself proud as a Convention City and set the pattern for glorious affairs and superior meetings. The Mayor of Baltimore was so impressed by the spirit of our Fraternity that the City donated $300.00 to make it even more memorable. On the boat trip down the Chesapeake Bay, the Fraters became so dubious of their safe return, that Baltimore was unable to get another Convention for the next 16 years until 1950. Both the 1934 and 1950 Conventions were held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel.

It was in 1934 that Supreme again dipped into Kappa’s abundance of potential leadership, and chose Ben Striner to lead them for that year as Supreme Directorum. Henry Seidman was the Directorum of Kappa and the combination of these two events made a bright light in an otherwise dreary depression era

A younger group was urged, and then forced, to take over the burden of leadership of Kappa Chapter. Morty Schnapper became Directorum in 1936. He was followed by Frank Paul, in 1937. Kappa members were now taking their places more and more in National Office (with Henry Seidman as 1934’s Azoan Editor) and official family and Kappa maintained its high standards of scholarship and brotherhood. The older men were busy establishing their stores and the Chapter was experiencing a period of decreased activity. These years, and the next few, under the leadership of Directorums Dave Mermelstein, Marty Weiner, and Dan (Buddy) Mendelsohn were active socially both locally as well as nationally at Conventions.

A quartette of Convention goers consisting of Hersh Cohen, Al Aaronson, Buddy Mendelsohn, and Frank Paul kept the spirit of Kappa glowing (even weakly) so that Fraternal activity did not stop. The associations formed through these years seem to be the ones which were more closely knit and they are the leaders of their respective chapters today. It seems that hard times impressed more indelibly on the minds of our Fraters that friendship and brotherhood could be our most motivating force and that together anything and everything could be accomplished. These were the general conditions nationally.

Through 1944,, the Kappa Chapter was practically dormant due to the loss of members to the services and the dedication of the store owners to their profession and the exacting problems of the times.

However, the year 1945 saw the resurgence of the true fraternal spirit in the reactivation of Kappa in the grand manner. The experienced Fraters issued the call and the response was electrifying. Fritz Berman, with Sam Block, Jack Parks, Mark Satou, and others started a drive to reclaim all the inactive brothers, and all those returning from the Services. With Jack Parks as Directorum, a quadrupling of Kappa’s Membership was accomplished in a remarkable short period of time.

Howard Paul was Directorum 1945-46 and great strides were taken. Our old perennial, Sam Block, took over the reins again in 1946-47 and Kappa moved into its first private quarters. Phil Kramer became Supreme Excheque and things were looking up with a vengeance. We outgrew these accommodations within a year and moved to still larger quarters. It was easily seen that this too, would soon be inadequate for our needs.

Fritz Berman became Directorum 1947-48 and Kappa a now assumed its full responsibility again at the Convention at Cleveland in 1947, requested the Convention at Baltimore in 1950. “Nifty in 50” became the slogan which was to lift Kappa to its greatest heights and set the pattern for all future A.Z.O. Conventions.

The years 1949 and 1950 under the guidance of Directorums Mark Satou and Nat Cohen were busy years in preparation for the Convention. Henry Seidman was Azoan Editor and Supreme Bellarum Fritz Berman and Milt Feldman were Co-chairmen of the organization, pomp, and pageantry which went to make a great Convention. A Newspaper was born and did yeoman work. The spirit was so high that there were at least 5 men or women available for any job. The Auxiliary was welded into a potent force and exists as a powerful factor to this day. just to name a few men like “Tiger” Krucoff, Max Ansell, is unfair because there are many more like “Shep” Robbins, Irv. Bergofsky and others who did yeoman work.

There should have been a tremendous letdown after this epic, but with Milt Feldman as Directorum 1950-51, Kappa remained extremely active with Henry Seidman as Supreme Sub Directorum of the East, and Fritz Berman as Board Member for our District. The “Kappa Bulletin” won the first inter-chapter newspaper cup in 1951.

The activity continued under Directorum Alex Mayer 1951-52, and even increased in tempo, if that is possible, under Shep Robbins as Directorum 1952-53. This was the time when we moved to our new home at Callow and Brookfield. This was an extremely large building and the work to make it livable was gigantic. Mark Satou practically gave up his happy home to accomplish same.

Max Ansell became Directorum 1953-54 and Henry Seidman became the third man from Kappa to become Supreme Directorum. While Fraters Seidman started a campaign to strengthen the internal structure of the organization of Supreme with more businesslike reforms, Ansell at Kappa lifted the Fraternity locally to a higher plane professionally in Baltimore. National figures like Fraters Swain, Kazin, etc. were brought to the Kappa House for professional Forums. During this year (Fall, 1953) the Eastern Regional was also held in Baltimore under the direction of Hersh Cohen. It took place at the Belvedere.

The next two years of 1954-55 under Hans Rosenbach, and 1955-56 under Hersh Cohen continued in the same vein and Kappa was riding high and mighty locally and nationally. Lou Rosenthal became Supreme Excheque and Kappa Chapter took in as many as 30 members at a time.

Irv Bergofsky took over the helm as Directorum 1956-57 as we were very busy trying to dispose of our House and attempting to find another with a more suitable location. An era was ending. The Fraters still in School were so large in numbers and their needs seemed to be different from the graduates, who did not seem to come as often to meetings as formerly. It was at this time that the Maryland Alumni Chapter was born and Kappa taken over by the undergraduates. Aaron Friedman took over as the first Directorum of the graduate group. We were very fortunate to find suitable quarters as we now possess, out in Pikesville, and the harmony is ideal between the two Chapters. Directorum Friedman served two terms 1957-1959, until he passed the gavel to Harold Mazer, 1959-60.

Meanwhile, Kappa was fortunate in obtaining excellent leadership. Both Harry Bass (1957-58 Directorum) and Larry Pozanek (1958-59 Directorum) were named undergraduates of the year, and Elliot Tokar (1959-60 leader) was a candidate.

At the 1959 Miami Convention, where Fraters Pozanek was National Undergraduate of the Year, Henry Seidman won the Supreme Meritorious Award, for a clean Baltimore sweep of the awards. Not only that, but the Achievement Medal winner, Dr. Robert L. Swain, was an Honorary Kappa member. He received his certificate in 1950. At the same Convention of 1959, Lou Rosenthal completed two magnificent years as Supreme Excheque.

For the future, Baltimore was preparing to host the 1960 Fall Regional, to be held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. Fraters Irv Bergofsky and Henry Seidman were to be its co-chairmen.