Lambda Chi Alpha History in the Making: The Cross and Crescent
Excerpts taken from “Our Story: A History of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity”
The first publication to bear the title Cross & Crescent was published in January, 1915, one year after the establishment of The Purple, Green and Gold magazine. While The Purple, Green and Gold was our public magazine, the Cross & Crescent was dubbed “The Official Esoteric Periodical” and was reserved for brothers in good standing. Though considered a secret magazine the Cross & Crescent rarely mentioned anything about our Ritual or even sensitive internal business. It would be more accurate to label the magazine a “private” publication. The earliest editions of the Cross & Crescent were small, plain, and lacked decoration.
The magazine contained short listings of chapter activities, honors, and awards bestowed on members and zetas, births, marriages, job opportunities, statistics, committee reports, and minutes of various conferences. Each issue also contained a page or two advertising the many products Cole sold on behalf of the Fraternity.
A few issues contained some interesting, unusual, and fun tidbits of information and news. For example, all of the early issues used the terms Lam Kai or Lambda Kai in reference to our members. This was part of a concerted effort by our national leadership to brand our members with this nickname.
Obviously, this strategy did not work but the leadership persisted in its quest for Lam Kai for many
In 1932, the Cross & Crescent changed its title to The Delta Pi in January and the Purple, Green and
Gold became the Cross & Crescent in February.
Linn Cessna Lightner, a.k.a. LCL in the distinctive editor’s pencil, for 50 years the editor of Lambda Chi
Alpha’s Cross & Crescent magazine, was responsible for three-quarters of its 22,768 pages published prior to the diamond jubilee year. As Louis Robbins (Brown), an early co-worker with Jack Mason in publications and ritual, noted some years ago, Linn served as captain and pilot—and often as mate, boatswain, cook, carpenter, and crew — on the publications ship.
Lightner began his service to Lambda Chi Alpha publications with the November 1918 issue of the Cross & Crescent as associate editor under Bruce McIntosh. He was primarily responsible for news of the interfraternity world. He continued the column begun by Jack Mason, When Greek Meets Greek:
Utterances of Our Contemporary Scribes and Sages. Linn added Among the Greeks: Notes of Their Trials and Triumphs. He was known to the interfraternity world as the “one man who keeps himself informed as to charter grants and withdrawals among the general college fraternities” [Caduceus of Kappa Sigma] and over the years received requests from groups to write articles on expansion.
When Bruce McIntosh became administrative secretary in 1920, Linn Lightner succeeded him as editor. The November 1920 issue was the first under his direction.
Linn was unusual among fraternity editors as he developed the magazine from start to finish in “leisure time”; the other editors were either full-time fraternity employees or had a managing editor to handle the printing details.
Linn became the 10th president of the College Fraternity Editors Association, serving from 1936 to 1937. During the half-century of his editorship, virtually nothing that happened in Lambda Chi Alpha escaped mention in the open magazine . . . except the devotion and works of Linn Lightner, which were grossly under-represented.
A common reaction to the August 1970 Cross & Crescent, the last issue edited by him, was why more information about Linn Lightner was not included. The editorial response of his successor, Jim Brasher (Memphis State), was simple, “Linn was too modest to include any.” The only feature permitted during his tenure was when he received the sterling silver bowl from the College Fraternity Editors Association (CFEA) for 25 years of service. Linn Lightner always chose to be
known by his work, not by ballyhoo.