Tau Psi Omega. Collection of Tau Psi Omega Fraternity, 1915-1951. GACA Collection 127. 3 folders.
The Turbescon collection consists of research notes and correspondence concerning this student “secret society.” Turbescon, popularly known as the T.C.O.S. or the Reds, was a male fraternal organization active during the late nineteen-teens at Gustavus Adolphus College. Research material appears to have been compiled by college authorities seeking to learn more about T.C.O.S. and its members. Later correspondence concerns the group’s founding and consists of incoming correspondence from former members to Professor Conrad Peterson. It is believed Peterson used these materials for his 1952 publication Remember Thy Past. Tau Psi Omega was formed after fraternities were reinstated on campus in 1920.
According to Doniver Lund’s A Centennial History, Turbescon “was begun during [Peter August] Mattson’s administration and was popularly known either as T.C.O.S. or the Reds. The name T.C.O.S. was coined from the nicknames of two of its founders (Buster and Count), and ‘was originated with the idea of creating some mystery.’” Fraternities had been banned by the college during 1910. When fraternal organizations were reinstituted during 1920, Turbescon members divided into Tau Psi Omega and Nu Upsilon Gamma, popularly known as the Reds and the Grays.