James Boyd, Phi, 1882, Phi Alpha 1921-1922
James Boyd, Phi, 1882, was a successful candle manufacturer in
New York City. As an undergraduate, Boyd was vice president of his class and grand marshal at commencement.
Brother Boyd showed enormous devotion to both his Phi chapter and the international fraternity for more than sixty years. In 1922, he was one of the stalwarts behind the Zeta Psi Realty Company that bought, financed and equipped the new Zeta Psi Club and housed the fraternity’s Central Office at 31 East 39th Street in New York.
On the new University Heights campus of NYU, he helped establish the Phi chapter house. Brother Boyd recounted that when he was an undergraduate “the chapter had a room, lit by only a kerosene lamp on Grand Street, which served as a crude meeting place.” Brother Boyd is pictured in front the chapter house below.
Brother Boyd had an extensive collection of New York City etchings which he donated
to the New York Historical Society. The more than 100 etchings are drawn by a number
of artists between 1861-1940. Among the etchings are Jenny Lind’s home on
Washington Square, the Empire State Building and the Zeta Psi house at NYU (drawn
by Edith Nankivell in 1925).
Brother Boyd was also the only Zete identified who served as Alpha Phi Alpha twice in
1886 and 1920. He died on February 13, 1947 just a few months before Zeta Psi celebrated its Centennial.