One of the earliest members of the Philomathean Society, Sarah Amelia Bardwell (Wright) was listed as a Charter member of the society in the 1927 "History of Phi Mu Fraternity." Recognized for her artistic abilities, Sarah was given the task of designing a badge for the Philomathean Society. The design she created was a large, flat quatrefoil about 2-1/2 inches wide with a symbolic heart and hand engraved at the center and the open motto "Les Soeurs Fideles" (the faithful sisters).
Born on July 10, 1836, in Columbus, Georgia, Sarah was 15 years old when she joined the Philomathean Society. Sarah was the daughter of Sarah Sophia Sherman and Ralph Newton Ransome Bardwell, a prominent Georgia architect. She attended Montpelier Episcopal School and then Mt. Holyoke before entering Wesleyan College in or before 1852. She graduated from Wesleyan in 1853 and, a few weeks later, married Henry Horace Taft. Taft died young, however, and Sarah later married the Reverend Arminius Wright. Sarah is described as a woman who loved her church and, in her later years, became a prominent leader in church activities. She was also a charter member of the Memorial Association, a Southern women's organization that originated in Columbus, Georgia.
Before her death, Sarah presented her own badge to the Philomatheans, who had it mounted on rose velvet and placed in a square gold frame. This badge hung in the Philomathean Hall at Wesleyan until sororities were banned in 1914. When the Hall was closed, the badge became a part of the Phi Mu archives, where it still resides today.