National Society Daughters of the American Revolution
|Abbreviation||DAR / NSDAR|
|Founded||October 11, 1890|
February 20, 1896 (incorporation)
|Founder||Mary Desha, Mary Smith Lockwood, Ellen Hardin Walworth, and Eugenia Washington|
|Focus||Historic preservation, education, patriotism|
|Headquarters||Washington, D.C., United States|
|DAR President General|
|Publication||American Spirit Magazine, Daughters Magazine|
|Affiliations||Children of the American Revolution|
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage-based membership service organization for women who are directly descended from a person involved in the United States' struggle for independence.  A non-profit group, they promote education and patriotism. The organization's membership is limited to direct lineal descendants of soldiers or others of the Revolutionary period who aided the cause of independence; applicants must have reached 18 years of age and are reviewed at the chapter level for admission. The DAR has over 185,000 current members  in the United States and other countries.  Its motto is "God, Home, and Country".   
In 1889 the centennial of President George Washington's inauguration was celebrated, and Americans looked for additional ways to recognize their past. Out of the renewed interest in United States history, numerous patriotic and preservation societies were founded. On July 13, 1890, after the Sons of the American Revolution refused to allow women to join their group, Mary Smith Lockwood published the story of patriot Hannah White Arnett in The Washington Post, asking, "Where will the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution place Hannah Arnett?"  On July 21 of that year, William O. McDowell, a great-grandson of Hannah White Arnett, published an article in The Washington Post offering to help form a society to be known as the Daughters of the American Revolution.  The first meeting of the society was held August 9, 1890. 
The first DAR chapter was organized on October 11, 1890,  at the Strathmore Arms, the home of Mary Smith Lockwood, one of the DAR's four co-founders. Other founders were Eugenia Washington, a great-grandniece of George Washington, Ellen Hardin Walworth, and Mary Desha. They had also held organizational meetings in August 1890.  Other attendees in October were Sons of the American Revolution members Registrar General Dr. George Brown Goode, Secretary General A. Howard Clark, William O. McDowell (SAR member #1), Wilson L. Gill (secretary at the inaugural meeting), and 18 other people.
The First Lady, Caroline Lavina Scott Harrison, wife of President Benjamin Harrison, lent her prestige to the founding of DAR, and served as its first President General. Having initiated a renovation of the White House, she was interested in historic preservation. She helped establish the goals of DAR, which was incorporated by congressional charter in 1896.
In this same period, such organizations as the Colonial Dames of America, the Mary Washington Memorial Society, Preservation of the Virginia Antiquities, United Daughters of the Confederacy, and Sons of Confederate Veterans were also founded. This was in addition to numerous fraternal and civic organizations flourishing in this period.
The DAR is structured into three Society levels: National Society, State Society, and Chapter. A State Society may be formed in any US State, the District of Columbia, or other countries that are home to at least one DAR Chapter. Chapters can be organized by a minimum of 12 members, or prospective members, who live in the same city or town. 
Each Society or Chapter is overseen by an executive board composed of a variety of officers. National level officers are: President General, First Vice President General, Chaplain General, Recording Secretary General, Corresponding Secretary General, Organizing Secretary General, Treasurer General, Registrar General, Historian General, Librarian General, Curator General, and Reporter General, to be designated as Executive Officers, and twenty-one Vice Presidents General. These officers are mirrored at the State and Chapter level, with a few changes: instead of a President General, States and Chapters have Regents, the twenty-one Vice Presidents General become one Second Vice Regent position, and the title of "General" is replaced by the title of either "State" or "Chapter". Example: First Vice President General becomes State First Vice Regent. 
The DAR chapters raised funds to initiate a number of historic preservation and patriotic endeavors. They began a practice of installing markers at the graves of Revolutionary War veterans to indicate their service, and adding small flags at their gravesites on Memorial Day.
Other activities included commissioning and installing monuments to battles and other sites related to the War. The DAR recognized women patriots' contributions as well as those of soldiers. For instance, they installed a monument at the site of a spring where Polly Hawkins Craig and other women got water to use against flaming arrows, in the defense of Bryan Station (present-day Lexington, Kentucky).
In addition to installing markers and monuments, DAR chapters have purchased, preserved, and operated historic houses and other sites associated with the war.
In the 19th century, the U.S. military did not have an affiliated group of nurses to treat servicemembers during wartime. At the onset of the Spanish–American War in 1898, the U.S. Army appointed Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee as Acting Assistant Surgeon to select educated and experienced nurses to work for the Army. As Vice President of the DAR (who also served as NSDAR's first Librarian General), Dr. McGee founded the DAR Hospital Corps to vet applicants for nursing positions. The DAR Hospital Corps certified 1,081 nurses for service during the Spanish–American War. DAR later funded pensions for many of these nurses who did not qualify for government pensions. Some of the DAR-certified nurses were trained by the American Red Cross, and many others came from religious orders such as the Sisters of Charity, Sisters of Mercy, and Sisters of the Holy Cross.   These nurses served the U.S. Army not only in the United States but also in Cuba and the Philippines during the war. They paved the way for the eventual establishment—with Dr. McGee's assistance—of the Army Nurse Corps in 1901. 
During the 1950s, statewide chapters of the DAR took an interest in reviewing school textbooks for their own standards of suitability. In Texas, the statewide "Committee on Investigations of Textbooks" issued a report in 1955 identifying 59 textbooks currently in Texas public schools that had "socialistic slant" or "other deficiencies" including references to "Soviet Russia" in the Encyclopedia Britannica.  In 1959, the Mississippi chapter's "National Defense Committee" undertook a state lobbying effort that secured an amendment to state law which added "lay" members to the committee reviewing school textbooks. A DAR board member was appointed to one of the seats. 
There are nearly 180,000 current members of the DAR in approximately 3,000 chapters across the United States and in several other countries. The organization describes itself as "one of the most inclusive genealogical societies"  in the United States, noting on its website that, "any woman 18 years or older — regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background — who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership".  The current DAR President General is Pamela Rouse Wright, the founder and owner of a jewelry and luxury goods business in Texas.
Membership in the DAR today is open to all women, regardless of race or religion, who can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving United States independence.  The National Society DAR is the final arbiter of the acceptability of the documentation of all applications for membership.
Qualifying participants in achieving independence include the following:
The DAR published a book, available online,  with the names of thousands of minority patriots, to enable family and historical research. Its online Genealogical Research System (GRS)  provides access to a database, and it is digitizing family Bibles to collect more information for research.
The organization has chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in the District of Columbia. DAR chapters have been founded in Australia, Austria, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The DAR is a governing organization within the Hereditary Society Community of the United States of America, and each DAR President General has served on HSC's board since its inception.
The DAR contributes more than $1 million annually to support five schools that provide for a variety of special student needs.  Supported schools:
In addition, the DAR provides $70,000 to $100,000 in scholarships and funds to American Indian youth at Chemawa Indian School, Salem, Oregon; Bacone College, Muskogee, Oklahoma; and the Indian Youth of America Summer Camp Program. 
DAR members participate in a variety of veteran and citizenship-oriented projects, including:
The DAR maintains a genealogical library at its headquarters in Washington, DC and provides guides for individuals doing family research. Its bookstore presents scholarship on United States and women's history.
Temporary exhibits in the galleries have featured women's arts and crafts, including items from the DAR's quilt and embroidery collections. Exhibit curators provide a social and historical context for girls' and women's arts in such exhibits, for instance, explaining practices of mourning reflected in certain kinds of embroidery samplers, as well as ideals expressed about the new republic. Permanent exhibits include American furniture, silver and furnishings.
In 1989, the DAR established the NSDAR Literacy Promotion Committee, which coordinates the efforts of DAR volunteers to promote child and adult literacy. Volunteers teach English, tutor reading, prepare students for GED examinations, raise funds for literacy programs, and participate in many other ways. 
Each year, the DAR conducts a national American history essay contest among students in grades 5 through 8. A different topic is selected each year. Essays are judged "for historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness." The contest is conducted locally by the DAR chapters. Chapter winners compete against each other by region and nationally; national winners receive a monetary award. 
The DAR awards $150,000 per year in scholarships to high school graduates, and music, law, nursing, and medical school students. Only two of the 20 scholarships offered are restricted to DAR members or their descendants. 
In 1932 the DAR adopted a rule excluding African-American musicians from performing at DAR Constitution Hall in response to complaints by some members against "mixed seating," as both black and white people were attracted to concerts of black artists. In 1939, they denied permission for Marian Anderson to perform a concert. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization. In her letter to the DAR, Roosevelt wrote, "I am in complete disagreement with the attitude taken in refusing Constitution Hall to a great artist... You had an opportunity to lead in an enlightened way and it seems to me that your organization has failed." As the controversy grew, the American press overwhelmingly backed Anderson's right to sing. The Philadelphia Tribune wrote, "A group of tottering old ladies, who don't know the difference between patriotism and putridism, have compelled the gracious First Lady to apologize for their national rudeness." The Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote, "In these days of racial intolerance so crudely expressed in the Third Reich, an action such as the D.A.R.'s ban ... seems all the more deplorable." At Eleanor Roosevelt's behest, President Roosevelt and Walter White, then-executive secretary of the NAACP, and Anderson's manager, impresario Sol Hurok arranged an open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a dignified and stirring rendition of "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)". The event attracted a crowd of more than 75,000 in addition to a national radio audience of millions. 
The DAR officially reversed its "white performers only" policy in 1952.  However, in 1957, the Colorado branch of the DAR refused to allow a Mexican-American child to participate in an Abraham Lincoln birthday event. 
In 1977, Karen Batchelor Farmer (now Karen Batchelor) of Detroit, Michigan, was admitted to the Ezra Parker Chapter (Royal Oak, MI) as the first known African-American member of the DAR.  Batchelor's admission as the first known African-American member of DAR sparked international interest after it was featured in a story on page one of The New York Times.  In 1984, Lena Lorraine Santos Ferguson, a retired school secretary, was denied membership in a Washington, D.C. chapter of the DAR because she was Black, according to a report by The Washington Post .  Ferguson met the lineage requirements and could trace her ancestry to Jonah Gay, a white man who fought in Maine.  When asked for comment, Sarah M. King, the President General of the DAR, told The Washington Post that the DAR's chapters have autonomy in determining members.  King went on to tell Washington Post reporter Ronald Kessler, "Being black is not the only reason why some people have not been accepted into chapters. There are other reasons: divorce, spite, neighbors' dislike. I would say being black is very far down the line....There are a lot of people who are troublemakers. You wouldn't want them in there because they could cause some problems."  After King's comments were reported in a page one story, outrage erupted, and the D.C. City Council threatened to revoke the DAR's real estate tax exemption. King quickly corrected her error, saying that Ferguson should have been admitted, and that her application had been handled "inappropriately". DAR changed its bylaws to bar discrimination "on the basis of race or creed." In addition, King announced a resolution to recognize "the heroic contributions of black patriots in the American Revolution." 
Since the mid-1980s, the DAR has supported a project to identify African-Americans, Native Americans, and individuals of mixed race who were patriots of the American Revolution, expanding their recognition beyond soldiers.  In 2008, DAR published Forgotten Patriots: African-American and American Indian Patriots in the Revolutionary War.   In 2007, the DAR posthumously honored one of Thomas Jefferson's slaves, Mary Hemings Bell, as a "Patriot of the Revolution." Because of Hemings Bell's declaration by the DAR to be a Patriot, all of her female descendants qualify for membership in the DAR.  Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly, in 2019, became the first African-American elected to the DAR National Board of Management when she was installed as New York State Regent in June. 
The presidents general of the society have been:  
|Number||President General||Years in office||State of membership|
|1||Caroline Scott Harrison , (Mrs. Benjamin)||1890–1892, Died in office||Indiana|
|1.5||Mary Virginia Ellet Cabell , (Mrs. William D.)||1892–1893, Vice President Presiding||Virginia|
|2||Letitia Green Stevenson , (Mrs. Adlai E.)||1893–1895||Illinois|
|3||Mary Parke McFerson Foster , (Mrs. John W.)||1895–1896||Indiana|
|4||Letitia Green Stevenson , (Mrs. Adlai E.)||1896–1898||Illinois|
|5||Mary Margaretta Fryer Manning , (Mrs. Daniel)||1898–1899, & 1899–1901||New York|
|6||Cornelia Cole Fairbanks , (Mrs. Charles W.)||1901–1903, & 1903–1905||Indiana|
|7||Emily Nelson Ritchie McLean , (Mrs. Donald)||1905–1907, & 1907–1909||New York|
|8||Julia Green Scott , (Mrs. Matthew T.)||1909–1911, & 1911–1913||Illinois|
|9||Daisy Allen Story , (Mrs. William Cumming)||1913–1915, & 1915–1917||New York|
|10||Sarah Elizabeth Mitchell Guernsey , (Mrs. George Thatcher)||1917–1920||Kansas|
|11||Anne Belle Rogers Minor , (Mrs. George Maynard)||1920–1923||Connecticut|
|12||Lora Haines Cook , (Mrs. Anthony Wayne)||1923–1926||Pennsylvania|
|13||Grace Lincoln Brosseau , (Mrs. Hall)||1926–1929||Connecticut|
|14||Edith Erwin Hobart , (Mrs. Lowell Fletcher)||1929–1932||Ohio|
|15||Edith Scott Magna , (Mrs. Russell William)||1932–1935||Massachusetts|
|16||Florence Hague Becker , (Mrs. William A.)||1935–1938||New Jersey|
|17||Sarah Corbin Robert , (Mrs. Henry Martyn Jr.)||1938–1941||Maryland|
|18||Helena R. Pouch , (Mrs. William H.)||1941–1944||New York|
|19||May Erwin Talmadge , (Mrs. Julius Young)||1944–1947||Georgia|
|20||Estella A. O'Byrne , (Mrs. Roscoe C.)||1947–1950||Indiana|
|21||Marguerite Courtright Patton , (Mrs. James B.)||1950–1953||Ohio|
|22||Gertrude Sprague Carraway||1953–1956||North Carolina|
|23||Allene Wilson Groves , (Mrs. Frederic A.)||1956–1959||Missouri|
|24||Doris Pike White,  (Mrs. Ashmead)||1959–1962||Maine|
|25||Marion Moncure Duncan , (Mrs. Robert V. H.)||1962–1965||Virginia|
|26||Adele Woodhouse Erb Sullivan , (Mrs. William Henry Jr.)||1965–1968||New York|
|27||Betty Newkirk Seimes , (Mrs. Erwin Frees)||1968–1971||Delaware|
|28||Eleanor Washington Spicer , (Mrs. Donald)||1971–1974||California|
|29||Sara Roddis Jones , (Mrs. Henry Stewart)||1974–1975||Wisconsin|
|30||Jane Farwell Smith , (Mrs. Wakelee Rawson)||1975–1977||Illinois|
|31||Jeannette Osborn Baylies , (Mrs. George Upham)||1977–1980||New York|
|32||Patricia Walton Shelby , (Mrs. Richard Denny)||1980–1983||Mississippi|
|33||Sarah McKelley King , (Mrs. Walter Hughey)||1983–1986||Tennessee|
|34||Ann Davison Duffie Fleck , (Mrs. Raymond Franklin)||1986–1989||Massachusetts|
|35||Marie Hirst Yochim , (Mrs. Eldred Martin)||1989–1992||Virginia|
|36||Wayne Garrison Blair , (Mrs. Donald Shattuck)||1992–1995||Ohio|
|37||Dorla Eaton Kemper , (Mrs. Charles Keil)||1995–1998||California|
|38||Georgane Ferguson Love (Easley) , (Mrs. Dale Kelly)||1998–2001||Mississippi|
|39||Linda Tinker Watkins*||2001–2004||Tennessee|
|40||Presley Merritt Wagoner||2004–2007||West Virginia|
|41||Linda Gist Calvin||2007–2010||California|
|42||Merry Ann T. Wright||2010–2013||New York|
|43||Lynn Forney Young||2013–2016||Texas|
|44||Ann Turner Dillon||2016–2019||Colorado|
|45||Denise Doring VanBuren||2019–2022||New York|
|46||Pamela Rouse Wright||2022–2025||Texas|
*Note: During the Watkins administration, the President General and other National Officers began to be referred to by their own first names, rather than their husbands'.
A memorial to the Daughters of the American Revolution's four founders, at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on April 17, 1929. It was sculpted by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a DAR member.  
The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is an American congressionally chartered organization, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky. A non-profit corporation, it has described its purpose as maintaining and extending "the institutions of American freedom, an appreciation for true patriotism, a respect for our national symbols, the value of American citizenship, [and] the unifying force of 'e pluribus unum' that has created, from the people of many nations, one nation and one people."
The Colonial Dames of America (CDA) is an American organization composed of women who are descended from an ancestor who lived in British America from 1607 to 1775, and was of service to the colonies by either holding public office, being in the military, or serving the Colonies in some other "eligible" way. The CDA is listed as an approved lineage society with the Hereditary Society Community of the United States of America.
The National Society Children of the American Revolution (NSCAR) is a youth organization that was founded on April 5, 1895, by Harriett Lothrop. The idea was proposed on February 22, 1895, at the Fourth Continental Congress of the National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The organization was promptly chartered by the United States Congress, and NSCAR, is now the nation's oldest and largest, patriotic youth organization. NSCAR offers membership to anyone under the age of 22 who is lineally descended from someone who served in the Continental Army or gave material aid to the cause of freedom in the American Revolution. There are three parent organizations: DAR, Sons of the American Revolution, and Sons of the Revolution.
Cornelia "Nellie" Cole Fairbanks was the wife of Charles W. Fairbanks, the 26th vice president of the United States. During her husband's tenure she held the unofficial position of the second lady of the United States from 1905 to 1909. She was at the forefront of the women's suffrage movement and considered a pathfinder to politics for American women in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Helena Rebecca Hellwig Pouch was an American female tennis player and served as the 18th President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Mary Eleanor Brackenridge was one of three women on the first board of regents at Texas Woman's University, the first women in the state of Texas to sit on a governing board of any university. She was active in women's clubs and was a co-founder of the Woman's Club of San Antonio. Brackenridge was a leader in Texas suffrage organizations and helped get the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution passed. She was the first woman in San Antonio to register to vote. Although it's the Brackenridge name in Texas that is associated with wealth, philanthropy and achievement, Brackenridge qualified as a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution through her mother's lineage. Miss Brackenridge was a founding member and the first Regent of the oldest DAR chapter in San Antonio, the San Antonio de Bexar Chapter, established on December 11, 1902.
Eugenia Scholay Washington was an American historian, civil servant, and a founder of the lineage societies, Daughters of the American Revolution and Daughters of the Founders and Patriots of America.
Catharine H. T. Avery was an American author, editor, and educator of the long nineteenth century. Of Revolutionary ancestry and hailing from Michigan, she was founder and regent of the Western Reserve Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), of Cleveland, Ohio; Vice-President General of its National Society; and editor of the National Society's official organ, the American Monthly. She also served two years as a member of the Cleveland School Board, being the first woman in Ohio chosen to an elective office.
Marion Howard Brazier was an American journalist, editor, author, and clubwoman of Boston. She was the author of: Perpetrations, a Book of Humor, and Cheer, Philosophy and Comfort.
Denise Doring VanBuren was elected the 45th President General of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution in June 2019, a three-year term.
Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly was an African-American genealogist who traced her American lineage to the April 5, 1614 union of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. She was also a member of the Jamestowne Society. In 2019 she became the New York State Regent and a member of the National Board of Management, highest ranking woman of color in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR), since its founding in 1890. She was a pioneer of African-American genealogy. Born and raised in Brooklyn, she was a local Brooklyn historian and member of the Society of Old Brooklynites (SOB), one of the borough's oldest civic organizations. She was the author of books on Bedford-Stuyvesant as well as the Crown Heights and Weeksville sections of Brooklyn, and family genealogy books tracing her family's American roots.
Florence Anderson Clark was an American author, newspaper editor, librarian, and university administrator. She served for 14 years as assistant librarian at the University of Texas (UT), and in honor for her service to the university, she was first woman to have her portrait hung in the university's Main Tower. Clark was affiliated with several organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R), Colonial Dames of America, and United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Mary Parke Foster was the 3rd President General of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and wife of John W. Foster, U.S. Secretary of State under President Benjamin Harrison.
Lynn Forney Young was the 43rd President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a member of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission.
Sarah Emily Corbin Robert served as the 17th President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution and was a noted authority on parliamentary procedure.
Adele Woodhouse Erb Sullivan served as the 26th President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution and noted for her 1968 visit to Vietnam with General William C. Westmoreland.
Ida Soule Kuhn was a social and political activist from Hoquiam, Washington. Kuhn was an honorary member of and occupied managerial positions in a number of famous American social organizations. An activist and speaker, she publicly expressed her pro-American political beliefs during World Wars I and II.
Anna Morris Holstein was an American organizational leader, civil war nurse, and author. From 1862 until the close of the war, Holstein was engaged in the hospital service, and after the Battle of Gettysburg, she was matron-in-chief of a hospital in which 3,000 seriously wounded men were looked after. She was the founder and first regent of the Centennial and Memorial Association of Valley Forge, and a regent of the Valley Forge Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). It was largely through her influence that George Washington's headquarters at Valley Forge were purchased, restored and made accessible to the people. Her publications included Three years in field hospitals of the Army of the Potomac (1867), Swedish Holsteins in America from 1644 to 1892 (1892), and Valley Forge : Winter of 177-78 The Darkest Period of the Revolution.
Fanny E. Minot was an American public worker, social reformer, and clubwoman. She served as president the Woman's Relief Corps (W.R.C.) of Concord, New Hampshire, and also New Hampshire state president and national president of the same. She was also a member and regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.). Minot was at the front in many other lines of public service, including charitable, educational, church and social work. She manifested a strong interest in all those movements of the 20th-century which brought women into prominence.
Mary Hilliard Hinton was an American painter, historian, clubwoman, and anti-suffragist. She was a leader in North Carolina's anti-suffragist movement and an outspoken white supremacist, co-founding and running North Carolina's branches of the States Rights Defense League and the Southern Rejection League. A prominent clubwoman, Hinton was active in the Daughters of the American Revolution, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Colonial Dames of America, and the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America; serving as a booklet editor, artist, registrar, and state regent for the North Carolina Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Archives and Records Administration .