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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage-based membership organization of women[1] dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education, and patriotism. DAR chapters are involved in raising funds for local scholarships and educational awards, preserving historical properties and artifacts and promoting patriotism within their communities. DAR has chapters in all fifty of the U.S. states as well as in the District of Columbia. There are also DAR chapters in Australia, Austria,the Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United Kingdom. DAR's motto is "God, Home, and Country." Some state chapters of DAR date from as early as October 11, 1890, and the National Society of DAR was incorporated by Congressional charter in 1896.



The National Society of DAR is the final arbiter of the acceptability of all applications for membership. Membership in DAR is open to women who can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving United States independence. Acceptable ancestors include various related categories of known historical figures, including:

The DAR does not discriminate on race or religion. However, only women with a provable blood line to revolutionary ancestors are eligible for membership.[1]

Educational outreach


DAR schools

The DAR gives over $1 million annually to support six schools that provide for a variety of special needs.[2] Supported schools include: Kate Duncan Smith DAR School, Grant, Alabama; Tamassee DAR School, Tamassee, South Carolina; Crossnore School, Crossnore, North Carolina; Hillside School, Marlborough, Massachusetts; Hindman Settlement School, Hindman, Kentucky; and Berry College, Mount Berry, Georgia. In addition, the DAR provides $700,000 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.[3]

American History Essay Contest

Each year, the DAR conducts a national American history essay contest among students in grades 5 through 8. A topic is selected for use during the academic year, and 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, and chapter winners are judged regionally and nationally, with national winners receiving a monetary award.[4]


The DAR awards $150,000 per year in scholarships to high school graduate, music, law, nursing, and medical school students. Only two of the 20 scholarships offered are restricted to DAR members or their descendants.[5]

Literacy promotion

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.[6]

Marian Anderson controversy

Although the DAR now forbids discrimination in membership based on race or creed, some members held segregationist views when segregation was still public policy in much of the United States. In 1932, Washington, D.C. was a segregated southern city. The DAR in compliance with local law, adopted a rule excluding African-American artists from the stage at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., built in 1929 by the DAR, following protests over "mixed seating"—blacks and whites seated together at concerts of black artists[7] (the District of Columbia retained official segregation until after World War II). In 1936, Sol Hurok, manager of African-American contralto Marian Anderson since 1935, attempted to book Anderson at Constitution Hall. Owing to the "white performers only" policy, the booking was refused. Instead, Anderson performed at a Washington area black high school, and was also invited by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to perform for her and President Roosevelt. During this time, Anderson came under considerable pressure from the NAACP to not perform for segregated audiences.[8]

In 1939, Hurok, along with the NAACP and Howard University, petitioned the DAR to make an exception to the "white performers only" policy for a new booking, which was declined by the DAR. Hurok attempted to find a local high school for the performance, but the only suitable venue was an auditorium at a white high school. The school board, which was indirectly under the authority of the DAR President, refused to allow Anderson to perform there.[8] Eleanor Roosevelt immediately resigned her membership with the DAR.

The DAR later apologized and welcomed Anderson to Constitution Hall on a number of occasions after 1939, including a benefit concert for war relief in 1942.[9] However, they did not officially reverse their "whites only" policy until 1952.[10] Anderson chose Constitution Hall as the place where she would launch her farewell American tour in 1964.[11] On January 27, 2005, the DAR co-hosted the first day of issue dedication ceremony of the Marian Anderson commemorative stamp with the U.S. Postal Service and Anderson's family.[12]

First Known African American Member of DAR

In October, 1977, Karen Batchelor Farmer (now Karen Batchelor) of Detroit, Michigan was admitted as the first known African American member of DAR.[13] Batchelor started her genealogical research in 1976 as a young mother who wanted to commemorate the American bicentennial year in a way that had special meaning for her family. Within 26 months, she had traced her family history back to the American Revolution - a completely unexpected result.

Batchelor traced her ancestry to a Caucasian patriot, William Hood, who served in the colonial militia in Pennsylvania during the Revolution. Hood was under the command of Captain Hawkins Boone who valiantly rushed his unit to the relief of embattled colonists at Fort Freeland on July 21, 1779 after they were attacked by hundreds of Indians and British soldiers. [14]One hundred and eight settlers were killed or taken prisoner by the Indians during this battle. The destruction of Fort Freeland, a strategic point on the Pennsylvania frontier, made this a definitive battle of the Revolutionary War [15]

Although Batchelor traced her ancestry to a Revolutionary War soldier, she was unable to locate a DAR chapter in Michigan willing to invite her for membership. With the help of the late James Dent Walker, esteemed head of Genealogical Services at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., Batchelor was subsequently contacted by the Ezra Parker Chapter in Royal Oak, Michigan who invited her into their chapter and she officially became DAR member #623,128. In December, 1977, Batchelor's admission as the first known African American member of DAR sparked international interest after a feature story on page one of the New York Times [1] and an appearance on "Good Morning America" where she was interviewed by regular guest host, John Lindsay.

Since becoming the first known Black member of DAR, Batchelor co-founded the Fred Hart Williams Genealogical Society in 1979, an organization for African American family research in Detroit, Michigan. She continues to research her own family history and inspire others to do the same.

Ferguson controversy

In March 1984, a new controversy erupted when Lena Lorraine Santos Ferguson said she had been denied membership in a Washington, D.C. chapter of the DAR because she was black.

In a March 12, 1984 Washington Post story,[16] reporter Ronald Kessler quoted Ferguson's two white sponsors, Margaret M. Johnston and Elizabeth E. Thompson, as saying that although Ferguson met the lineage requirements and could trace her ancestry to Jonah Gay, who helped the Revolutionary War effort as a member of a Friendship, Maine, town committee, fellow DAR members told them that Ferguson was not wanted because she was black.

What caused a sensation was a quote from Sarah M. King, the president general of the DAR. King told Kessler that each of the DAR's more than 3,000 local chapters decides if it wishes to accept members. Asked if the DAR considers discrimination against blacks by its local chapters to be acceptable, she said, "If you give a dinner party, and someone insisted on coming and you didn't want them, what would you do?" King continued, "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 those comments ran in a page one story and ignited a firestorm, the D.C. City Council threatened to revoke the DAR's real estate tax exemption. As more publicity erupted, King acknowledged that Ferguson should have been admitted and said her application to join the DAR was handled "inappropriately".

Representing Ferguson free of charge, lawyers from the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson began working with King to develop positive ways of ensuring that blacks will not be discriminated against when applying for membership.

The DAR changed its bylaws to bar discrimination "on the basis of race or creed". King announced a resolution to recognize "the heroic contributions of black patriots in the American Revolution".

As a result of the Washington Post story, not only was Ferguson, a retired school secretary, admitted to the DAR, she became chairman and founder of the D.C. DAR Scholarship Committee. She died in March 2004 at the age of 75.

"I wanted to honor my mother and father as well as my black and white heritage," Ferguson told Kessler after being admitted. "And I want to encourage other black women to embrace their own rich history, because we're all Americans."

Notable DAR members

Historical members
Daughters of the American Revolution monument to the Battle of Fort Washington, marred by graffiti, located under the approach deck of the George Washington Bridge, New York City. Erected in 1910.
Living members

References in popular culture

Grant Wood used D.A.R. for the subject matter in his 1932 satirical painting Daughters of Revolution. Wood was dissatisfied with the elitism and class distinction that was dominant in the group in the 1930s.

Abbey Bartlet, the first lady in the fictional television drama The West Wing was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (4x18 - Privateers)

Fictional characters Emily Gilmore and Rory Gilmore of the Warner Brothers TV series Gilmore Girls are members of the D.A.R.

Fictional Character Lovey Howell of Gilligan's Island is a member of the D.A.R.

Fictional Character Margaret Houlihan of M*A*S*H (TV series) is blackballed by her mother-in-law from being a member of the D.A.R.

In the play The Glass Menagerie the character Amanda is asked by her daughter if she attended the D.A.R meeting.

In the musical The Music Man the lyrics to "Wells Fargo Wagon" included "The D.A.R. have sent a cannon for the courthouse square."

In Sinclair Lewis' 1935 novel It Can't Happen Here, the D.A.R is generally portrayed as "composed of females who spend one half of their waking hours boasting of being descended from the seditious American colonists of 1776, and the other and more ardent half in attacking all contemporaries who believe in precisely the principles for which those ancestors struggled."

At the end of Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America Volume One The Early Years, a member of the D.A.R. (played by June Foray) attempts to lodge a protest about the recording. Stan Freberg uncermoniously slams a door in her face.

In State Radio's song Riddle Me in London Town.

In Kurt Vonnegut's novel Cats Cradle. Mentioned as a granfallon in the writings of Bokonon

In the 60's film Splendor In The Grass the DAR is mentioned in the beginning of the film when Speaking of Warren Beatty sister (the character in the film).

See also

This list contains related U.S. organizations.

There are at least two related organizations in Canada that are similar to the DAR and SAR.

Further reading

  • Bailey, Diana L. American Treasure: The Enduring Spirit of the DAR. 2007. Walsworth Publishing Company.
  • Hunter, Ann Arnold. A Century of Service: The Story of the DAR. 1991, Washington, DC. National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
  • Strayer, Martha. The D.A.R.: An Informal History. 1958, Washington, DC. Public Affairs Press. (critically reviewed by Gilbert Steiner as covering personalities but not politics, Review, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, v.320, "Highway Safety and Traffic Control" (Nov. 1958), pp. 148-49.)

External links


  1. ^ a b c "Become a Member". Daughters of the American Revolution. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  2. ^ "DAR Supported Schools". DAR. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  3. ^ "Work of the Society: DAR Schools". DAR. Retrieved 2009-07-29. 
  4. ^ "American History Essay". DAR. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Scholarships". DAR. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  6. ^ "Literacy Promotion". DAR. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  7. ^ "Exhibit: Eleanor Roosevelt Letter". NARA. 1939-02-26. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  8. ^ a b "Marian Anderson at the MET: The 50th Anniversary, Early Career". The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc.. 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  9. ^ "D.A.R. NOW INVITES MARIAN ANDERSON; Singer, Barred From Capital Hall in 1939, Is Asked to Give First of War Aid Concerts". New York Times. 1942-09-30. pp. Obits. pp. 25. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  10. ^ Kennedy Center, "Biography of Marian Anderson".
  11. ^ "Marian Anderson at the MET: The 50th Anniversary, Late Life". The Metropolitan Opera Guild, Inc.. 2005. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  12. ^ United States Postal Service (2005-01-04). "Legendary Singer Marian Anderson Returns to Constitution Hall On U.S. Postage Stamp". Press release. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  13. ^ Karen Farmer; American Libraries 39 (February 1978), p. 70; Negro Almanac, pp. 73,1431; Who's Who among Africans, 14th ed., p. 405)
  14. ^ Northumberland County in the American Revolution, 1976, p. 156, 171.
  15. ^ Northumberland County in the American Revolution, 1976, p. 145.
  16. ^ Kessler, Ronald (1984-03-12). "Black Unable to Join Local DAR". Washington Post. pp. 1. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f "Dazzling Daughters, 1890-2004". Americana Collection exhibit. DAR. Retrieved 2006-10-08. 
  18. ^ Meet Our Deans

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Archives and Records Administration.


Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a patriotic lineage organization with motto "God, Home, and Country", founded in the 1890s.

Some of its publications are of considerable value for genealogy. For example, see DAR, 1981.

This page is a "stub" and could be improved by additions and other edits.

Facts about Daughters of the American RevolutionRDF feed

This article uses material from the "Daughters of the American Revolution" article on the Genealogy wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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