The Daughters of the American Revolution, comprised of women in the United States and around the world who descend from patriots of the nation’s fight for independence, was founded in Washington, D.C. on this day in history, Oct. 11, 1890.
Its motto is “God, Home and Country.”
The DAR “is a nonprofit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America’s future through better education for children,” the group proclaims on its website.
The organization counts as its most inspirational historical figure Hannah White Arnett of what is now Elizabeth, N.J.
The American patriot successfully shamed a group of local men intent on bowing to the crown when Lord Cornwallis and his Redcoats occupied the city in 1776 and demanded of its citizens fealty to Great Britain.
Women with the Daughters of the American Revolution say a prayer during the dedication ceremony of the Wren-Darne Cemetery on July 14, 2018, in Falls Church, Virginia.
(Jason Andrew for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
“Arnett stormed into the room and accused the men of being cowards and traitors,” the website of New Jersey Women’s History notes.
“Arnett even threatened to leave her husband if he deserted the Revolutionary cause. Finally, the men refused the offer made to them by Great Britain and remained committed to the fight for American independence.”
The Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters occupies an entire city block in Washington, D.C. — a testament to the durability of its foundation and mission.
The group claims it’s the world’s largest collection of buildings of its kind owned and maintained exclusively by women.
The compound boasts a prized collection of industrial decorative arts, the largest concert hall in the nation’s capital and a free public library that includes one of the world’s foremost collections of genealogical records.
Episode 309 of "Who Do You Think You Are?" featuring actor Rob Lowe. Pictured at Constitution Hall of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C.
(Photo by: Nick Wass/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
“The DAR Library collection contains over 225,000 books, 10,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items, and special collections of African American, Native American, and women’s history, genealogy and culture,” the organization reports.
The Daughters of the American Revolution headquarters occupies an entire city block in Washington, D.C.
“Nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country.”
The Daughters of the American Revolution was created in the wake of the founding of the Sons of the American Revolution in 1889.
“The following year the Sons voted to exclude women from the group, galvanizing a force for the creation of new women’s organization,” the DAR reports of its origin story.
Performers pay tribute to Smokey Robinson, recipient of the 2016 Gershwin Award for Popular Song, at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 16, 2016. It is the largest concert venue in Washington, D.C.
(Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Eighteen woman and four supporters from the Sons of American Liberty gathered at the DAR’s first official meeting on Oct. 11, 1890, at Strathmore Arms, the home of Mary S. Lockwood.
She is credited as one of the DAR’s four co-founders, along with Mary Desha, Ellen Hardin Walworth and Eugenia Washington.
The Daughters of the American Revolution has 190,000 members in all 50 states and a dozen foreign countries.
At least one of them was inspired by walking in the footsteps of her heroic ancestors who risked life, limb, treasure and honor to cleave an independent nation from the crest of the monarchical British Empire.
“DAR co-founder Ellen Hardin Walworth’s first visit to Saratoga Battlefield, around 1851, was powerfully connective,” writes the National Park Service.
“Walking the same ground her great-grandfather, Colonel John Hardin, fought on during the Battles of Saratoga (1777), she called the tour ‘a marked event in [her] young life.’ The visit fueled her lifelong dedication to preserving the site.”
Battle of Saratoga, the British General John Burgoyne surrendering to the American General, Horatio Gates, Oct. 17, 1777; painting from Yale University circa 1822-32.
(Photo by Art Images via Getty Images)
The Continental Army’s stunning victory at Saratoga stands as one of the great turning points in the dramatic arc of the national story.
The win encouraged France to believe the rebellion had a chance at succeeding. King Louis XVI then threw his military support behind the cause.
Walworth also helped lead efforts to preserve George Washington’s Mount Vernon.
The Daughters of the American Revolution boasts 190,000 members across 3,000 chapters in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and about a dozen foreign countries, including Australia, Germany and Japan.
“God, Home and Country” — Daughters of the American Revolution motto
“DAR members volunteer millions of service hours annually in their local communities including supporting active duty military personnel and assisting veteran patients, awarding thousands of dollars in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and supporting schools for underserved children with annual donations exceeding $1 million,” the group says of its activities.
More than 1 million women have been members in the 132 years since the group’s founding.
Membership, the DAR says, is open to “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.”