Inside this Issue
Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.
Learn about the interesting historical articles from this issue.
To Come in Our Next Issue
Preview the exciting stories to be featured in the next issue of American Spirit.
Volume 151, Number 3
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of Barbara Bentzin
Wyoming Daughter pilots state-of-the-art commercial aircraft
Barbara Bentzin is not only a world traveler, but she also facilitates that travel for thousands of others every year. As a commercial airline pilot for three decades on many different types of aircraft, Ms. Bentzin’s job has taken her to almost every continent.
Today she serves as one of four pilots on a Boeing 787 that flies from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia. She makes the 15-hour flight to Australia three times a month. Before her Los Angeles–Melbourne stint, she was based out of Newark, N.J., where she routinely flew passengers to destinations all over Europe. (Rome was her favorite.) Prior to that, she was based in Guam, flying to locations all over Asia.
To an outsider, her job sounds incredibly exciting, but Ms. Bentzin demurs at that characterization.
“The job is not exciting,” said the member of Fort Caspar DAR Chapter, Casper, Wyo. “But we also don’t want it to be exciting or dramatic. It’s a lot less hands-on flying and more about being a good systems manager.”
Before she flew the 787, she completed more than a month of intense training, which included computer-based training, small-group instruction and simulator training.
“Our simulator training is so realistic that it’s exactly what you’d experience in the airplane,” she said. “A lot of people don’t realize that the first time we fly a new aircraft is with passengers.”
Her journey to aviation began right before college when a career counselor suggested she look into becoming a pilot. She initially balked at the idea, but after taking a community introduction to flying course, she was hooked. To offset the expense of flight training, Ms. Bentzin moonlighted as a flight instructor to help make ends meet.
“You can aim for the stars and get there,” she said. “That’s what I try to convey to young people today. They can set lofty goals and achieve them.”
In addition to her regular job, Ms. Bentzin volunteers with her husband, Bob, in the Civil Air Patrol, the United States Air Force Auxiliary. He serves as an aerospace education officer. She flies a single-engine airplane on various missions, from search and rescue to aerial assessments of natural disaster areas. She also helps with educational outreach—in particular, getting more young women interested in aviation.
Only about 5 percent of U.S. pilots are women, and the percentage of women applying for pilot’s licenses since 1980 has remained relatively flat.
“Like many of the STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] jobs out there, there are reasons we don’t have more women involved,” she said. “While girls are very good at math when they’re younger, they generally don’t get that encouragement to continue once they get older. But I’m seeing that change more and more.”
When she’s not flying for work, she’s probably flying for fun. Ms. Bentzin and her husband love to travel, taking an average of four major vacations a year. In fact, they met on a scuba diving trip in Belize.
She also gives much of her spare time to the DAR, which she joined four years ago after years of assuming she wasn’t eligible. A neighbor helped her with the application, and in the process, Ms. Bentzin said she “got sucked into genealogy.”
Today, she serves as registrar for her chapter and enjoys helping others find the missing links in their family history. But her favorite work is with her chapter’s special projects, which have included sending care packages to deployed men, women and K-9s, as well as helping local veterans’ and women’s organizations.
A motorcycle enthusiast, Ms. Bentzin is also involved in Patriot Guard Riders, which attends the funeral or memorial services of fallen military heroes, first responders and honorably discharged veterans to show respect as well as shield the service from protesters. The group also provides flag lines at welcome home ceremonies and deployment send-offs.
“It has been a really rewarding experience,” she said. “It’s an honor to be there for these men and women.”
For more Today’s Daughters, please click here.
To nominate a Daughter for a future issue, e-mail a description to email@example.com.
Volume 151, Number 3, May/June 2017, Page 4
Photography by Alden O'Brien
Thomas Jefferson is a towering figure in our nation’s history, but the DAR Museum owns several of his objects that reflect the private man. His great-nieces, Olivia and Margaret Taylor, donated these mementos in 1977.
A pair of cotton stockings, machine-knitted with ombre blue and white yarn, has a partial stamp from an English manufacturer. This means they probably date after the end of the War of 1812 and its accompanying trade embargoes, when the United States could import things from England again. A finely pleated linen neck stock—a precursor to the cravat and necktie—is hard to date as Jefferson is known to have worn stocks long after most men of the period had switched to cravats.
The pair of slipper socks probably alleviated Jefferson’s frequent complaint that he suffered from the cold. “I have no doubt but that cold is the source of more sufferance to all animal nature than hunger, thirst, sickness & all the other pains of life & of death itself put together,” he wrote in a letter in 1801.
All of these garments bear a cross-stitched inventory number and the initials “T I” for Thomas Jefferson (I and J being orthographically the same at the time), confirming Jefferson as the wearer of these items.
Left to right: Slipper socks, a neck stock and one of Jefferson’s stockings. The other stocking is currently on display in the Yochim Gallery at DAR National Headquarters.
For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.
Saving Monticello by Marc Leepson
In 1912, the owner of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello was involved in a bitter fight over his possession of the iconic American home. Four years later, the DAR became an important part of the dramatic story.
Chocolate in the Colonial Era by Samantha Johnson
When the first European settlers made their way to the Colonies, they brought with them not only the tools and supplies they needed to make their way in the New World—they also brought a love for chocolate.
Juniperro Serra: The Father of California by Courtney Peter
The Mallorcan-born Franciscan priest left Spain for Mexico and ultimately Alta California, where the string of missions he founded traces the northward path of Spanish Colonial expansion.
Sound the Bell by Bill Hudgins
In 1792, 24 New York stockbrokers signed the Buttonwood Agreement, hoping it would bring order and integrity to investing. That agreement was the origin of the New York Stock Exchange, 225 years old this year.
Forging Independence by Lena Anthony
Though only in operation from 1646 to 1670, Massachusetts-based Saugus Iron Works was the birthplace of America’s iron and steel industry. It led the way for ironworks across the Colonies—furnaces that forged supplies for the Revolutionary cause.
Spirited Adventures: Stockbridge, Mass. by Emily McMackin
A centuries-old haven for hospitality, this Berkshires gem is known as Norman Rockwell’s home, but it also houses one of the nation’s oldest still-operating inns.
Visions of America: The DAR and the Penny Pines Project by James G. Lewis, Ph.D.
The North Carolina DAR recently rededicated a memorial forest it originally planted in celebration of the DAR’s Golden Jubilee.
Historic Homes: La Hacienda de los Martinez by Sharon McDonnell
An 1804 Spanish Colonial in Taos, N.M., this fortress-like hacienda became an important trade center for the Spanish Empire.
Our Patriots: Joshua Barney by Daniel Marrone, Ph.D.
The memory of this swashbuckling naval hero of the American Revolution and the War of 1812 was preserved with the help of a diligent daughter-in-law.
Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot
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To Come in July/August 2017:
America’s Sweet Tooth
The Benefits of Beehive Ovens
The Barbadians of the Carolinas
Pyes, Pies and Coffins: A History of American Pies