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.
By Lena Anthony
Photographs courtesy of Taylor Harkins and Sarah Oxford
Volume 149, Number 3, May/June 2015, Page 4-5
Exploring 50 By 30
Taylor Harkins always considered herself an avid traveler. She traveled extensively with her family as a child, and in college, she participated in Semester at Sea, a study-abroad program run by the University of Virginia. Her ship docked in locations around the world, from Morocco to Mauritius. But in 2013, when a friend sent her an online quiz about how many states she had visited, she was surprised by the results. “Eighteen states,” says the member of Presidio Chapter, San Francisco. “I had actually been to more countries, and that was really surprising since I love America.”
She decided to increase her state count by visiting the other 32 by the time she turned 30. With about six years to go, she picked up the phone, called a friend in Michigan (a state she hadn’t been to) and asked if she could visit that weekend.
At press time, Ms. Harkins had increased her state count to 30, with trips to five more states planned for the remainder of the year. “I’m going to New Mexico with my mom, and then taking a father-daughter road trip through Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska before attending a family wedding in Kansas,” says Ms. Harkins, who now lives in Newport Beach, Calif.
For the first year or so, she was limited to weekend trips because of a full-time job that offered only so much vacation time. But since starting her own public relations business last fall, her travel schedule has become more flexible. Still, meticulous pre-trip planning helps Ms. Harkins stretch her travel dollars as far as possible and make the most of each trip. She searches online for deals on hotels and rental cars and explores social media sites like Instagram for ideas on what to do. Once she arrives in a new city, she often turns to natives for advice.
“Locals love telling you what to see and where to eat,” she says. “They get so excited to find out it’s my first time in a state.”
While she prefers to travel with family or friends, or to visit someone, she has explored a few states solo. Last summer she traveled by herself to Georgia and South Carolina before meeting up with friends at a wedding in North Carolina.
On that trip, she ate her first peach ever at a roadside stand and became awestruck while on Tybee Island, Ga., on Memorial Day.
“There was a beautiful lighthouse that I watched get draped with a huge American flag,” she says. “It gave me chills and made me appreciate what our Founding Fathers fought for and were so passionate about this country. Now I have the opportunity and freedom to see and experience it. I know that’s an amazing privilege.”
Ms. Harkins says being a DAR member has given her a unique perspective on her state quest. The goal is not only to experience new sights, foods and people, but also to reflect on each state’s differences and how they all work together to create the American landscape.
“Every trip wows me,” she says. “The fact that we embrace so many different ways of life in America makes me so proud to be a part of it.”
Her travels also remind her of DAR’s reach. “It’s such a neat connector between women who share the same love of country.”
Empowering Women Abroad
When Sarah Oxford decided to study abroad in Cameroon in 2004, she was looking forward to learning a new language and going to a part of the world that would be difficult to visit on her own. The experience delivered, and then some. What Ms. Oxford discovered was a multifaceted country with more than 250 ethnic groups and a diverse landscape of deserts, rolling hills, rainforests and volcanoes.
“It’s a captivating place,” says the member of Ponte Vedra Chapter, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. “The cultures are very family- and community-focused, and I don’t remember a day passing where I didn’t roll with laughter or dance. I’d never seen a place more fascinating, nor had I ever felt more welcomed. But in all its beauty, Cameroon faces serious challenges, such as a poor health system, rampant corruption and bordering countries in conflict.”
Eager to do her part, Ms. Oxford returned to the Central African nation in 2007, this time as a volunteer with Breaking Ground (www.breaking-ground.org), a grassroots organization that provides funding and other resources to motivated Cameroonian communities with specific goals.
“What makes Breaking Ground distinctive is that each project is radically different, and our timescale depends on the community, not the donor,” she says. “The common thread among projects is that it is the community’s idea, and they must own it.”
In 2007, Ms. Oxford launched the group’s women’s entrepreneurial program. It has provided business skills training to 470 Cameroonian women, and 136 female entrepreneurs have received start-up or expansion funding. She also founded the Breaking Ground Football program, which empowers young girls through soccer.
“The overarching goal of a soccer program like this would be to break the poverty cycle, but that’s pretty far-fetched,” she says. “The participants in these programs typically have limited educational access, and probably nutritional and financial stress. These programs offer a support network, a chance to play in a safe environment, and other potential benefits such as educational scholarships, travel and meals.”
The soccer program also helped inspire Ms. Oxford’s area of focus for her graduate studies, first as a Rotary World Peace Fellow at the University of Bradford, in England, and now as she pursues her doctorate at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. Her dissertation will examine the impact of youth soccer programs on gender relations in developing nations.
“I’ve traveled to more than 30 countries, and one of the first things I do in each location is put on my cleats and play,” she says. “It helps me understand gender relations within that culture. In my experience, was I glorified? Shunned? Denied? Allowed to play, but never passed the ball? Invited to dinner by teammates? It’s eye-opening.”
A diplomatic world traveler, Ms. Oxford is reluctant to name the favorite place she’s visited. “I’ve come to a point where I think everywhere is basically fantastic,” she says. “There is something that can be appreciated in all places. The only requirement is that I can get in a good laugh. Home is where someone laughs at my corny jokes.”
Or somewhere Ms. Oxford can enjoy the outdoors. Last year, she spent 150 days in her tent. “I’m an avid outdoorswoman,” she says. “I lean toward rock climbing, surfing and snowboarding, but I’m open to other ideas. As long as nature is involved and I’m reminded of how little and unimportant I am in the world, I’m keen.”
As for her DAR membership, she joined, in part, in a nod to her mother. “DAR is extremely important to my mom,” she explains. “Since I live abroad, I joined to show I’m on her team.”
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Photography courtesy of Helga Photo Studio
Volume 149, Number 3, May/June 2015, Page 6
Parenting advice books of the 18th and 19th century agreed that “the mother’s milk, or that of a healthy nurse, is unquestionably the best food for an infant.” Still, some mothers supplemented or substituted with “dry-nursing”—feeding with a milk and water mixture thickened with a little bread, and often combined with sugar, spices and wine. (Experts frowned on wine and spices, but some condoned sugar.)
A glass bottle fitted with a silver nipple and tube like this one, made or sold by Edward Rockwell in New York City in 1807, might be used to dry-nurse an infant. The nipple would be covered with a bit of leather or cloth to protect the child’s mouth.
The difficult-to-clean apparatus was a breeding ground for germs, which caused many infant illnesses and deaths. Long before knowledge of germs was widespread, it was well known that dry-nursed children survived less frequently than did wet-nursed ones.
For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.
Planning for the Future of a Historic Gathering Place by Courtney Peter
Completed in 1929, Constitution Hall became not only an annual gathering place for DAR members, but also a cultural hub for the nation’s capital city.
Visions of America: A Revolutionary Travelogue by Maureen Taylor
In 1848, historian and artist Benson Lossing set out on an 8,000-mile journey through all 13 Colonies to preserve the memory of disappearing sites and stories of the Revolution
The Father of the American Factory System by Lena Anthony
In 1789, 21-year-old Englishman Samuel Slater emigrated to the United States, where he introduced a new kind of factory system that helped ease America’s transition from an agricultural society to an industrial one.
The Revolution Goes West by Bill Hudgins
The only Revolutionary War battle to occur in Arkansas, Colbert’s Raid was part of a series of skirmishes that Great Britain hoped would disrupt trade along the Spanish-controlled Mississippi River.
Spirited Adventures: Pensacola, Fla. by Jamie Roberts
Claimed by multiple nations since 1559, the City of Five Flags draws visitors with its multi-layered history, as well as its Emerald Coast beaches and naval aviation base.
Genealogy Sleuth: Beyond Photoshop by Megan Hamby
Web-based photo-editing software and applications are making it easier than ever to safely store, transform and preserve aging photos.
Historic Homes: The House on Page’s Corner by Jamie Roberts
DAR member Laraine Allen and her husband, Herb, preserve the memory of New Hampshire heroes at the Molly Stark Home.
Our Patriots: Bernardo de Gálvez by Nancy Mann Jackson
The United States reveres Gálvez, a military leader in his native Spain, for his significant contributions to the Continental Army battles along the Gulf Coast.
Plus: The President General’s Message, Whatnot and Letters to the Editor
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To Come in July/August 2015
The Legacy of the DAR Schools
New American Revolution Museums
The Origins of Dartmouth College
Visions of America: Historic College Campuses