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Inside this Issue

July/August 2017

Glimpse into the lives and passions of the diverse group of women who comprise today’s DAR membership.

National Treasures
Take a step inside the DAR Museum for a closer look at its fascinating collection.

More Articles
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.

Today's Daughters
For the People

Volume 151, Number 4
By Lena Anthony
Photograph courtesy of Taryn Edmonds

Philadelphia Daughter finds fulfillment in serving others

In 2013, Taryn Edmonds made a big career change. After working for more than 12 years as a psychotherapist and behavioral health specialist with disadvantaged Philadelphia families, she completely switched gears and became a paralegal.

“As a psychotherapist, I was constantly aware that people weren’t getting the services they needed,” said the regent of the Philadelphia DAR Chapter, Philadelphia, Pa. “I saw an opportunity to be even more helpful as a legal professional.”

From the beginning, Mrs. Edmonds appreciated many things about her new job—the pay was great, and the variety of tasks kept her mind sharp—but there was one thing missing: “Paralegals are very isolated from the people they’re helping,” she said, “and I really missed that face-to-face, direct service to clients.”

Fortunately for Mrs. Edmonds, her law firm prioritized pro bono legal work. A few months after starting her new job, Mrs. Edmonds found a place to serve at Philadelphia VIP, a nonprofit that matches community members with needed legal services. Each month, Mrs. Edmonds volunteers her time, expertise and legal services to help clients who are facing foreclosure navigate the complex legal process.

The tasks she performs vary from week to week and month to month, but they include conducting intake interviews at city hall, drafting legal documents or serving as a notary. She tries to handle each interaction with compassion and understanding.

“I know it takes a lot for someone to ask for help, so I’m always tapping back into my therapeutic tools,” she said. “My first job is to make them feel comfortable. Then I try to educate and empower them. Even if they don’t get to keep their home, I want to give them the knowledge that they have options and the confidence that they’re going to get over this hump.”

Giving back has been a lifelong mission for Mrs. Edmonds. “I was always finding ways to volunteer,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to help others and make a difference in someone’s life. It’s also very easy. It often doesn’t take a lot to help someone else, so why not?”

That spirit of service is one of the things that drew her to DAR in 2013. Growing up, she was aware of her ancestry and family ties to the American Revolution. Her uncle was in the Sons of the American Revolution, and she had an aunt in the DAR. “I finally got to a point in my life when I realized I should do this, too,” she said.

The application process took almost two years to complete, but Mrs. Edmonds became a member in July 2015. She became involved immediately, serving as chapter regent and as a page at various events.

She also volunteers her genealogy services to anyone who needs them.“I’ll ask strangers on the street if they know details about their family tree,” she said. “If they don’t, I encourage them to get started. There’s a generation that’s losing touch with their grandparents. If we don’t interview them now, we’re going to be missing huge chunks of our family stories.”

She was disappointed to miss the opportunity to page at Continental Congress this year, but had a good reason: She and her husband, Kevin Kennedy, are expecting their first baby together. Mrs. Edmonds is also mom to Robert and Gabriela and stepmom to Kandyce. The family enjoys exploring the outdoors, traveling to historic sites and museums, and stopping at antique and rummage sales.

“People always ask me where I get my energy from and I tell them, ‘This is what life is supposed to be like.’”

For more Today’s Daughters, please click here.

To nominate a Daughter for a future issue, e-mail a description to

National Treasures
A Whale of a Pie Crimper

Volume 151, Number 4, July/August 2017, Page 4
Photography by Alden O'Brien

Today’s pie crusts are sealed with fluted-edged pastry wheels made of stainless steel, while your ancestors used ones made of a much more interesting material—whale teeth.

Sailors on whaling ships had a lot of downtime waiting for the big catch, and they passed some of it by carving whale bones and teeth into decorative or useful objects. Smaller whale teeth became hand tools such as this pie crimper or “jagger.” Its curved handle reflects the shape of the tooth. The fluted wheel sealed the upper and lower pie crusts and trimmed the edges; the fork extension pricked the upper crust to let steam out. Undoubtedly many housewives in whaling ports owned a jagger such as this, likely made by their sailor husbands on one of their long whaling voyages.

The jagger was donated by Etta H. Handy, Boston Tea Party DAR Chapter, Boston, Mass., in 1964.

For more National Treasures, please visit the DAR Museum's Featured Objects.

More Articles

The Savory and Sweet Origins of Pies by Elise Warner
The first pies can be traced back thousands of years to the ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks. From fish-flavored versions to fruit-filled varieties to Chicago deep-dish style, any way you slice it, pie has always been a favorite.

The Buzz About Beehive Ovens by Marilyn Sassi, Ronald F. Kingsley and Claire Hamilton
Beehive ovens, a type of domed bake oven, retained a large amount of heat for long periods of time, making cooking more convenient for early Americans.

Meeting of the Minds by Jamie Roberts
Ben Franklin’s Junto, a club whose members were dedicated to selfimprovement, also made long-lasting enhancements to its community.

Barbadians of the Carolinas by Annelise Jolley
Ever wonder where South Carolina’s Caribbean influences came from? The tiny West Indian island of Barbados had a great impact on the Carolinas’ commercial and legal systems. Those influences can still be seen throughout Charleston, S.C. today.


Spirited Adventures: Denver, Colo. by Courtney Peter
Founded as a gold mining camp, today’s Denver lures visitors as an urban gateway to the beauty of the Rocky Mountains and bountiful wilderness recreation.

Historic Homes: Gonzalez-Alvarez House by Bill Hudgins
The González-Alvarez house, built in 1723, is the oldest structure in St. Augustine, Fla., and showcases Spanish and British Colonial styles.

Our Patriots: Ebenezer Zane by Lena Anthony
Part of a Revolutionary fighting family, Ebenezer Zane constructed a frontier road through the Northwest Territory and helped put Ohio on the road to statehood.

Plus the President General’s Message and Whatnot

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To Come in September/October 2017:

The Mason-Dixon Line Turns 250

Colonial Law Enforcement

Early American Esquires