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For 125 years, the Daughters of the American Revolution has carried the torch of patriotism. Love of country was the purpose; ancestors who fought for freedom was the bond that connected women to unite to form an organization that honored heritage and worked to ensure a bright future for our children. Patriotism is the foundation of the many DAR activities that take place in local communities across the country.

Patriotism Projects

WIMSA Memorial

Conceived by DAR member and retired Air Force General Wilma Vaught, and funded in part by contributions from the DAR, the Women In Military Service for America (WIMSA) Memorial honors all women who have served both in or with the United States Armed Forces.  Located on the 4.2-acre site that is the ceremonial entrance to Arlington National Cemetery, it is the only major national memorial honoring the women who have defended the United States, from the Revolutionary War to the present.  Dedicated on October 18, 1997, the names of those registered at the memorial include thousands of Daughters who have served.  The Daughters wholeheartedly embraced support of this important memorial, for in a special way, it symbolizes the mission of the Daughters themselves, who have given support in every American conflict since the founding of the Society.   Photo by Carol Highsmith courtesy of Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation

Patriotism Projects

Knitting for the Troops

A National Archives brochure promoting the 1987 exhibition, The American Experiment:  Living with the Constitution, featured this photo showing members of the Cincinnati DAR knitting for the troops.  The caption says, “An important factor in the passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the vote, was the work women had done in the war effort during World War I.”   As Susan Zeiger related in her book, In Uncle Sam’s Service, “Thousands of American men died in those campaigns, and thousands of American women streamed to France to back their efforts,” including those from the DAR Hospital Corps.  In a speech he made to the U.S. Senate on September 30, 1918, President Woodrow Wilson urged passage of the women’s suffrage amendment, stating that women had been the “partners” of men in the war.   He argued:  “This war could not have been fought . . . if it had not been for the services of the women.  Democracy means that women shall play their part in affairs alongside men and upon an equal footing with them.”  The Daughters of those patriots who had won American independence had become patriots themselves in the battle for women’s independence.   National Archives photo

Patriotism Projects

Jane Delano

DAR member Jane Arminda Delano was a pioneer of the modern nursing profession, who almost single-handedly created American Red Cross nursing when she united the work of the American Nurses Association, the Army Nurse Corps, and the American Red Cross. In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, she became a member of the New York Chapter of the American Red Cross and served as the secretary for the enrollment of nurses.  In 1909 she became Superintendent of the United States Army Nurse Corps.  Through her efforts, emergency response teams were organized for disaster relief and over 8,000 registered nurses were trained and ready for duty by the time the United States entered World War I.  Jane Delano died in France while on a Red Cross mission in 1919 and was buried in the American military cemetery at Savenay, France.  Awarded the Distinguished Service Medal posthumously, she was brought home one year later by the Army Quartermaster Corps and re-interred in Arlington National Cemetery on April 15, 1920.  Her last words were, “I must get back to my work.”  She was a member of the Judge Lynn Chapter in the District of Columbia.  Library of Congress photo by Harris & Ewing

Patriotism Projects

Spanish American War

During the Spanish-American War, the DAR purchased a steam launch and presented it to the hospital ship Missouri, to be used for ferrying crew back and forth to shore.  On each side of the bow, it bore the letters “DAR.

Patriotism Projects

Spanish American War

Many state DAR societies and local chapters provided humanitarian support in America’s 1898 conflict with Spain, including New Jersey Daughters who nursed the sick in the Hospital at Sea Girt, New Jersey. 

Patriotism Projects

DAR Hospital Corps

The DAR screened thousands of women for the DAR Hospital Corps before it became the Army Nurse Corps headed by Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee.  DAR chapters ‘adopted’ some of those nurse volunteers, providing monetary aid and supplies.  The Mary Clap Wooster Chapter, Connecticut, adopted Esther V. Hasson who sent several moving letters back home to the chapter describing her life as a shipboard nurse.  In 1908 she became the first Supervisor of Navy nurses.  Nurse Hasson is likely pictured here circa 1898 standing in the center onboard the U.S. Hospital Ship Relief, according to an article written one hundred years later by Heidi Campbell-Shoaf in the October 1998 DAR magazine on the centennial of the founding of the Nurse Corps.

Patriotism Projects

DAR Hospital Corps

At the outbreak of the Spanish-American War in 1898, Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee became director of the DAR Hospital Corps.  Her proposal for a permanent nurse corps became a part of the Army Recognition Act of 1901, which by law established the Army Nurse Corps on February 2, 1901.

Patriotism Projects

Red Cross War Relief Service

Taking their namesake to heart, the Daughters of the Mercy Warren Chapter of Springfield, Massachusetts, did indeed show true mercy in their early chapter work.  In this 1919 photo, dozens of members and volunteers are attending an all-day meeting and training session of their War Relief Service Committee for Red Cross work.  Members of the chapter also staffed a victory bread shop, hosted first aid classes, bought war bonds and stamps, made a donation of $301.50 to help rebuild the entire water system in the city of Tilloloy in France, made 17,700 articles of clothing, held clothing drives for Belgian relief, and adopted 12 French orphans. 

Patriotism Projects

World War I

DAR support continued after World War I, as troops returned home.  Here, members of the Daughters of the American Revolution conduct mending day at Camp Custer in 1919.  Camp Custer, near Battle Creek, Michigan, was a training facility during WWI.  As the war came to a close, many chapters redirected their efforts to National Defense.  For instance, the Dewalt Mechlin Chapter, Illinois, put together a play performed on April 6, 1918, at the Cosmopolitan Theatre to make the public aware of the need for preparedness.  Prior to war’s end, this busy chapter, typical of hundreds of DAR chapters across the country, operated a Red Cross shop, adopted three French orphans, subscribed to the $1 million DAR Liberty Loan Fund; and gave the American Red Cross 468 knitted garments, 280 hospital garments, and 23 suits for children.

Patriotism Projects

World War II

Lined up under the welcoming arms of the Founders Monument are some of the little ones who attended the American Red Cross nursery in the NSDAR building during World War II. 

Patriotism Projects

World War II

The DAR building safeguarded more than Revolutionary treasures during World War II, as this picture of a Red Cross volunteer and her rapt audience taken on the lawn in front of the Administration Building captures so intimately.  On November 2, 1942, the Red Cross opened a day nursery for fifteen children in three rooms in the basement of Constitution Hall.  The nursery, headed by Mary Perrine Patterson Davidson of the Red Cross who was also a DAR member, was the first day nursery of the Red Cross in the District of Columbia.  The nursery provided care to the children of service men whose wives had taken employment.

Patriotism Projects

World War II

In the summer of 1941, in response to the American Red Cross “expanding its activities as the war clouds gathered, the D.A.R. turned over the spacious corridors of Constitution Hall to office workers,” as related in the Society’s records.  In this newspaper photo taken during that time, President General Helena R. Pouch, far right, gets a closer look at the signs posted on the lawn of Memorial Continental Hall proudly proclaiming the loan of space in its headquarters to the American Red Cross.  Even before the United States entered the war, the Daughters rallied their support in the war effort, as reported in monthly issues of the DAR National Historical Magazine throughout 1942.  The north Museum was dismantled and became the War Service Room used by “a great number of Daughters for work for the American Red Cross such as knitting, sewing, etc.”  Two large conference rooms as well as the Banquet Hall provided additional space for “classes in Orientation and Military and Naval Welfare Training to train Red Cross staff for work in the hospitals and recreational centers.”  The rooms held as many as one hundred workers each.

Patriotism Projects

World War II

In this circa 1944 photo, President General Mary E. Talmadge, right, buys the first bond at the War Bond Booth set up in the foyer of Memorial Continental Hall.  In 1943 and 1944 alone, the Daughters purchased a total of $69 million in War Bonds and Stamps.  By war’s end, the grand total purchased reached $206,619,715.

Patriotism Projects

World War II

As captured in this exhibit, in addition to donating blood, the DAR helped support the Red Cross Blood Donor Project by contributing $148,582 for the equipment pictured:  “38 mobile units, 15 station wagons and cars, 20 centers equipped . . . thousands saved with plasma.” At both the national and chapter levels, support provided by the DAR during World War II was probably one of the most concentrated efforts of service ever undertaken by the Daughters.  Chapters and state societies funded ambulances and Red Cross blood donor mobile units such as those pictured here, while the DAR Headquarters became a center of wartime activity, giving up forty rooms for the war effort.

Patriotism Projects

World War II

During World War II, at least 637 DAR members served in all branches of service both here and overseas, including the Women’s Army Corps (WACs), Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), Red Cross, entertainers in recreational centers, air raid wardens, and plane spotters.  Dozens are pictured here on the steps of Constitution Hall in this 1986 photo that also included those serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard at the time.