The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution was founded on October 11, 1890, during a time that was marked by a revival in patriotism and intense interest in the beginnings of the United States of America. Women felt the desire to express their patriotic feelings and were frustrated by their exclusion from men’s organizations formed to perpetuate the memory of ancestors who fought to make this country free and independent. As a result, a group of pioneering women in the nation’s capital formed their own organization and the Daughters of the American Revolution has carried the torch of patriotism ever since.
The objectives laid forth in the first meeting of the DAR have remained the same in 125 years of active service to the nation. Those objectives are:
Historical – to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American independence;
Educational – to carry out the injunction of Washington in his farewell address to the American people, “to promote, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge, thus developing an enlightened public opinion…”;
Patriotic – to cherish, maintain, and extend the institutions of American freedom, to foster true patriotism and love of country, and to aid in securing for mankind all the blessings of liberty.
The DAR is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization. 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 one million dollars. As of November 2015, members volunteered 1,522,096 hours year to date.
As one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the country, DAR boasts 180,000 active members in 3,000 chapters across the United States and internationally. 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, is eligible for membership.
Encompassing an entire downtown block, DAR National Headquarters houses one of the nation’s premier genealogical libraries, one of the foremost collections of pre-industrial American decorative arts, Washington’s largest concert hall, and an extensive collection of early American manuscripts and imprints.
Since its founding in 1890, DAR has admitted more than 950,000 members. The organization is exempt from Federal income taxes under the provisions of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and receives no government funding.