Category Archives: DAR

DAR Magazine Digital Archive

With tomorrow being Independence Day in the United States, it seems only fitting to highlight a resource available online in digitized format to the general public on the website of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

First, click on the LIBRARY link just above the home page photo. When the drop down menu opens, click on RESOURCES.

Next, click on the second choice in blue on the left side of the page – DAR Magazine Archive.

I couldn’t capture the whole list of years by decades in the screen shot, but the list goes down to the 1890s when the DAR Magazine first began publication.

The magazines can be searched, at least up until 1998. I have found that single words work best in the search box. For example, I entered “Isabelle Hubbard,” who was the first State Regent of California. No hits were returned, but when I entered only “Hubbard,” a long list appeared with all the Hubbards mentioned in various issues of the magazine.

While the DAR Magazine included many reports of DAR business, it also contained many historical articles relating to the early history of the United States, family Bible records and military records. Thousands of genealogical queries have been published through the years.

What I like about this list of results is that each entry is identified as SUBJECT, as in subject of the article or person who gave a report, ILLUSTRATION, which is often a photograph of the person or GENEALOGICAL QUERY, which speaks for itself.

Remember, DAR has been in the ancestry business for almost 126 years. A while back, I wrote about my husband’s David Lewis-Ann Beeson family from North Carolina. Many people had exact dates of birth for these children born at a time and in a place where vital records were not yet kept by the government. I figured there had to be a Bible record around somewhere and one of my readers tipped me off to where I could find it – in a 1936 issue of the DAR Magazine!

It is definitely worth taking the time to search or browse if you are looking for colonial or early American ancestors.

Happy 141st Birthday to the United States of America!

DAR Glass Commemorative Coasters – 1920s?

Boy! Did I learn a lot today. And it’s been fun. I have had two small glass coaster/trivets, each 3 1/2 inches in diameter,  that depict scenes relating to the Daughters of the American Revolution, of which I am a member. A friend gave me these two little glass items and I have had them sitting in a drawer for years. Today, I decided I needed to learn more about them and why they were created.

Here is what one looks like:

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The first coaster/trivet says “DAR Mansion, Addison, Vermont.” A quick check on Google showed it to be the John Strong Mansion, owned by the Vermont State Society Daughters of the American Revolution. John Strong was a patriot during the American Revolution.

The second trivet (not pictured) says “Daughters of the American Revolution” on it and has the image of a colonial patriot on horseback. There is a steepled building of some sort on the far left side, behind the horse. Originally, I thought this was George Washington, but couldn’t figure out what steeple that would be. It’s not the Mason’s George Washington Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia, as that building doesn’t have a steeple like that.

After rethinking a bit, I believe the horseman is Paul Revere and the building is the historic Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts.

These little glass items are typical of pressed glass decorative pieces made in the 1800s and early 1900s, so I wondered how old my little dishes might be. I also looked at a well known auction site and there was a third glass coaster up for sale there. The image was the DAR Madonna of the Trail statue that is in Springfield, Ohio and the plate was dated 4 July 1928. Maybe these trivets dated from the 1920s – or maybe not.

As luck would have it, when I telephoned the John Strong Mansion, the lady who was on duty at the time, Laura, said it wasn’t busy and she could perhaps give me some of the history of these pieces of glass.

It turns out that these are formally called “cup saucers” and were probably made by the Pairpoint Glass Company located in Sagamore, Massachusetts.

In the 1700s and 1800s, hot tea was served in cups that had no handles. To cool the tea more quickly, the tea was poured into the cup saucer and the cup was placed on a cup plate on the table. Ladies and gentlemen then had to manage to drink the tea from the saucers without having it drip down the front of their clothes.

While cup saucers have been around for a very long time, my cup saucers look very much like they were struck from the same mold as several listed on the auction site online in a listing separate from the Madonna of the Trail saucer I’ve already mentioned. A set of four in one listing could be had for only $7.99, but there were no bids posted. That made me a bit suspicious about how old – or modern – they might be.

Although these cup saucers depict historic events, Laura and I came to the consensus that the DAR cup saucers likely date from the time of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976. The National Society likely had a contract with Pairpoint Glass whereby Daughters from local chapters or state societies could submit historic images with a very brief description, have their own cup saucers created and then sold these items as fund raisers.

It turns out that the John Strong Mansion has several of these Pairpoint Glass cup saucers, but they do NOT have one depicting their own house. I’ve offered to donate mine to them, as I love returning old things to their original homes.

Today has, indeed, been a fun day.

Visiting the DAR Library in Washington, DC

Not long ago, I had an opportunity to visit the DAR Library in Washington, DC. I have been there before as I’ve been a Daughter for 35 years and I have been lucky enough to visit our nation’s capital multiple times. However, I am always amazed by both the beauty of the building and the quality of the library.

The DAR Library is located at 1776 D Street, N.W. and there is little chance that you would miss it.

The entrance to the library is actually just to the right of the steps where the DAR banners are hanging.

The NSDAR library website has the following description of its holdings:

The DAR Library collection contains over 225,000 books, 10,000 research files, thousands of manuscript items, and special collections of African American, Native American, and women’s history, genealogy and culture. Nearly 40,000 family histories and genealogies comprise a major portion of the book collection, many of which are unique or available in only a few libraries in the country.

There are a couple of misconceptions about this gem. You do not have to be a DAR member to use the library. Until a couple of years ago, there was a $10 fee for non-members to research there, but that fee has been dropped. Access is free to all; the only restriction on public visits is in late June-early July during Continental Congress, which is the DAR national convention. During that week, only Daughters may use the library, simply because of numbers.

Upon entering the building, you will check in at the security window and receive a visitor’s badge. As you enter the library, the reference desk is on the left.

You can already get a sense of how beautiful this library is. The library was the original meeting room for the ladies before they outgrew the space and moved into the larger Hall.

The library is just about jaw-droppingly beautiful.

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One view

See those white rectangular things on the second floor? Those are actually rolling book shelves, full of fabulous genealogy books!

After taking in the room, it is sometimes a bit difficult to settle down and work, even for genealogy, but the work space is also beautiful:

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Researcher Seating

The chairs are comfy modern, while the tables are vintage old wood with lots of new lighting.

While this is very much a “book” library (as in brick and mortar building), some of its holdings are becoming accessible online. Although its online databases are somewhat limited, they are growing.

How do you find anything here? At the library entrance, there are a series of handouts and brochures about the library. Among the most important are the floor maps:

Since the organization of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution 125 years ago, members have regularly canvassed friends, family and neighborhoods gathering genealogical data from Bible records, letters, and other types of unique resources.

While the library has an impressive book collection, many of the books are not unique or hard to find at other genealogical repositories. Those unique records gathered by the Daughters through the years – the membership file documentation,  research files, manuscripts and special collections are what makes this library stand out.

Research help is also available. In addition to the books, the library presents Genealogy 101 classes on an itinerant schedule:

And, since you are already in the building, take some time to visit the world-class DAR Museum:

Not only are there rotating exhibitions, there are period rooms representing many of the states. Docents give frequent tours.

 If you find yourself in Washington, DC, make a note to yourself to visit and tour the DAR buildings at 1776 D Street, N.W. Allow yourself plenty of time to learn about their history and to do some research at this wonderful library.

Photos were all taken by me in April 2016. Library and museum brochures and papers are available free at the DAR Library.