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The Four Founders

A Brief History of the Founding of the DAR

The Founders Memorial

The Four Founders

Mary Desha's adventures included activism in Alaska.

Mary S. Lockwood was an avid historian and writer.

Ellen Walworth earned her law degree before opening her home as a boarding school. Eugenia Washington was influenced by her experience during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg.

A Brief History of the Founding of the DAR

On October 11, 1890, eighteen women and four men met in Washington for the purpose of organizing the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) had recently been founded in New York City on April 30, 1889. Some SAR societies permitted women and some did not. At the next year’s general meeting on April 30, 1890, the matter was put to a vote and the SAR decided to officially exclude women from its membership.

This event sparked controversy and discussion in the national press, and caught the attention of Mary Smith Lockwood. Incensed that the contributions of women to the American Revolution were not being recognized, Mrs. Lockwood wrote a fiery editorial that was published in the Washington Post on July 13, 1890. In it, she demonstrated convincingly that women had contributed much to the Revolutionary cause that had previously been overlooked and ignored. She asked, “Were there no mothers of the Revolution?”

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Founders Memorial

On April 17, 1929 under the leadership of President General Grace L. H. Brosseau  the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution dedicated this memorial to its four founders: Mary Desha, Mary Smith Lockwood, Ellen Hardin Walworth, and Eugenia Washington.

Noted artist and DAR member Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney sculpted this beautiful monument from Tennessee marble.  The graceful, feminine form depicted here is typical of Whitney’s sculptures.  The human figure was her favorite medium through which to illustrate the expanse of human emotions and ideas.  

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Dazzling Daughters

NSDAR Archives