Our History

Chicago Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, is the first chapter of the Society and was established in 1891.

DAR Chicago Timeline

With over 240 members, Chicago Daughters take pride in their chapter’s legacy of leadership and work to continue the DAR’s mission of historic preservation, patriotism and education in Chicago and in concert with the Illinois State Organization and the National Society.

2016 On March 13th, the Chicago Chapter ("The First Chapter") celebrated 125 years of its founding with a formal tea, speaker, and musical performance in the Gold Coast Ballroom at The Drake Hotel in Chicago. The event was attended by President General Lynn Forney Young, Illinois State Regent Sharon Crumbaker Frizzell, and over 260 members and guests from sixty-one chapters and sixteen states.

2012 Chicago Chapter won first place nationally for the most new Junior members for the second year in a row! The chapter also won third place for most new members. Chicago Chapter returns to the Newberry Library to hold its meetings.

2011 Chicago Chapter celebrates its 120th birthday on March 21 at the Glessner House. The chapter won first place nationally for most new members for the second year in a row and moved up to first place for most new Junior members. Chicago Chapter is now the largest chapter in the state! The chapter won a national award for Outstanding Website Construction, and the chapter Regent won a national membership award.

2010 Chicago Chapter blossoms! The chapter won first place in the Nation for most new members in a DAR chapter with 58 new members. The chapter also won second place nationally for most new Junior members. One of our members won third place nationally for her vocal composition, and our chapter Registrar won the national award for Outstanding Volunteer Genealogist.

2009  Chicago Chapter renews its relationship with The Newberry Library. The chapter collects and indexes genealogical records and also conducts patriot ancestor lookups on-site. Learn more.

 2008  Chicago Chapter’s first Flag Day Event includes giving away 2,000 American flags to pedestrians along Michigan Avenue.

 2006  Chicago Chapter decorates the USA Tree at the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” exhibit. The chapter decorated the tree each holiday from 2006-2013.

 1991  Chicago Chapter celebrates its centennial birthday on March 20.

 1968  Chicago Chapter marks the graves of Revolutionary Soldiers David Sherman (CT, PS), who died in 1826, and Newcomb Lamkin (MA, PVT), who died in 1836 at the age of 93 years.1

WWII, 1941-1945  Members are active with the Red Cross.2

1939  During the NSDAR Golden Jubilee Project, Chicago Chapter pledged $100 for a section of floor in NSDAR Continental Hall’s Archives and Document Room. The pledge was made in honor of Miss Frances Willard, a Chicago Chapter charter member. She held Chicago Chapter Membership No. 2.2

1934  Three members of Chicago Chapter assisted in organizing a DAR chapter in Paris, France.3

1933  A delegation of three hundred Chicago Chapter members attended breakfast and the Flag Day celebration at “A Century of Progress.”

1931  Two rooms at Tamassee DAR School are sponsored by Chicago Chapter: one honors Chicago Chapter Regent Mrs. T.J. Dixon, and the other honors Mrs. Mabel Hurd Walker Herrick (Mrs. C.E.), a former chapter regent (1920-1922), IL State Regent (1923-1925), and Vice President General from Illinois (1931-1934), who also served as National Chairman of Patriotic Education.

1929  The first ROTC medals are distributed. Students at the University of Chicago are the first to receive ROTC medals from Chicago Chapter.2

1927  Chicago Chapter awards Colonel Charles Lindbergh a medal after his historic trans-Atlantic flight.2

WWI, 1914-1918  Chicago Chapter serves as Red Cross Auxiliary No. 1 in Chicago, and in active operation until the close of the war, continuing its War Relief Committee a year longer. Chicago Chapter members give three ambulances, the Chapter provides one additional ambulance, and contributes $350 to the IL State DAR ambulance.

Chicago Chapter contributed $921 towards the $100,000 Liberty Loan purchased by the National Society. Contributions were made to the Walter Reese hospital to Halifax sufferers, and 56,834 surgical supplies were furnished, in addition to other work towards the war effort by Chicago Daughters. Four members went abroad as nurses.

Eight thousand knitted garments, comfort kets [sic], phonograph records, jams and jellies, Christmas boxes, books, scrap books, kid lined vests, twenty-six men outfitted, several thousand men entertained in homes, French orphans adopted, etc., were some of the war activities.

Chicago Chapter had 98 war mothers, with 105 sons in the war. Chicago Chapter had four Gold Star mothers.3

1926  The Mary Virginia Ellet Cabell Society, Children of  the American Revolution, is organized on December 4 under Chicago Chapter’s stewardship. Mrs. Cabell, for whom the Society is named, was one of the founding members of NSDAR and served as the Society’s President General.

1927  Gifts were added to Memorial Continental Hall, as follows: Forty-seven volumes of historical value, a two-piece fruit dish of Staffordshire ware, and a pair of silver candlesticks once belonging to General George Washington and later to Mrs. Mary Simmerson Cunningham Logan, the wife of General John A. Logan.3

1925  Chicago Chapter membership reached 1,000 members. The chapter conducts four meetings each month to accommodate members.

1915  Delegates to NSDAR Continental Congress from Chicago Chapter gave 11 feet of the ground on which the NSDAR Administration Building now stands. 3

1905  Many Chicago Daughters contributed to the furnishings of the Illinois Room at NSDAR Continental Hall in Washington, DC. Pastel-colored brocade wall hangings and an oriental rug were presented by Mrs. Ida E.S. Noyes (Mrs. LaVerne), the Benjamin Reeve floor clock was a gift of Chicago Chapter, the tilt-top table once owned by William Penn was the gift of Mrs. Susan Gibbons Duvall of Chicago Chapter and the John Paul Jones chest was presented by Copeland P. Jones through Mrs. Duvall. Over all gleams the crystal chandelier given by Mrs. Anna Scott Block (Mrs. Willard). Mrs. Alice Bradford Wiles gave a mahogany framed engraving “Franklin at the Court of St. James”. 3 See today’s Illinois Room at NSDAR Memorial Continental Hall.

Spanish-American War, 1898 Chicago Chapter contributed to the relief effort as follows: Sent to NSDAR War Committee, $50; cash solicited for material, $909.54; pieces of sewing material provided, 3,880; garments made 2,065; hospital supplies, 1,107; books and magazines, 2,089; nurses endorsed, 51; nurses appointed to hospital corps, 25. All boxes were packed, labeld and shipped by members.3

1895  Chicago Daughters hosted the first IL State Organization, NSDAR on December 3. Mrs. Annie Kerfoot (Mrs. S.H.) is the IL State Regent. Reports were received from the regents of the following organized and to be organized chapters: Chicago, Bloomington, Decatur, Evanston, Freeport, Galena, Rockford, Rock Island, Springfield and Streator. 3

1893  Chicago Chapter acted as hostess and had charge of the exhibit of Revolutionary War relics in the Woman’s Building at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Mrs. Bertha Honore Palmer (Mrs. Potter), who was an honorary member of the Chicago Chapter, and also President of the Board of Lady Managers, gave an elegant reception at her home for the members in attendance at the Daughters of the American Revolution Congress held in the Art Institute as a part of the World’s Fair Congress. Many distinguished women of the United States and of foreign countries were present. 3

1893  Mrs. Frances Welles Shepard (Mrs. Henry) is made National Chairman of a Continental Hall committee. The first subscription of $100 was made by a Chicago Chapter member to the Memorial Continental Hall fund. 3

1891  Chicago Daughters attended the first NSDAR Continental Congress in the Church of Our Fathers, Washington, DC on February 22. 3

 1891  Chicago Chapter is established on March 20 at a meeting attended by 45 women eligible for membership. Effie Beulah Reeme Osborn (Mrs. Frank) is Chicago Chapter’s first regent, appointed by Mrs. Caroline Harrison (Mrs. Benjamin), President General of the National Society and First Lady of the United States. During the meeting, Mrs. Osborne “stated that in ‘The Daughters of the Revolution’ [sic], party lines and sectarian differences were to be obliterated. It would know no North, no South, no East, no West, and all creeds were admitted into its communion. Its watchword was ‘Patriotism’.” 3  

Sources:

1) Lucas, Jane Gregg, ed. Illinois State History of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume II: 1969. Galesburg: Wagoner Printing Company, 1969.

2) Chicago Chapter, NSDAR. “90th Anniversary Program”. Chicago: Chicago Chapter, NSDAR, 1991.

3) Scott, Rose Moss, ed. Illinois State History of the Daughters of the American Revolution: 1929. Danville: Illinois Printing Company, 1929.