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Origins of the
Daughters of the American Revolution

May 1893 — The Congress of Women, Woman’s Building, World’s Columbian Exposition, Chicago IL


In response to the cordial invitation extended by the World’s Congress of Representative Women, under the auspices of the Woman’s Branch of the World’s Congress Auxiliary, we are present to-day representing three thousand of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a national organization founded two and a half years ago.

It has been founded, as has been well said, upon a sentiment, the sentiment that cherishes and holds in sacred reverence the traditions, faith, and achievements of our revolutionary fathers.

It is therefore with both pleasure and pride that I greet for the first time, and under these most pleasing and inspiring circumstances, so large and representative a gathering of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

As lineal descendants of the men and women who, for the sake of political and religious liberty, faced undismayed the dangers of the primeval forest and turned not back from the perils of an inhospitable shore and an unfriendly race, it is eminently meet that you have gathered in this now historic hall and add your voice to the general rejoicing on this natal day.

To the great discoverer whose genius and courage opened the portals through which our fathers passed into an inheritance in this fair and fertile land, we accord all honor.

However, as Daughters of the American Revolution we are bound by stronger ties to the brave men and heroic women who, by their valor and patient endurance, achieved American independence, and made possible for us these sheltered homes and all the grand possibilities which now lie within the reach of the women of this century. How firm their purpose and how faithful the performance, historian and poet have vied to tell.

Just now a new interest has been awakened, and middleaged men and women, no less than the lads and lassies, are turning to moldy tomes and neglected tombs to learn what deed of chivalry performed by a forgotten ancestor entitles them to honorable enrollment among the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution.

It is well that in the mad rush of modern American life we can pause and ask from whom and whence came the mighty powers which have stirred the nations and have placed America in the foremost rank of the nations of the earth?

With a new Liberty Bell soon to be sprung into existence by the magic touch of the fair hand of the mistress of the White House, and then to speed upon its mission of proclaiming liberty to the world; with the bright prospect of a continental hall or home — whether to be shared with the Sons or not I am not advised — and the still higher ambition of assisting in establishing a University of the United States in compliance with Washington’s farewell suggestion, the Daughters of the American Revolution have every incentive to earnest endeavor, and I believe a few years will see the fullest realization of their aspiration.

May I add one thought in closing. In all that your undertake, in all that you do, “think of your forefathers; think of your posterity.”



Source: World’s Congress of Representative Women, Vol 2, ed. May Eliza Wright Sewall (Chicago: Rand and McNally) 1893.