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…"; and 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.
Since its founding in 1890, DAR has admitted more than ONE MILLION members!
Soon after the organization of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, a committee of three Honorary Vice Presidents was appointed to design something characteristic as an EMBLEM of the society.
Numerous design submissions were rejected before the winning suggestion came from an unlikely source: Dr. G. Brown Goode, a museum administrator for the Smithsonian Institution and a zoologist specializing in the study of fish. He was the husband of Sarah E. Goode, one of three members of the committee charged with designing an insignia. Dr. Goode proposed that the Daughters base the insignia design on the spinning wheel motif that had already been adopted as the Society’s official seal. After refining his initial sketch based on feedback from DAR members, who found the spinning wheel too reminiscent of a ship’s wheel and the distaff too cannon-like in appearance, Dr. Goode’s second draft was met with approval.
Dr. Goode’s design, now familiar to Daughters worldwide, was inspired by a spinning wheel that belonged to his grandmother, Rebecca Hayes Goode, and which was later donated to the DAR Museum. The emblem features a wheel with 13 spokes projecting from the hub toward a rim encircled by the words “Daughters of the American Revolution.” Thirteen stars line the outer edge of the rim, and a distaff filled with flax rests under the wheel. The design was unanimously adopted by the National Board of Management on May 26, 1891, and patented September 22, 1891.
At the Eighth Continental Congress in 1899, Ellenore Dutcher of Nebraska proposed the adoption of an official emblem of suitable size for daily use. This proposal resulted in the creation of the DAR Insignia pin, which each member may purchase upon admission. At the 10th Continental Congress in 1901, the Insignia pin was adopted as the official emblem for daily use. It is to be worn over the left breast in accordance with the guidelines set forth in the DAR Handbook and National Bylaws. Each pin is engraved with the owner’s unique membership number—the lower the number, the older the pin.
In 2015, pin #1, originally owned by DAR founder Eugenia Washington, was donated to the NSDAR Archives.