Photo Credit: Kimberly Howard-Thomassen
Who We Are
The DAR, founded in 1890, is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women's service organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and securing America's future through better education for children. Membership is open to any woman, 18 years or older–regardless of race, religion or ethnic background–who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution.
DAR members volunteer more than 55,000 hours annually to veteran patients, award over $150,000 in scholarships and financial aid each year to students, and support schools for the underprivileged with annual donations exceeding one million dollars.
DAR Headquarters is one of the world's largest buildings of its kind owned and maintained exclusively by women. It has the largest concert hall in Washington, D.C. and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.
History of the Fort Greene Chapter
The National Society of the DAR was but six years old when, in 1896, a group of prominent club women met at the home of Mrs. Stephen Van Cullen White to form a Brooklyn chapter of the DAR. The objectives of the formation of the chapter were to promote the erection of a suitable memorial to the memory of martyrs–civilian, military and naval–who perished in the noisome prison ships anchored in the Wallabout Bay during the Revolutionary War, and to help the building of Continental Hall in Washington, D.C.
Mrs. White was made chairman of the meeting and the first regent of the new chapter. As soon as she had procured the charter from Mrs. Benjamin G. Harrison, the President General of the National Society, Mrs. White resigned from the regency in favor of Mrs. Henry Earle, so that she, in collaboration with her husband, the Honorable Stephen V. White, could devote her entire time to the memorial committee.
Soon after the founding of the Fort Greene Chapter, the children of the members were organized into an enthusiastic, growing chapter of the Children of the American Revolution, called “Little Men and Women of ‘76." Mrs. John Van Buren Thayer was one of its leading proponents. By 1900, those children had grown into young men and young women. The young women formed a new chapter of the DAR, calling the chapter “Women of ‘76," and in 1906, to accommodate business women who could not attend throughout the week, the Battle Pass Chapter was formed and met on Saturdays. Thus did the parent chapter provide two other chapters in Brooklyn for the NSDAR.
In 1908 the great shaft, designed by McKim, Mead and White and erected on the hill in Fort Greene Park, up from the crypt containing the remains of the Prison Ship Martyrs, was dedicated by President William Howard Taft. Fort Greene had contributed $10,000 of the $105,000 collected by friends of the project and the federal government. Later, in the newly erected Continental Hall, Fort Greene contributed a beautiful spiral staircase to the memory of Eliza Chandler White, the prime worker in Brooklyn for the war memorial. Eight members also gave memorial chairs, costing $150 each, in memory of loved ones.
Support of our approved schools plays an important part in our endeavors; we contribute clothing and scholarship money to children of Tamassee and Crossmore annually. Fort Greene has had a special interest in steering devotion to our country among school children, a yearly feature of which was the sponsoring of an essay contest on “What the Flag of the USA Means to Me.” The prize was a $50 US Government Bond given by our member, Mrs. Joseph W. Phair, until her death in 1967.
During the regency of Miss Julia Ring, many handsomely embroidered silk regimental-size flags were given by members as memorials to loved ones in WWI. Included were Washington’s Naval Flag, Pine Tree Flag, etc. Recently the flags were transferred to Fraunces Tavern.
The Dutch Revolutionary dwelling, known as Lefferts Homestead, now resting within the confines of Prospect Park, near the Willinki entrance, is sponsored by the Fort Greene Chapter. The museum, which holds valuable and interesting Americana, including a large collection of old Dutch Bibles, is open to the public Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. It is insured by the Park Department.
During the two World Wars, Fort Greene subscribed over $1,000,000 in bonds and gave more than their quota in dollars to radios, mobile kitchens, ambulances, and amphibian boats.
All these activities are in accordance with the aims of the National Society “to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American independence.” With the National Society, we cherish, maintain, and extend the institution of American freedom. We aim to foster patriotism and love of these United States of America by awarding medals for good citizenship to public school students and disseminating literature on the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence in the community. We hope that our program of Americanism will aid in securing for all mankind the blessings of liberty and peace.