Past Treasure of the Month – November 2018
During the month of November, Rosenberg Library exhibited items related to the George Washington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution from its permanent collection as well as items on loan from the chapter itself.
Established in Galveston in 1895, the George Washington Chapter, N.S.D.A.R. is the oldest chapter in the state of Texas.
Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) was founded in 1890. Membership to the organization was open to women age 18 and older who could prove their lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution. The goals of the D.A.R. were to promote historic preservation, education, and patriotism.
In 1895, a group of 19 Galveston women met at the home of Mrs. George Seeligson to organize the George Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution—the first chapter in Texas. Mrs. Julia Washington Fontaine, a great-granddaughter of George Washington’s brother, served as the chapter’s first Regent.
Like their counterparts across the United States, members of the Galveston D.A.R. worked to better their community and aid their country in a variety of ways. During WWI, members of the chapter organized the city’s first volunteer unit of the American Red Cross, making surgical dressings for military members. In 1926, they sponsored construction of the War Heroes Memorial Monument in Menard Park in honor of those who died while serving in the First World War. The group again provided aid during WWII, raising money for war relief through rummage sales, teas, and savings bonds campaigns.
The Texas D.A.R. has selected Galveston as the site of its annual conference numerous times over the years. In 1928, Galveston was the host city for the organization’s 29th annual state conference. A three-day affair was held at the Hotel Galvez. In addition to business and planning meetings, attendees enjoyed historical presentations and live entertainment. A special luncheon was hosted at Gaido’s restaurant, and the Daughters were honored with a tea party at the American Legion Hall. The 50th and 60th annual conferences were also held on Galveston Island in 1949 and in 1959.
Today, there are 185,000 members of the Daughters of the American Revolution in 3,000 chapters across the U.S. and internationally. Since its founding, more than 1 million women have held memberships in the organization.
In Galveston, the 123-year-old George Washington Chapter continues to serve and enrich community. With a current membership of 140 women, the group creates educational displays for dozens of schools throughout the county. They donate American flags, flag poles, and school supplies for local classrooms. Each year, scholarships are presented to high school students who win the D.A.R. essay contest.