The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) was founded on October 11, 1890 by four determined women and a supporting patriotic citizens. The four founders were not traditional. They were: Mary Desha, Mary S. Lockwood, Ellen Walworth and Eugenia Washington.
On October 11, 1890, eighteen women and four men met in Washington to organize the Daughters of the American Revolution.
The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) was founded in New York City on April 30, 1889. Some SAR societies permitted women and some did not. At the next year’s general meeting on April 30, 1890, the matter was put to a vote and the SAR decided to officially exclude women from its membership.
This sparked controversy in the national press, and caught the attention of Mary Smith Lockwood. Mrs. Lockwood wrote an editorial that was published in the Washington Post on July 13, 1890 which included the question, “Were there no mothers of the Revolution?”
William O. McDowell, Vice President General of SAR, disagreed with the vote and believed that women should form their own similar patriotic organization. He wrote his own letter to the Post, which was published on July 21, where he urged women to organize their own organization and even offered his assistance.
Eighteen women attended the first official organizing meeting held on October 11, 1890 at the Strathmore Arms boarding house at 810 12th Street, the home of Mrs. Lockwood. These include the four women traditionally considered to be the organization’s founders: Mrs. Lockwood, Miss Desha, Miss Eugenia Washington, and Mrs. Ellen Hardin Walworth. Four men also attended the meeting and formed the first Advisory Board to the NSDAR.