NSDAR Manhattan 125th Committee, which included Bonnie Comley, Joyce Hanly, Linda Rhodes Jones, Hannah Krause, Muriel Roberts, Doris Simmons, and Sarah Lynch, plotted a celebration at The Players, an iconic venue steeped in history. Amidst the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets of Manhattan, there’s a hidden gem dedicated to preserving America’s rich history: The Manhattan Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The Manhattan Chapter of the NSDAR is not just a testament to the enduring spirit of the American Revolution; it’s also celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. Let’s delve into the remarkable history, initiatives, and indomitable spirit of the Manhattan Chapter of the DAR as it marks this significant milestone.
NSDAR is a non-profit and non-political society led, staffed, and funded entirely by women dedicated to supporting the mission and interests of education, historic preservation, and inclusive patriotism. Today’s DAR is a 21st-century organization with a vibrant, diverse membership, sharing service opportunities, developing leadership skills, and an appreciation of history. There are nearly 180,000 current members of the DAR in approximately 3,000 chapters across the United States and in several other countries. The organization is one of the most inclusive genealogical societies in the United States. Membership in the DAR today is open to all women, regardless of race or religion, who can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving United States independence.
Founded in 1898, the Manhattan Chapter of the DAR has played a pivotal role in connecting Manhattanites with their historical roots. This year, as it celebrates its 125th anniversary, it continues to uphold the tradition of honoring the sacrifices and achievements of its Revolutionary War ancestors. Through grassroots efforts, thousands of hours are donated to service by the DAR local chapters. The Manhattan Chapter NSDAR holds annual holiday gift drives to benefit men and women served through the Margaret Cochran Corbin VA Harbor Healthcare system in New York City. Support and comfort are provided to homeless veterans through HUD-VASH (Housing and Urban Development’s Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing). The Manhattan Chapter NSDAR has donated much-needed clothing, toiletries, and therapeutic gifts through the HUD-VASH team. The Manhattan Chapter NSDAR distributes copies of the Constitution of the United States of America annually to the senior ROTC Cadets at the Xavier High School Awards Ceremony. In addition, a scholarship is given to the outstanding cadet at the Spring awards ceremony through the Wilhelmena Rhodes Kelly Award. These are just a few examples of the mission-based initiatives supported by the women of the Manhattan Chapter NSDAR.
The chapter remains steadfast in fulfilling the DAR’s core mission: historic preservation, education, and inclusive patriotism. The Manhattan Daughters actively engage with these principles, and Manhattan’s history is intricately woven into the chapter’s mission. Over the years, members have supported restoring and maintaining historical landmarks in the city, ensuring that the past remains an integral part of the city’s present. Manhattan Regent Sarah Shea Lynch introduced guest speaker DAR State Regent Pamela Neth Barrack, who shared the news of the New York State 45th Regent restoration project.
The Manhattan Chapter NSDAR’s current leadership is Sarah Shea Lynch (Regent), Linda Rhodes Jones (Vice Regent), Evelyn Carmichael (Chaplain), Audrey Fields (Recording Secretary), Maggie Rhodes Nugent (Corresponding Secretary), Melanie Wells (Treasurer), Alyssa Ritch-Frel (Registrar), Eugenia Askren (Historian), Donna Horak (Librarian).
In a city where change is the only constant, the Manhattan Chapter of the DAR remains a steadfast guardian of history. Their 125-year legacy of preserving the past, fostering education, and promoting patriotism ensures that Manhattan’s history remains vibrant and enduring. As the Manhattan Chapter of the National Daughters of the American Revolution celebrates its 125th anniversary, it stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of the American Revolution. Their unwavering dedication to preserving the past, shaping the future, and engaging the community has left an indelible mark on the city’s heart. In a constantly evolving world, the Manhattan Daughters remind us that the connection to our history is a bridge to a brighter future, and they’ve been building that bridge for 125 remarkable years.