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Stamford Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Abigail Harper Chapter
The information for this article was compiled from minutes books dated 1918-1960 and History of NYS Conference DAR books currently housed at the Stamford Village Library.
By Karen Cuccinello January 2013
The Chapter was organized in March 1918 with 18 charter members and the following officers: Regent Miss Laura Elerson Becker, Vice-Regent Mrs. Emily Cook Bennett, Recording Secretary Mrs. Ethel Welsh Lewis, Corresponding Secretary Mrs. Grace VanDyke Hanford, Treasurer, Mrs. Elizabeth McPherson, Registrar Mrs.Helen Grant Taylor, Historian Mrs. Carrie Powell Grant, Pianist Miss Nelle Wyckoff Becker and Assistant Secretary Mrs. Marion Platner. The National DAR was organized in 1890 and their mission is “Historical Preservation, Education and Patriotism.”
Their first name of their group was “Head of the Delaware” which they changed to Abigail Harper in June of 1918. The headquarters in Washington requested that they change their name to have Revolutionary significance. The annual dues were $2 and the initiation fee for new members was $5. Meetings were most often held at members houses and sometimes at community halls or restaurants. They decided that at the conclusion of their regular meetings they would spend the balance of the afternoon together socially; equipped with knitting or thimble work etc. and conclude with a social cup of tea.
Meetings were opened with the pledge to the flag, singing of assorted patriotic songs and the Lord’s Prayer and or scripture reading, and closed with a patriotic song or recitation. Most meetings had a program of patriotic or historical significance. The speakers were usually members but they also had guest speakers.
In 1919 they framed their Charter certification, purchased badges (at .22 each) and held a card party fundraiser. Their treasury was around $20-$70 through the 1930’s and crept over $100 in the 1950’s. Average attendance at meetings was about 12-20 members. In 1946 there were 52 members. Delegates were appointed to attend national and state DAR conventions. They often were invited to attend meetings and or luncheons at other DAR groups around Delaware County, Oneonta, and Cobleskill.
In 1937-38 members were appointed to lead the following committees: yearbook, ways and means, hospitality, membership, flowers, motion picture, conversation, correct use of flag, Ellis Island, genealogical records, historical research, national defense, Americanism, girl home makers, student loan, publicity, nominating, advancement of music and Charter Day.
Their philanthropic endeavors that they contributed monies or supplies to: a French orphan following WWI, $5 to the student with the highest grade average in American History, The Harpersfield Monument, supplies and clothes to Elis Island (I believe to be given to immigrants), The Tamassee DAR school for underprivileged children in Tamassee, SC (the school was formed in 1919 and is still operating), American Indians on NY reservations, Chinese Relief, Red Cross overseas kit, blood plasma fund, Kate Duncan Smith DAR School (The school, located in Grant, AL, opened in 1924 and educates students in grades K-12 with an emphasis on patriotism. They are still in operation.), War Project Fund, Good Citizenship Reward given to students in Grand Gorge, Roxbury, South Kortright and Stamford schools, Crossnore School in NC for impoverished mountain children (Founded in 1913 and still in operation.), Delaware County Children’s Christmas Fund, Valley Forge Memorial Bell Tower Fund, March of Dimes, Red Cross Fund, Christmas Seal Campaign, gifts to Onadagua Indian Reservation and Tuberculosis Seal Fund.
Community service through the years: procured and framed a map of Delaware County, purchased copies of the American Creed and The Flag booklets to distribute, sent flowers for get well wishes, bought trees to plant in the village, gave American flag and pole to Bathgate Hospital in Stamford NY, ordered 300 booklets on correct use of the flag in 1951 for distribution to schools etc., placed flags on grave stones of veterans and transcribed 2,500 names from grave stones.
Officers of the Abigail Harper Chapter DAR in 1960: Mrs. Florence Kaufman Regent, Mrs. Howard Bailey Vice-Regent, Mrs. P. Guthrie Chaplain, Mrs. (Horace) Pauline Burns Recording Secretary, Mrs. Harold Ruland Corresponding Secretary, Mrs. H. Taylor Treasurer, Miss Ann Tabor Custodian, Mrs. George E. Scott Historian & Librarian and Mrs. Maurice Burnett Registrar. Annual dues went to $3 per member in 1960. The Stamford Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Abigail Harper Chapter continues to be active with 19 members and meets March through November on the third Thursday of the month in Terry Vamosy’s house at 1PM. The group has interesting programs at each meeting and once per year they select a senior at Stamford School to receive their Good Citizen award. Contact Terry at 607-652-7763 if interested in becoming a member of the DAR.
This pin is currently in the Stamford Village Library history room in the display cabinet.
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