The DAR, founded in 1890 and headquartered in
Washington, DC, is a volunteer women's service organization dedicated
to promoting and preserving American history, and securing America's
future through the education of children. Any woman is eligible
for membership who is not less than eighteen years of age and can prove
lineal, bloodline descent of an ancestor who aided in achieving
Who was Ann Pamela Cuningham?
Ann Pamela Cuningham was a daughter of a prominent South Carolina family. Although healthy and active as a young woman, she suffered a riding accident at age 17 that left her an invalid, often confined to her bed. Despite that, she became one of American's first preservationists and founded the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, in order to save President George Washington's home.
In 1853, the mother of Miss Cuningham passed by Mount Vernon, and was shocked at its neglect. Mrs. Cuningham realized that unless an effort was made to preserve Mount Vernon, it would be lost. Her daughter immediately began a campaign to save the home by writing to the Charleston Mercury, asking Southern women to save Mount Vernon. The story was picked up by other newspapers and the American preservation movement began. As the first historic preservation group in America, the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association was the stimulus for other efforts to identify and save significant historical sites.
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