In 1936, members of the Bernard Romans DAR chapter in Columbus were voting to donate 25 cents per member for “the Ellis Island project.” They continued for years, providing material to make clothing for immigrants. In that and subsequent years, they purchased flags for local students, hosted programs like “Improved Relations Between the United States and South America,” and collected 600 pounds of aluminum for national defense. Members remained busy, as they had since the chapter’s charter in 1914. All those tidbits of history recorded in minutes and scrapbooks are now safely preserved at the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library Archives. The documents tell of women committed to historic preservation, honoring patriots of the Revolutionary War and promoting patriotism.
Jane Smith has served as historian, scrapbook chair and a past regent of the chapter. For 13 years, she has kept an annual scrapbook of activities. Each year, that scrapbook has been presented at the state DAR conference, along with scrapbooks from other chapters across the state.
“This is a yearly reminder of events and work by members to promote patriotism and the history of our country,” Smith said. “As a safety and a historical sharing, the chapter decided to donate records to the library.”
The information will now be available to the public to view. Of particular note are minutes from 1937-1944.
“An exciting addition was given to the chapter by the son of a former member,” explained Smith. “Mrs. Lenore Ledbetter Ward of Aiken, South Carolina, passed away in 2016, and her son asked if we wanted the book. … It was so exciting and fascinating to read.”
Page after page documents projects like helping the city acquire dogwoods to plant along the approach to the Tombigbee River bridge, giving out history medals to students, holding rummage sales to help restore the Rosalie home in Natchez, planting shrubs around a marker at Franklin Academy. There were meetings at the Golden Goose Tea Room at “MSCW” and events such as “A Colonial Evening” held at the YMCA. There is even a nostalgic notation of the group receiving complimentary tickets to distribute to see “Snow White,” at the Princess Theater in March 1938.
The chapter donation to the library archives also includes more recent material, which will one day be the “history” future generations will research.
Library Archivist Mona Vance-Ali said, “This donation is a wonderful addition to the library archives as it preserves not only the history of the Bernard Romans DAR, but county history as well.”
Chapter records donated include two minute books and 12 scrapbooks.
DAR is a women’s service organization open to members from all backgrounds and interests. Any woman 18 or older, regardless of race, religion or ethnic background, who can prove lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible to join. Chapters focus on community service, preserving history, educating children and honoring and supporting those who serve the nation.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.