My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Monday, November 16, 2009

New Job at the DAR - Part 1


Daughters of the American Revolution Headquarters (DAR)
Washington, DC

When I realized that I began my new job at the DAR or NSDAR (National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution) in Washington, DC 20 years ago, I rushed to my old binder with all my saved papers. Good thing, as they helped refresh my memory of the days I worked there. My reason for writing this, (I know, not everybody writes about their jobs) is because, through facebook, I have noticed there are a fair number of DAR members and some who are working on their applications, and I thought they might be interested in this article. In addition, I think this will be in two parts, depending on the interest. However, I do know I will cover the DAR Library, which is open to all, genealogists love it that place.


My offer letter came in the mail, and it was dated November 14, 1989, and yes, I still have it. But leading up to the letter was something else. Imagine being a 40-something woman applying for a job, thinking already, I am too old, and having to be interviewed by two women bosses. They job shared, and of course, didn't work the same days. The first interview went very well, but a wave of nerves hit, and I called the office to say that I couldn't make the other appointment, as I had a dental appointment (which I did not). They were so accommodating and persistent, that they changed the date to about five days later. By then, I was ok. After the second interview, their evaluations of me went to the Vice President General for her review and approval...she is number two in the DAR. The reason being, I would work closely with her. Prior to all that, I had gone in to be "tested" as in a spelling test, typing test and given the once over, I am sure. The words were basically easy, but thank goodness I knew how to spell Revolution and descendant! I will always remember that. The actual starting day was probably the next Monday, and when I began, I felt right at home.


For five years I worked in Human Resources, on the second floor, the office was in front of the elevator, door usually closed. During those years, there wasn't a single day I didn't want to go to work, and the added bonus was being able to work on my genealogy (on breaks and lunch, of course). But besides the genealogy, there were a lot of wonderful events held at the Constitution Hall, which is part of the DAR complex.  This convention hall had seats for almost 4,000 people, and I remember seeing Hall and Oats, Diana Ross, she danced in the row in front of where I was sitting, and many others. One benefit of being an employee, we could see these concerts for free (sign-up system), and had the best seats, row L with the largest isle in front of our seats. During the first Iraq War, when nobody was travelling, I was very dismayed that Yanni cancelled his concert there. Of course one of the highlights every year was the DAR's convention, called Continental Congress. When I was there, it was always held during the anniversary week the American Revolution War began, which is in April 19th. There were a thousand or more beautifully dressed women from all over the states and possibly the world in the building. My first year of experiencing this event was almost overwhelming, not just because of all the women, but the job as well. I had to screen and select people to be guards, and assist with added personnel for the convention. Little time to check out the dresses and lots of overtime.

DAR Constitution Hall, mentioned above

There were often well known people in the building, either working or visiting or filming a movie. Phyllis Schafly was the National Chairman of the National Defense Department, her room was around the corner. Eddie Murphy was making the movie, "The Distinguished Gentleman" and I saw him a few times, and once about three feet away. And President Clinton came once or twice. The first time, he walked over from the White House, so a bunch of us ran out to see him. When some of us got word that he was leaving our building, we ran back out to the street, rather funny looking back now, when the director of the Library and I stood side by side waving at him.  The White House was about three blocks away.  I think during my years there, I saw him a good 20 times.


One aspect of the job that I really enjoyed, was taking many photos for the DAR that were used in their monthly magazine, and I had eight covers. The magazine office was near my office and I got to know the editor quite well, so when she asked if I could take pictures, I jumped at that chance. I may scan them, if anybody is interested.


This is it for the first part, already it is getting too long.  But, if you want to read about the DAR, here you go: http://www.dar.org/natsociety/whoweare.cfm  OR DAR Photos