Announcing the Digital Magazine Archive and American Spirit's Latest Awards

Written by: Sue Butler, National Chair, DAR Magazine Committee
August 8, 2014

Now, DAR members can access 118 years’ worth of DAR Magazine publications online via the new Digital Magazine Archive! This monumental repository, including issues spanning from 1892 to 2010, is available on the Members’ Website. Members can also reach the Digital Magazine Archive through the DAR Magazine Committee website and the Magazine and Newsletter section of the Members’ Website.

We are excited to add this new resource to the growing collection of digitized NSDAR reference materials, made possible by the President General’s Project, which funded the installation of fiber optic cable to increase the National Society’s Internet bandwidth. Last fall, Magazine Office staff compiled a complete set of DAR Magazine publications. The collection was sent out to a scanning company, which transformed more than a dozen boxes full of bound magazines, plus a few microfilms, into hundreds of thousands of digital images. After the Information Systems Department organized and formatted them, these became the Digital Magazine Archive.

This tremendous resource detailing our organization’s history includes a wealth of information, and its applications are endless. Use it to research a historic or commemorative marker placed long ago, to find out how various chapters contributed to World War II relief, or, as our President General did, to determine the given names of officers identified elsewhere only by their husbands’ names. Allow accounts of the work of earlier Daughters to fuel reflection and inspiration, especially as the National Society, state societies and chapters around the world plan to celebrate the 125th anniversary of NSDAR.

Currently, there is no searchable online index for the Digital Magazine Archive. As we investigate several possible indexing options, one factor that will guide our decision-making is the level of interest members show in this online archive. Page view statistics will be a key indicator for us, so if you are excited about this new digital reference please let us know by visiting and exploring the site.

We also have news about more recent publications. Earlier this summer we learned that American Spirit won two awards in the 2014 Awards for Publication Excellence (APEX) completion. The November/December 2013 issue received a Grand Award in the Magazines, Journals and Tabloids category. Photographer Allen Clark’s images for the November/December 2013 cover story “The Role of Another Lifetime: Historical Interpreters Illuminate Colonial Lives,” won an Award of Excellence. Most of these photos were shot on location at The American Village Citizenship Trust in Montevallo, Ala. (For more on the making of the historical interpreters story, see this November 2013 blog post.)

Of more than 2,000 entries judged in the completion, only 100 were honored with a Grand Award. American Spirit is proud to be part of that exclusive group, and we’re especially thrilled to be recognized for an issue that included several articles with DAR connections. Nancy Mann Jackson’s cover story “The Role of Another Lifetime” highlighted DAR members and others who bring history to life for modern-day audiences. In an article titled “Changing Faces,” DAR Museum Curator Olive Graffam showcased 11 feminine portraits from the Museum collection and traced the evolution of female portraiture from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century. And the Historic Homes department visited Belmont Hall in Smyrna, Del., which once was home of early Delaware State Regent Caroline Elizabeth Cloak Peterson Speakman.

APEX shared some of the judges’ comments about American Spirit, and they made us so happy we can’t resist sharing them: “This is a magazine that never fails to appeal. The design and layout are richly stunning, but the editorial well is the tour de force here. Features are thoroughly researched and presented in a lively and engaging manner. You find yourself reading each to the end. Top drawer in every respect.”

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