Reflections From the Librarian General

Written by: Patricia Hatfield, Librarian General
March 6, 2019

Collecting and preserving records has been my passion in life.  As Librarian General, I have had an opportunity to indulge my passion.  Marriage, birth, death, Bible records, or any record that shines a light on the past is important to the DAR Library.  The role of the Library is to be a fundamental part of helping women join the DAR. The growth of membership is essential to our National Society.  The past three years has seen growth in the number of records added to the GRS with the addition of the Patriot Records Project, the WPA collection, plus many more records collected by the membership. The WPA collection includes what is commonly called the “Inventory of County Archives” a collection which encompasses the entire United States.  The book collection has also grown with the donations provided by Daughters.

I am proud of the progress the library has made during my term in upgrading to new catalog software, the addition of book scanners, the continuing lecture series, and the incorporation of Seimes into the library’s computer area.  The databases offered to library users has grown considerably. These resources are only available inside the library due to the database licenses, but they include, Early American Newspapers, American Ancestors, and the most recent, Colonial America. This most recent addition is a unique database of British records from the Colonial period.  The library has many primary source records on microfilm and is a Family History Library Affiliate Library, an arrangement which allows better access to records digitized by the LDS Church.

 Another important source for Daughters is the collection of manuscripts. These documents are unpublished research notes, letters, and genealogies from many sources given over the years. 

It is hard to believe that these three years have gone by so quickly, and the highlights are many.

As an Executive Officer, I had the opportunity in Paris to stand at the Arc de Triomphe with the President General as she laid a wreath at the tomb of the unknown. What a thrill for all of us to visit the grave of General Lafayette and his wife. The refrain was “Lafayette, we are here”.  Our group briefly experienced what life was like living in a muddy trench during World War I, and of course, we saw the cemeteries where many French and American soldiers lay buried.

Other memorable experiences I will remember are walking the grounds of Mount Vernon at daybreak viewing the rising of the sun over the river just as George Washington must have done as a Virginia planter.  What an experience.   Our pilgrimage to Arlington Cemetery was one of solemn reverence as we saw the price of freedom paid by so many. 

It has been a wonderful three years Moving Forward in Service to America.  I truly appreciate the opportunity to be part of the Dillon Administration. 

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