Unveiling the 125th Anniversary Commemorative Issue of American Spirit

Written by: Courtney Peter, Publications Coordinator, DAR Magazine Office
September 18, 2015

Considering that the September/October 2015 American Spirit was 125 years in the making, it’s no surprise that crafting this special edition commanded our attention for much of 2015. Copies are expected to reach mailboxes by today. We are thrilled to finally share this anniversary gift with you!

Not only does this issue undertake the monumental task of covering the National Society’s 125 years of service to America in a mere 48 pages, but it also reaches quadruple the audience of a regular edition because it is being sent to all DAR members. Everyone on the American Spirit team put in an enormous amount of work to create a commemorative Quasquicentennial keepsake for Daughters to treasure. Now that the magazine is on its way to members around the world, we’d like to share a bit more about how it all came together.

For this landmark issue we set out to design a visually stunning cover that represents both the Society’s rich history and its vibrant membership. Usually the job of deciding on an issue’s cover is left to the last week of the production cycle, but in this case we knew we needed more time. Concept discussions began in February. It was Editor in Chief Denise Doring VanBuren’s idea to create a collage of many small photos that, when arranged together, form one main image. After much brainstorming about what the main image should be and what kinds of individual photos to use, we came up with a plan that showcases one of the National Society’s historic treasures as well as the nearly 1 million women who built DAR into the thriving organization it is today.

Daughters may recognize the bronze eagle in the main image as the stately, shining lectern presented to the National Society in 1905 by the Flintlock and Powderhorn Chapter of Rhode Island. (For more about the lectern’s history, click here.) The eagle also pays homage to a beloved American symbol and the emblem of the Young Administration.

Hundreds of photos of DAR members past and present—including the Four Founders, Real Daughters, Presidents General, and hardworking chapter members whose grassroots efforts promote historic preservation, education and patriotism in communities across the country—are tiled together to form the eagle. At our publishing partner Hammock Inc., production manager Patrick Burns used the 600-plus photos that DAR supplied to create a unique mosaic. The resulting cover artwork symbolizes the cumulative impact of the Society’s more than 940,000 members, who for 125 years have been united by the shared goal of honoring the men and women who achieved American independence.

There’s much more to see inside the issue, too. Feature stories on the enduring relevance of our Founders’ vision, the National Society’s genealogical resources, the DAR Museum’s upcoming exhibition, the Americana Collection’s 75th Anniversary and the Celebrate America! initiative illustrate how today’s projects and programs have built upon the organization’s foundational ideals. Through the insight of experts among the DAR leadership and staff, combined with tangible examples of how state societies and chapters put the DAR mission into action, we hope both to inspire awe at the Society’s accomplishments and reinvigorate members’ commitment to service.

Explore other special American Spirit 125th anniversary-related feature articles that illuminate DAR history.

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