Daughters of American Revolution donate rare collection to Advanced Learning Library

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) brought a rare piece of history to the Advanced Learning Library on Saturday. The collection, formerly housed in Dodge City,

features genealogical information and valuable resources for research.

“We moved 5,500 books into the research pavilion so more people can have access,” Rebecca Kline, state regent, said. “They are in a protected, climate-controlled environment and we really needed that.”

The DAR originally planned to donate the collection three years ago but was postponed due to the pandemic. Moving the books from Dodge City was an intentional decision that aims to give the information new life in an accessible city. 

“Wichita is a bigger city and the library has so many amenities to bring people in,” Kline said. “Our Kansas members can get here easily via the highway.”

DAR’s collection is the largest single donation the library has accepted. The collection includes family ancestries and Kansas history that cannot be found elsewhere, creating unique research opportunities for all patrons.

“Everything is not online in life,” Kline said. “There’s actual books for people to understand where they come from and now they have open access.”

DAR is a non-political national organization of women who can trace their lineage back to individuals involved in the American Revolution. Founded over a century ago, the women’s service organization includes over a million members. 

“You have to be a lineal descendant of an American patriot. That’s considered

anything that was providing aid to the continental army,” Linda Jensen, state registrar, said. “It can be someone like Nicholas Bishop, who was part of the Lexington Alarm. Others descended from women who melted toy soldiers to make bullets.”

For some women, DAR is more than an organization to simply participate in. Long-term members have created lasting connections with the organizations through multiple generations of devoted women. 

“I am a 50-plus-year member, and I didn’t even join until I was 40. I joined because my mother wanted to be a member,” Katheryn Compton, senior member, said. “I have been a chapter officer, state officer and national officer. 

Members enjoy meeting fellow patriots and demonstrating their pride through service. Chapters often pick up projects such as trash clean-ups, honor flight receptions for veterans and card making. DAR also offers scholarships for younger women on their website (dar.org).

“If it ties to education, historical preservation, or patriotism, we’ve probably done it,” Jensen said.