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Collection Title: Children of the American Revolution, John Dodd Society Records Records

Collection Number: M101

Dates:1943 - 1962

Volume: .5 cu. ft.

Provenance:Materials in this collection were donated by Mrs. Kelly Love, active member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, on April 6, 1979.

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

The National Society of the Children of the American Revolution (NSCAR) is a patriotic service organization founded and adopted by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) on February 22, 1895. While it is technically a subsidiary of the DAR, it has its own constitution, by-laws, and national and state officers. The CAR is, however, closely tied to the DAR, in that, its officers must be members, in good standing, of the parent organization, and its national headquarters is located in the DAR complex in Washington, D. C. The CAR operates under a three-tiered arrangement of national, state, and local officers. National officers consist of a president and cabinet, who are elected every two years. Two major responsibilities of the National Society are overseeing state and local organizations, and publishing the CAR Magazine on a quarterly basis.

As its motto, the CAR chose "For God and Country", and the aims of the organization are best defined in the CAR creed, which was written by Ethel Vance Mosher: "I believe in the Children of the American Revolution as an organization for the training of boys and girls in true patriotism and love of country, in order that they shall be better fitted for American citizenship. As a descendant of the Founders of my country, I believe that my birthright brings a responsibility to carry on their work, and that as the boys and girls of 1776 took an active part in the War for Independence, so the boys and girls of today have a definite work to do for their country. As a child of the American Revolution, I believe it is my duty to use my influence to create a deeper love of country, a loyal respect for its Constitution, and a reverence for its flag, among the children with whom I come in contact."

State societies are directed by state presidents, who are appointed by the national president. Among their functions are supervising local affiliates, publishing monthly newsletters, conducting annual state conferences in various cities around their states, and participating in regional conferences in such locales as New Orleans, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia; and Jacksonville, Florida.

Local groups (called societies) operate under the supervision of a senior president, who must be a member, in good standing, of either the DAR or the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). Societies are usually sponsored by a chapter (local unit) of the DAR, and are open to both boys and girls. Children from birth to eighteen years of age whose lineage can be traced to a man or woman who honorably served the cause of American Independence during the Revolutionary period are eligible for membership. After their eighteenth birthday, members who so desire may transfer to the DAR or the SAR. At this writing, there are 45 state groups and 800 local groups, with a total of 10,000 members.

The John Dodd Society of the Children of the American Revolution was founded in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, in April 1943, under the direction of the first senior president, Mrs. Robert M. Ross, who was appointed by the National Board of Management of the DAR. Mrs. Ross was a direct descendant of John Dodd, a Revolutionary soldier born in Farquier County, Virginia, in 1759. Dodd served from 1774 until the end of the war, including a stint in Captain Philip Lowe's company of volunteers in defense of the frontiers, and as a drummer boy in General Greene's army, under Captain Alex Dick. In his capacity as drummer boy, he was taken prisoner aboard the British ship, Muskito. He also served under General Thaddeus Kosciusko, and his admiration for the general led Dodd's grandson to propose Kosciusko as a name for a town in Mississippi (Attala County, in the central part of the state).

Members of the John Dodd Society, which was sponsored by the Norvell Robertson Chapter of the DAR, were primarily children of DAR members. The Society met monthly, between September and May, in the homes of members, and at the initial meeting, on April 10, 1943, Mary Ann Greer was elected the first junior president. Meetings consisted of a business session, followed by a patriotic or historical presentation. Musically inclined members often entertained the group, as well. Other activities of the society included packing Christmas boxes for the DAR owned Kate Duncan School in Grant, Alabama, and participating in civic projects, such as planting a cork oak tree at Hattiesburg's Kamper Park in 1954.

Due to declining interest, the John Dodd Society was disbanded, apparently, in the mid to late 1960s.

Scope and Content:

This collection is comprised of materials pertinent to the John Dodd Society of the Children of the American Revolution, and with the exception of a brief history of the Society, written by Mrs. John M. Frazier in about 1962, the materials in the collection are confined to the years 1943 - 1958.

Mrs. Frazier's history has been placed at the beginning of the collection in box one, folder one, followed by a handwritten book of minutes of monthly meetings (1943 - 1958) in folder two. Folder three contains treasurers' records (1943 - 1954), and folders four through six house copies of the Mississippi Society of the Children of the American Revolution news sheet, "The Magnolia Bud" (December 1951 - December 1954). The news sheets consist primarily of items concerning the State Society, but also contain news from national and local societies. Items worthy of note are: criteria for winning the Walker Travelling Cup and Standard of Excellence awards (June 1952 issue), and "Ode to Mississippi", a poem adopted by the State Legislature in 1902, as Mississippi's official ode (December 1954 issue).

The most definitive item in the collection is a scrapbook (in box two) which spans the years 1943 - 1954, and won the scrapbook award at the 1954 State CAR Convention in West Point, Mississippi. The scrapbook contains such informative items as organizational notes, newsclippings, state and regional conference programs, John Dodd Society yearbooks, and issues of "The Magnolia Bud" not found elsewhere in the collection. Scrapbook items that may be of particular interest are a copy of the CAR song; a book of original prayers composed by CAR members; an account from the Hattiesburg American (December 22, 1953) on the origins of the Christmas carols -- "Silent Night", "O Little Town of Bethlehem", and "Joy To the World"; and a brochure from the Stephen Foster Memorial on the Suwannee River in White Springs, Florida (a memento of the CAR Southeastern States Regional Conference held in Jacksonville, Florida, in August 1953).

Although small, this collection should be of interest to researchers of children's organizations, patriotic service organizations, and the CAR's parent organization -- the Daughters of the American Revolution. It also reflects the culture of the 1940s and 1950s. An example is an elaborate newspaper account of Kathleen Ross's marriage to Douglass Vardaman, found in the scrapbook. Miss Ross was the daughter of Mrs. Robert Ross, organizing president of the John Dodd Society.


Created by: Bobs M. Tusa
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Revised: November 10, 2004