Our History

Organized on January 11, 1907, the Emily Nelson Chapter NSDAR was named in honor of Emily Nelson and her granddaughter, Emily Nelson Ritchie McLean, who served at the seventh President General of the National Society from 1905 to 1909. Mrs. McLean was passionate about genealogy and American history, and oversaw key projects including the construction of Memorial Continental Hall, the establishment of the NSDAR’s first scholastic scholarships for Berry College — which remains a DAR-sponsored school today — and efforts to preserve historical landmarks across the country.

The chapter’s first regent was Mary Lawrence Martin. In the early years of the chapter, its members focused on supporting the NSDAR Building Fund and raising funds for the DAR-sponsored schools. This legacy was carried forward for much of the 20th century, with many annual scholarships awarded. As the District of Columbia Society DAR has grown over the years, the chapter has been very grateful to welcome members from several other local chapters, including: the Marcia Burns Chapter NSDAR in 1981, the Captain Joseph Magruder Chapter NSDAR in 1985, the Potomac Chapter NSDAR in 1999, and the Abigail Hartman Rice Chapter NSDAR in 2003. When the Marcia Burns Chapter NSDAR merged with our chapter in 1981, we became the custodian of the historic landmark and one of the District of Columbia’s original Boundary Stones, Milestone No. 2, Southeast Line, which has been cared for by the chapter ever since.

Who We Are Today

The Emily Nelson Chapter NSDAR is a service-minded, inter-generational chapter that strives to advance historic preservation, education, and patriotism while supporting the objectives of the National Society. We are engaged in activities across these three mission areas, with a strong focus on serving active duty soldiers and veterans. We are vibrant, having members of all different backgrounds and skill sets. And foremost, we are united in our love of country and desire to make a difference in our community.


America was built on courage, on imagination, and on an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.
— President Harry S. Truman

*Photo credit: banner, J. Leahy; all other photos are auto-populated from Emily Nelson’s Instagram Page.