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Sons of the American Revolution

National Society
of the
Sons of the American Revolution
Abbreviation SAR
Motto "Libertas et patria" (Latin)
"Liberty and Country"
Established April 30, 1889 (1889-04-30)
Type Patriotic-Hereditary society
Legal status Federally chartered corporation
Purpose Fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, educational
Headquarters 809 West Main Street,
Louisville, Kentucky
Region served
Official language
Affiliations Daughters of the American Revolution
Website .orgsar
Philadelphia Continental Chapter of the SAR at a ceremony commemorating the birth of Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier in Washington Square, Philadelphia

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Inc. is a

  1. ^ "Sons of the American Revolution." World Book Online Reference Center. World Book, 2013. Web. 9 May 2013.
  2. ^
  3. ^ The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Official Handbook (PDF). September 2012. p. 1. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Charles B. Schweizer. "SAR New Member Information" (PDF). Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  5. ^ Williams, Winston C. (ed.). Centennial History of the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution 1889-1989. Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Company. p. 9. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Suggested Induction Ceremony for New Members No. Two" (PDF). The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution Official Handbook Volume II: History, Organization and Protocol. The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  7. ^ (President Grant died in 1885 - prior to the founding of the S.A.R. - but he was a member of the "Sons of Revolutionary Sires". Though it had no direct connection with the SAR, its members were later granted admission to the Sons of the American Revolution after its organization if they so desired.)
  8. ^ Presidents who are SAR members (California SAR)
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "The California Compatriot" (PDF). California Society SAR. Spring 2007. p. 23. Retrieved 2007-09-04. 
  10. ^ SAR Handbook, VIII, pg 6. General MacArthur approved an SAR service medal bearing his likeness, and was the first recipient following his death in 1964. Websites accessed 28 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Political Graveyard". 
  12. ^ "Stony Point Battle Chapter Sons of the American Revolution". 
  13. ^ Short History of the Sons of the American Revolution. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  14. ^ "Recovery of the Remains of Patriot John Paul Jones". 
  15. ^ url=
  16. ^ url=
  17. ^ "Sons of American Revolution welcome Gates". Harvard University Gazette. Retrieved 15 January 2011. 
  18. ^ NSSAR Membership Roster 2009
  19. ^ Henry E. Chambers, History of Louisiana, Vol. 2 (Chicago and New York City: The American Historical Society, Inc., 1925), p. 247
  20. ^ "About Rod D. Martin". The Martin Organization. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 


  • National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution - Official Web site
  • National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution state websites
  • NSSAR Genealogical Library
  • Society of the Sons of the American Revolution-France
  • Sons of the American Revolution at DMOZ
  • Founder of Black Revolutionary War Patriots Foundation praises NSSAR
  • United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada
  • The Hereditary Society Community Of the United States of America
  • The Arkansas Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

External links

See also

Other notable/famous S.A.R. members

Public officials (S.A.R. members)

Military and Naval officers (S.A.R. members)

Medal of Honor recipients

Nobel Peace Prize recipients

Vice presidents Charles G. Dawes, Levi P. Morton and Nelson Rockefeller were SAR members.

In addition to the presidents mentioned above, presidents John Quincy Adams, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, James Garfield and Chester A. Arthur all had ancestors who supported the Patriot cause during the American Revolution and, thus, their descendants are eligible to join the SAR. Presidents Martin Van Buren and James Buchanan did not have qualifying ancestors.

Presidents Martha Washington would also qualify for SAR membership.

Note - Presidents Grover Cleveland, Richard Nixon, William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton and Barack Obama had or have qualifying lineage but did not join the Sons of the American Revolution. Presidents Woodrow Wilson, John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Ronald Wilson Reagan did not have qualifying lineage. All U.S. Presidents not mentioned above died prior to the founding of the SAR in 1889.

Presidents of the United States (S.A.R. members)

Notable SAR members

On other occasions a rosette in the Society's colors is worn on the wearers left lapel.

The insignia is normally worn suspended by a ribbon of blue, white and gold on the wearer's left breast. National officers and former state presidents wear the insignia suspended from a neck ribbon of the Society's colors.

Surrounding the relief of Washington in the center are the words "LIBERTAS ET PATRIA," a reminder of the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.[6]

  1. To have spiritual contentment
  2. To live without malice
  3. To weep over your sins
  4. To humble yourself at insults
  5. To love justice
  6. To be merciful
  7. To be sincere and open-hearted
  8. To suffer persecution

The cross's vertical bar represents the commandment "You Shall Love Your God"; the horizontal bar represents the commandment "You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself." The four limbs are a reminder of the four cardinal virtues; its eight points represent eight spiritual injunctions:

The SAR insignia consists of a George Washington in a center circle.

Symbolism of the SAR Insignia

The Society's headquarters, based in will be built. It will house The Genealogical Library, located on West Main Street across from the Louisville Slugger Museum. Merchandise has also been moved to the Main Street building, while the Museum is still located at the Fourth Street building until completion of the CAAH building in 2014. Currently the SAR is raising funds to finish the renovations of the building where the museum will be located. Plans are for renovation to begin in October 2012. All of the paid staff for the Sons of the American Revolution work at the headquarters in Louisville.

NSSAR Museum

The Sons of the American Revolution hosts two Leadership Meetings and one National Congress every year. The two leadership meetings are held in the Spring and Fall in Louisville, KY at the Brown Hotel. The National Congress is held at a different location every year during the Summer. The 2015 National Congress took place June 26-July 1 in Louisville, Kentucky. The 2016 National Congress will take place July 8–13 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The society is involved in historical research, raising funds for local scholarships and educational awards, and preservation of sites and documents related to the American Revolution. The SAR petitioned Congress to store Revolutionary era documents in a fire-proof area and make them available to the public, leading to the creation of the National Archives in 1913.[4] It is also active in cataloging and marking Revolutionary War patriot graves and conducts an annual Eagle Scout scholarship program. The society is active in promoting "patriotism," and was instrumental in the establishment of Constitution Day.[5] Several SAR societies and chapters have active color guard groups that appear in various public and private venues as a means of community outreach.

Indiana Society SAR Color Guard appearing with the recreated 19th US Infantry at an outdoor 4 July concert with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.


The Merchandise Department is located on the lower level of the SAR Genealogical Library, located at 809 West Main Street, just across the street from the Louisville Slugger Museum.

The society operates a Merchandise Department that sells items intended for both SAR members and the general public. Among the products available to the general public are: clothing apparel for men and women, Revolutionary War replicas such as Liberty Bells and Field Cannons, jewelry for men and women such as lapel pins and cuff links, along with cups, mugs, key-chains, books, CDs, videos and knickknacks. Items intended for SAR members only include: clothing, decals, license plate holders and frames, certificates and medals corresponding to SAR activities, medals designed to reward active and retired military personnel, firefighters, EMS, JROTC and ROTC, individuals involved in education, Eagle Scouts and many others.


Because of continuing growth, the SAR Library was moved in 2010 to a renovated building on West Main Street in the heart of the Historic Museum District of downtown Louisville. By this point, the Library collection had grown to over 58,000 items, mostly covering the Revolutionary War period, but also containing other genealogical materials. The library collection includes family histories, state genealogy materials, federal censuses, Revolutionary War pension applications, and CD collections, and the library separates materials based on State. The library also provides access to online research databases, including,, and Heritage Quest Online.

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution has held a collection of genealogical reference dating back to 1889. Materials were originally kept by the Secretary General or Registrar General up until 1926, when the materials were moved to the Registrar General's office in Washington D.C. in 1927, this collection was moved to the recently purchased Sixteenth Street Headquarters Building, and the collection had grown to 914 books by 1933. From this point until the move of Headquarters from Washington D.C. to Louisville, Kentucky, the book collection grew at a rapid pace, growing to approximately 25,000 items by 1988. At this point, the Library was on the Second floor of the Headquarters building on South Fourth Street, and possessed a 544-square-foot vault for books not out in the library due to space.

Genealogical library

The current President-General for 2015-2016 is Judge Thomas E. Lawrence from the Texas Society. He was sworn in as President-General at the 125th National Congress in Louisville, Kentucky. The Executive Director is Don Shaw of the Kentucky Society.

In addition to the larger meetings previously listed, there are over 60 standing and special committees that SAR members are appointed to in order to oversee the Society's welfare. Some of these committees include: facilities, insurance, genealogy, library, merchandise, medals and awards. All SAR members are welcome to participate on committees and are appointed by the Society's President General for a one-year term. There are no term-limits and all committee members have the right to vote on the committee's decisions.

The governance of the Sons of the American Revolution is made up of 10 National (General) Officers, 15 Vice-Presidents that preside over separate geographical regions and a Trustee elected from each state and international society. These officers meet several times over the year to discuss business pertaining to the society. The National Officers meet at least four times during their term of office, unless special meetings are called. The Trustees meet twice each year at the Society's Headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. These meetings, known as the Fall and Spring Leadership Meetings, are normally held in late September and early March. During the Leadership Meetings committee recommendations and the society's budget are approved. While only the National Officers, Vice-Presidents and Trustees have the right to vote on the floor, all SAR members are welcome to attend and may request appointment to committees. The National Officers and Trustees also meet during the National Congress held in late June or early July of each year. Unlike the Leadership Meetings which always take place at the Society's National Headquarters, the National Congress is held in different locations throughout the United States. Locations are often selected in order to honor a historical event in United States history or in the history of the SAR, and there is an effort to alternate the meetings between the Eastern and Western United States. The National Congress is responsible for electing the National Officers and approving changes to the Society's constitution, along with any other motions brought before it. In addition to the National Officers, Vice-Presidents and Trustees, State and International Society Presidents and specially elected delegates from each society also attend with voting privileges. The number of delegates are determined by each State or International Society's membership size.


No state society or chapter may discriminate against an applicant on the basis of race or creed. The SAR claims a membership of over 33,000 members in over 500 chapters representing all 50 states in the United States, as well as societies in Canada, Mexico, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Overall, about 175,000 descendants have been admitted since the founding of the S.A.R. in 1890.

Membership in the society is open to any male of "good repute" [2] who can prove lineal bloodline descent from an ancestor who actively supported the American Revolution.[3] Acceptable ancestors include:


Sons of the American Revolution grave marker, Old Ship Burying Ground, Hingham, Massachusetts

The SAR was formally granted a congressional charter by an act of Congress under Title 36 of the United States Code on June 9, 1906. The act was signed by President Theodore Roosevelt, who was a member.

The history of the SAR can be traced to the founding of the Daughters of the American Revolution on July 29, 1890.

The first organization of descendants of Revolutionary War patriots was established in San Francisco, California in 1876. A group of men who were descendants of Revolutionary War veterans gathered to celebrate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence and the founding of the United States. They also wanted to honor the men and women who pledged their lives, fortunes, and livelihood to the striving for independence from Great Britain. This group formed an organization called the Sons of Revolutionary War Sires (SRWS). There is, however, no direct link between the SRWS and the SAR except that members of the SRWS were permitted to join the SAR after its founding in 1889.



  • History 1
  • Membership 2
  • Governance 3
  • Genealogical library 4
  • Merchandise 5
  • Activities 6
  • NSSAR Museum 7
  • Symbolism of the SAR Insignia 8
  • Notable SAR members 9
    • Presidents of the United States (S.A.R. members) 9.1
    • Nobel Peace Prize recipients 9.2
    • Medal of Honor recipients 9.3
    • Military and Naval officers (S.A.R. members) 9.4
    • Public officials (S.A.R. members) 9.5
    • Other notable/famous S.A.R. members 9.6
  • See also 10
  • External links 11
  • Notes 12

The organization should not be confused with the John Austin Stevens and members of The Society of the Cincinnati. SAR Founder William Osborn McDowell disagreed with the Sons of the Revolution requirement at that time that all societies were to be subordinate to the New York society.


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