A Brief History of The DBE in Pennsylvania

The Daughters of the British Empire in Pennsylvania was begun May 14, 1913 with the Connaught Chapter whose charter was signed by Mrs. J. Elliott Langstaff, founder of the organization itself in 1909. By April 14, 1920 the organization had grown nationally. Representatives of seven states, including Mrs. C. Beatrice B. Fox of Philadelphia, signed the National Covenant of the “National Society, Daughters of the British Empire in the United States of America,” in the City of Philadelphia. In states where there is a British Consul, his wife is the Honorary State President. Currently, Dr. Patricia Mikols, wife of Honourary British Consul Oliver St. Clair Franklin, OBE, serves as the Pennsylvania Honourary State President.

Women eligible for membership are those of proven British or British Commonwealth birth or ancestry and the wives or partners of persons of proven British Commonwealth birth or ancestry.

The primary objective of the Pennsylvania DBE is the support of the Victoria Home in Ossining, New York and to this end various fundraising endeavours take place throughout the year. The average annual donation is $15,000 thousand dollars, represents 80 percent of the monies raised by 10 chapters. These chapters also “adopt” the residents and individually gift them on birthdays and holidays, as well as correspond and visit with them periodically. At various times chapters as well as the State Board have raised additional funds to purchase specific medical equipment needed by the home and its residents. The National Motto is “Not Ourselves, but the Cause” promises that the DBE will never forget these elderly people who depend upon us.

The secondary objective of the DBE is to foster an understanding of British and British Commonwealth cultures and traditions. You will find DBE’s volunteering in libraries, hospitals, historical societies, churches and schools. As much as 20% of monies raised goes to local charities which include women's shelters and childrens charities.

In May 1998 Pennsylvania became the host state for the three-year term of the 27th Administration of the National Board. (The last time Pennsylvania had a National President was in 1950.) This translates into Pennsylvania members providing Chapter Officers, State Officers and National Officers. Fully one third of our members have worked as volunteers over this period of time in order for the organization to function locally as well as Nationally. There are no paid employees within the organization. Not too many philanthropic organizations can make this claim.

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