Origins of the LGAR
The Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic is the oldest women's hereditary organization in the United States. It is a national non-profit organization deeply rooted in history. During the years 1861-1865 various societies formed to aid and support the "Boys in Blue" as they fought to save the Union. Upon the formation of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1866 many of these women continued their efforts to aid the veterans and their dependants. On November 30, 1881, at Trenton, New Jersey, a meeting was held for the purpose of organizing a State Department of Aid Societies to formulate rules and regulations for work tending to benefit the G.A.R. At a second meeting held December 15, 1881, at Trenton, a charter was adopted, officers elected, and work began as the "Loyal Ladies League, Auxiliary to the G.A.R. Department of New Jersey". In an effort to consolidate the various societies which were being formed to assist the G.A.R. , Commander-in-Chief Paul Van Dervoort issued a call for a meeting to be held in Denver, Colorado, on July 25, 1883, for the purpose of organizing one national auxiliary Emphasis was placed on the statement that the new organization of "Loyal Ladies League" would be considered the Auxiliary to the G.A.R. and receive its official recognition. A debate ensued concerning eligibility for membership. The "Women's Relief Corps" of Massachusetts contended that all loyal women should have the privilege of joining while the "Loyal Ladies League" felt that the wives and blood kin of the veterans should have the right to eligibility. Voting decided that membership should be open to all loyal women thus making the "Women's Relief Corps" the recognized auxiliary to the G.A.R. In November 1886 the "Loyal Ladies League" changed their name to "Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic" and struck the words "Auxiliary to the G.A.R. In 1959 the "Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic was chartered by the Congress of the United States.
Objectives of the LGAR
The original objectives of the organization were to
- promote patriotism and loyalty to the Union
- participate in community service especially for the aid of veterans and dependants
Today's objectives remain the same with great emphasis on education and preservation of Civil War history. This is accomplished through
- local community and school programs
- monument and battlefield preservation
- fundraising for memorial and dedication ceremonies
- involvement in local activities including patriotic holiday observances and parades
Membership in the LGAR
Eligibility requirements include any female blood kin relative ten years of age or older of an honorably discharged Union soldier, sailor, or marine of the Civil War 1861-1865, as well as ex-army nurses. Most importantly, is the desire to honor the past through education and preservation.
For further information about the LGAR or for additional information regarding eligibility and/or applying for membership please visit the LGAR website at www.suvcw.org/LGAR or contact them directly at the address below.
The Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic
Headquarters (established at)
5070 S.W. 163rd Avenue
Aloha, Oregon 97007
E-mail the National President, Phyllis Houston
at Phyllis Houston@juno.com