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Flora Adams Darling Papers

Identifier: Mss. 39.1 D25

  • Staff Only

Scope and Contents

Correspondence, chiefly 1890-1908, of Flora (Adams) Darling, concerning her founding of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the General Society of Daughters of the Revolution, and the National Society, United States Daughters of 1812. Prominent correspondents include Edward William Bok, Jessie Benton Fremont, William Archer Rutherfoord Goodwin, George Frisbie, John Tyler Morgan, William Mahone, Alexander Hamilton Stephens, and Lyon Gardiner Tyler.

Also included are family correspondence, letters from Spanish Ambassador E. Dupuy deLome, Mrs. Darling's writings, correspondence about her gifts to Bruton Parish Church and the College of William and Mary, newspaper clippings, and miscellany.

Acc. 2008.225 addition is a research paper by Robert P. Sutton, a graduate student in the Department of History, entitled "Darling Papers"; which describes this collection and includes transcriptions of many letters. Filed in box 1 of collection.


  • Creation: 1862-1908
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1890-1908


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access:

Collection is open to all researchers. Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, such as the Virginia Public Records Act (Code of Virginia. § 42.1-76-91); and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (Code of Virginia § 2.2-3705.5). Confidential material may include, but is not limited to, educational, medical, and personnel records. If sensitive material is found in this collection, please contact a staff member immediately. The disclosure of personally identifiable information pertaining to a living individual may have legal consequences for which the College of William and Mary assumes no responsibility.

Conditions Governing Use:

Before reproducing or quoting from any materials, in whole or in part, permission must be obtained from the Special Collections Research Center, and the holder of the copyright, if not Swem Library.

Biographical Information:

Flora Adams Darling was born in New Hampshire in 1840, a descendant of Henry Adams who settled in Braintree, Massachusetts, in 1636. She married Col. Edward Irving Darling, 22 years her senior, in 1860, and went with him to live at his Louisiana home. He died of wounds received in battle, December 2, 1863. Her only son was Edward Erving Darling, a minor musician-composer, who died July 13, 1894. Mrs. Darling suffered from repeated attacks of malarial fever and, after 1876, from deafness. Her years of widowhood were spent in writing i>, and other books.

From 1889 to 1896, her major interests and efforts were devoted to the founding of women's patriotic societies. Mrs. Darling's obsession for organizing and ruling patriotic societies, and her willingness to abandon one when her opinion or desires were thwarted, is illustrated by the rapid succession with which the societies followed each other: Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) founded October 11, 1890; Daughters of the Revolution (D.R.) founded June 18, 1891; Daughters of the United States of the War of 1812, founded January 8, 1892; founded because of disagreement over policies of the D. A. R., policies adopted over the protest of Mrs. Darling. This collection is composed almost entirely of letters written to her during these years of controversy. There are some delightful, pithy and well-written letters in the group.

Further information about this individual or organization may be available in the Special Collections Research Center Wiki:


10.00 Linear Feet

Arrangement of Materials:

Organization: This collection is organized into 7 series. Series 1 contains letters and information pertaining to the Daughters of the American Revolution; series 2 contains letters and information pertaining to the Daughters of the Revolution; series 3 contains letters and information pertaining to the Daughters of 1812; series 4 contains Official correspondence, bills, and reports; series 5 contains personal letters, series 6 contains miscellaneous items and series 7 contains an addition to the collection, 1993.59. Arrangement: This collection is arranged into series by subject.

Acquisition Information:

Gift: 4,536 items, 1908. Acc. No. 1993.59; Gift: ca. 50 items, 1993.

Related Materials:

Artifacts added to the Manuscripts Artifact Collection (Mss. 1.03) include: Miniature American Flag (Mss 39.1D25.A01) and Daughters of the Revolution Ribbon (Mss. 39.1D25.A02).

See also letters to Lyon G. Tyler, 1905-1909, concerning the College of William and Mary, historical matters, gifts to the College Library, fund raising writings, portraits of Flora Adams Darling and Jefferson Davis in the President's Office Files, c. 1888-1935, under "Fund raising-Flora Adams Darling." Archives Acc. 1984.19. (27 items)

Grover Cleveland Collection (SC, SCRC)

Separated Materials:

Artifacts added to the Manuscripts Artifact Collection (Mss. 1.03) include: Miniature American Flag (Mss 39.1D25.A01) and Daughters of the Revolution Ribbon (Mss 39.1D25.A02).

Alternate Extent Statement

4700 items


Additional information may be found at

Guide to the Flora Adams Darling Papers
Special Collections Staff.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • May 24th, 2018: Updated by Anne Johnson in 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository