Sarah Josephine Meredith Langstaff founded the Daughters of the British Empire (DBE) in 1909. The DBE in Pennsylvania started on May 14, 1913, when Mrs. Langstaff signed the Connaught Chapter’s Charter.
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 each state where there is a British Consul, his/her wife serves as the Honorary State President. In Pennsylvania, Dr. Patricia Mikols, wife of Honourary British Consul Oliver St. Clair Franklin, OBE, fulfills this role.
The primary objective of the Pennsylvania DBE is the support of the Victoria Home in Ossining, New York. To accomplish this, we host various fundraising activities, throughout the year. The average annual State donation is $15,000, which represents 80 percent of the monies raised by our chapters. These chapters also “adopt” the residents and individually send them presents/cards on birthdays and holidays, as well as correspond and visit with them periodically. From time-to-time individual chapters and the State Board have raised funds to purchase specific medical equipment needed by the home and its residents. The National Motto, “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 sisters volunteering in libraries, hospitals, historical societies, churches and schools. Up to 20% of monies raised goes to local charities (e.g., women's shelters and children's charities).
There are no paid employees within the organization. Not too many philanthropic organizations can make this claim.