Origins of The King’s Daughters and Sons


In the 1880’s, New York City was a city of great wealth, and great poverty. The influx of immigrants made work difficult to find, leading to exploitation of workers in all fields, and inadequate legislation to protect women and children working in ‘sweat shops.’

At this time there were few charity organizations to help the poor, sick and homeless. While churches in the city worked to offer relief, there were no interchurch organizations, making the coordination of efforts difficult.

The KDS began as the brainchild of Margaret Bottome, the wife of a New York Methodist clergyman. Inspired by the life of Christ, Mrs. Bottome was keenly aware of the desperate plight of many of New York City’s underprivileged, and frustrated there was no coordinated effort by the city’s churches to help.

In January 1886, Mrs. Bottome invited nine of her Christian friends to an organizational meeting. Out of their strength and commitment, The King’s Daughters was founded for the “development of spiritual life and the stimulation of Christian activities.”

Since then, The KDS has grown into a world-wide organization of caring and compassion. Local groups, called Circles, form the foundation of our organization. In some areas, groups of Circles join together in networks called Unions, while Branches are made up of all Circles, Unions and members-at-large in a state or province.

Since to look upward is to trust, to look forward is to hope, and to look outward is to feel the woes of others, the members choose for their motto…

  • Look up and not down
  • Look forward and not back
  • Look out and not in
  • Lend a hand

And since Christ lives through this motto, they took for their watchword, “In His Name”. It’s this motto that continues to guide The Kings Daughters and Sons to this day.