United Daughters of the Confederacy

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This article is about the lineage society. For the United Daughters of the Confederacy Memorial Building, see Memorial to Women of the Confederacy.
United Daughters
of the Confederacy
United Daughters of the Confederacy logo.png
Abbreviation UDC
Motto "Think, Love, Pray, Dare, Live"
Established September 10, 1894; 120 years ago (1894-09-10)
Founders Caroline Goodlett,
Anna Raines
Type Patriotic-hereditary society
Legal status State chartered corporation
Headquarters Memorial Building,
328 North Boulevard,
Richmond, Virginia
Region served
Membership (2012)
Official language
Pamela Trammell
Frances Woodruff
Publication UDC Magazine
Subsidiaries Children of the Confederacy
Affiliations Sons of Confederate Veterans
Website hqudc.org
Formerly called
National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy

The United Daughters of the Confederacy, Inc. is an association of female descendants of Confederate veterans. It was founded on September 10, 1894.[1]


It was especially influential in the early twentieth century across South, where its main role was to preserve and uphold the memory of the Confederate veterans, especially those husbands, sons, fathers and brothers who died in the war. Its long-term impact was to promote the Lost Cause image of the antebellum plantation South as an idealized society crushed by the forces of Yankee modernization.[2]


Across the Southern United States, associations were founded after the Civil War, chiefly by women, to organize burials of Confederate soldiers, establish and care for permanent cemeteries for Confederate soldiers, organize commemorative ceremonies, and sponsor impressive monuments as a permanent way of remembering the Confederate cause and tradition.[3] They were "strikingly successful at raising money to build Confederate monuments, lobbying legislatures and Congress for the reburial of Confederate dead, and working to shape the content of history textbooks."[4] They also raised money to care for the widows and children of the Confederate dead. Most of these memorial associations eventually merged into the United Daughters of the Confederacy, which grew from 17,000 members in 1900 to nearly 100,000 women by World War I.[5]

The organization encouraged women to publish their experiences in the war, beginning with biographies of major southern figures, such as Varina Davis' of her husband Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy. Later, women began adding more of their own experiences to the "public discourse about the war", in the form of memoirs, such as those published in the early 1900s by Sara Pryor, Virginia Clopton and Louise Wright and others. They also recommended structures for the memoirs. By the turn of the twentieth century, a dozen memoirs by southern women were published. They constituted part of the growing public memory about the antebellum years and the Lost Cause, as they vigorously defended the Confederacy.[6]

After 1900 the UDC became an umbrella organization coordinating local memorial groups.[7] The goal was to foster and shape public memory across the South by promoting visibility and a positive image of Confederate veterans. The UDC women specialized in sponsoring local monuments to anonymous soldiers. After 1945, they were active in placing historical markers along Southern highways.[8]

The UDC has also been active in national causes during wartime. According to the organization, during World War I, it funded 70 hospital beds at the American Military Hospital on the Western front and contributed $82,000 for French and Belgian war orphans. Homefront campaign raised $24 million for war bonds and savings stamps. Members donated over $800,000 to the Red Cross. During World War II, the U.D.C. gave financial aid to student nurses.

Children of the Confederacy[edit]

The UDC has a youth auxiliary called the Children of the Confederacy (CoC). The UDC is open to both males and females "from birth" to the CoC convention after their 18th birthday, who can trace their lineage to a Confederate ancestor, or to a member of the UDC. The group has historically held meetings with veterans, widows and historians of the Civil War, observed Confederate Memorial Days, decorated graves, sponsored scholarships and published pamphlets and catechisms presenting the "Southern version" of the Civil War.[9] Today they also engage in activities such as book drives for Beauvoir, fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House, canned food drives as well as veterans causes.[10][11] The first CoC chapter was organized by the Mary Custis Lee Chapter of the UDC in Alexandria, Virginia in 1896. It was formally incorporated on May 6, 1897. New chapters were established in Virginia and Alabama by 1898.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UDC Handbook 2013, pp. 3, 11.
  2. ^ Karen L. Cox, Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and preservation of Southern Culture (University Press of Florida, 2003) pp. 1-7
  3. ^ Cynthia Mills and Pamela H. Simpson, eds., Monuments To The Lost Cause: Women, Art, And The Landscapes Of Southern Memory (2003)
  4. ^ Faust 2008, pp. 237–247.
  5. ^ Blight 2001, pp. 272–273.
  6. ^ Gardner 2006, pp. 128–130.
  7. ^ Janney, 2012
  8. ^ H. E. Gulley, "Women and the Lost Cause: Preserving A Confederate Identity in the American Deep South." Journal of Historical Geography (1993) 19#2 pp 125-141
  9. ^ Free Speech and the Lost Cause in the Old Dominion Fred Arthur Bailey The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography , Vol. 103, No. 2, "Play the Bitter Loser's Game": Reconstruction and the Lost Cause in the Old Dominion (Apr., 1995), pp. 2350-1
  10. ^ "Children of Confederacy Active in Community Service". Timesexaminer.com. 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  11. ^ "Children of Confederacy, DAR bring gifts to vets". Sptimes.com. Retrieved 2013-02-11. 
  12. ^ Rutherford 1916, p. 28.


  • Blight, David (2001). Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. 
  • Cox, Karen L. Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture (University Press of Florida, 2003)
  • Faust, Drew (2008). This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 
  • Gardner, Sarah (2006). Blood And Irony: Southern White Women's Narratives of the Civil War, 1861-1937. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. 
  • Gulley, H. E. "Women and the Lost Cause: Preserving A Confederate Identity in the American Deep South." Journal of Historical Geography (1993) 19#2 pp 125–141.
  • Janney, Caroline E. Burying the Dead but Not the Past: Ladies' Memorial Associations and the Lost Cause (Univ of North Carolina Press, 2012); shows the UDC worked closely with local memorial associations
  • Mills, Cynthia and Pamela H. Simpson, eds. Monuments To The Lost Cause: Women, Art, and the Landscapes of Southern Memory (2003)
  • Rutherford, Mildred Lewis (1916). What the South May Claim. Athens, Georgia: M'Gregor Co. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  • United Daughters of the Confederacy, Business Office (2013). U.D.C. Handbook (6th ed.). Richmond, Virginia. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Foster, Gaines M. (1987). Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Parrott, Angie (1991). "'Love Makes Memory Eternal': The United Daughters of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, 1897–1920," in Edward Ayers and John C. Willis, eds. The Edge of the South: Life in Nineteenth-Century Virginia, Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia.
  • United Daughters of the Confederacy, Business Office (2013). Minutes of the One Hundred and Nineteenth Annual General Convention of the United Daughters of the Confederacy held in Richmond, Va. November 1-5, 2012. Richmond, Virginia: Author. 
  • United Daughters of the Confederacy, History Committee (ed.) (1988). The History of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Vol. III). Raleigh, North Carolina: Edwards & Broughton.