The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America is an American organization composed of women who are descended from an ancestor "who came to reside in an American Colony before 1776, and whose services were rendered during the Colonial Period." The organization has 45 corporate societies and over 15,000 members. The national headquarters are at Dumbarton House in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.
The organization was founded in 1891, shortly after the founding of a similar society, the Colonial Dames of America (CDA). The main difference between the two is that the CDA was created to have a centrally organized structure under the control of the parent Society in New York City.
The NSCDA was intended as a federation of State Societies in which each unit had a degree of autonomy. Another society formed around the same time was the Daughters of the American Revolution. Organized following the United States Centennial of 1876 and a Centennial in New York in 1889 (celebrating the Constitution), they built on renewed interest in America's past to work for preservation of historic collections and buildings, and education related to United States history. The NSCDA has been a leader in the field of historic preservation, restoration and the interpretation of historic sites since its New York Society first undertook the preservation of the Van Cortlandt House in 1897.
In November 2000, the NSCDA received the prestigious Trustee Emeritus Award for Excellence in the Stewardship of historic sites from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Today 41 diverse properties are owned outright by the Corporate Societies of the NSCDA, 13 additional museum collections are owned by the Dames and 30 more properties receive substantial volunteer and financial support from Dames.
The NSCDA has a regular periodical, the Dames Dispatch.
The organization includes 45 Corporate Societies with over 15,000 members. The Society headquarters is located at Dumbarton House (pictured below), in Washington, D.C. In addition to its broad based activities in the museum field, the Society sponsors a number of scholarship programs and other historic preservation, patriotic service and educational projects to further the aims and objects of the Society. Historic house museums owned or operated by the NSCDA, include:
- Andrew Low House, Savannah, Georgia
- Burgwin-Wright House, Wilmington, North Carolina
- Henry B. Clarke House, Chicago, Illinois
- Dumbarton House, Washington, DC, the Society's national headquarters
- Governor Stephen Hopkins House, Providence, Rhode Island
- Gunston Hall, Mason Neck, Virginia
- Hanover House, Clemson, South Carolina
- Haywood Hall, Raleigh, North Carolina
- Hermann-Grima House, New Orleans, Louisiana
- Historic Indian Agency House, Portage, Wisconsin (www.agencyhouse.org)
- Hoover-Minthorn House, Newberg, Oregon
- Lanier Mansion, Madison, Indiana
- Liberty Hall, Frankfort, Kentucky
- McElroy Octagon House, San Francisco, California
- Palace of the Governors, Sante Fe, New Mexico
- Plum Grove Historic House, Iowa City, Iowa
- Stenton, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Ximenez-Fatio House, St. Augustine, Florida
- Mount Clare, Baltimore, Maryland
- McAllister House Museum, Colorado Springs, Colorado
- Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum, Wethersfield, Connecticut
- Hotel de Paris Museum, Georgetown, Colorado
- Joel Lane Museum House' Raleigh, North Carolina
- Old First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, Wilmington, Delaware
- Tate House, Portland, Maine
- Moffat-Ladd House, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
- William Hickling Prescott House, Boston, Massachusetts
- Wilton House Museum, Richmond, Virginia
A more complete listing, with links to many of the state societies and their historic properties, is included on the official website.
- Sons of the American Revolution (SAR)
- Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.)
- The Mayflower Society