The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America


The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America is dedicated to furthering an appreciation of our national heritage through historic preservation, patriotic service and educational projects.


The NSCDA was founded in 1891 as an unincorporated association of Corporate Societies. Today, these non-profit Societies are in 44 states and include almost 16,000 members nationwide.

Since its inception, the NSCDA has been devoted to the preservation of the values that inspired the founders of our country in the Colonial period. Members of the NSCDA volunteer their time and are involved in projects that emphasize patriotism; honor our soldiers and veterans; educate our fellow citizens about our country’s heritage; and give scholarships.

Who We Are

  • We are 15,316 Dames in 45 Corporate Societies.
  • The 45 Corporate Societies consist of 44 State Societies and the District of Columbia. Each Society is in one of four Regions. A conference for the states in each Region is held every two years.
  • Our first Society, Pennsylvania, was founded in 1891,and Nevada became our newest State Society in 2008.
  • Our largest Society is North Carolina with1,673 members and our newest state, Nevada, has 12 members.
  • The original thirteen colonies are our Colonial State Societies. Each Colonial State Society has specific requirements for the qualifying services of ancestors and its own list of eligible ancestors.
  • There are over 9,700 approved ancestors, and 15 of the approved ancestors are women!

What We Do: Past and Present!

  • We own 41 historic properties and 13 museum collections, and we contribute to 30 other historic properties through substantial volunteer and financial support.
  • In 1896 the New York Society agreed to manage Van Cortlandt House, one of the first historic houses preserved in the U.S.
  • We build monuments:
    • at Arlington Cemetery, a memorial to those who lost their lives in the Spanish-American War is the first memorial erected by a women’s society;
    • at Plymouth Rock, a granite Doric portico for protection of the Rock to celebrate the 300thanniversary of the landing; and
    • on the National Mall in Washington a large bronze sculpture of George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration rights and owner of Gunston Hall Plantation.
    • We reconstruct historic sites –in 1907 to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the landing of English settlers, we rebuilt the Jamestown Church on the site and foundations of the original 1616/1640 church.
    • Our National Society preserves three museum houses: We own Dumbarton House, our National Headquarters House, an early 19thc. Federal period style house; we manage Gunston Hall, a mid-18thc. Virginia plantation; and for the Washingtons’ ancestral home, Sulgrave Manor in England, we created an endowment fund in 1924 and continue to support the house on the Board and with donations.
    • We support our military from supplying hospital ships during past wars to providing assistance today to troops abroad and families and veterans at home.
    • And we have been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation with the prestigious Trustee Emeritus Award for Excellence in Stewardship of historic sites!

How We Promote Our National Heritage

Historical Activities: Our survey of American samplers and pictorial embroidery of the 17th–19th c. is an update of a book published by Dames in 1921. On our NSCDA web site, we offer information on and pictures of 3,300 samplers. Since the 1970s we have been contributing information to the inventories of American Paintings and American Sculpture for the Smithsonian Institution. The Ancestor Bibliography Register provides online bibliographic references by or about our Colonial ancestors. Oral histories of Dames and others help us to capture the past with details of community and family life. And our many state projects focus on local history, preservation, and historical figures in the community.

Museum Properties

Our museum properties and collections present a broad range of architectural styles and periods encompassing mansions, simple farm houses, a luxurious hotel and a one room log cabin with a sod roof. The origins of our properties represent diverse cultures, including Spanish, French and English antecedents. Educational and tour programs at our historic properties include programs for all ages from interactive to self-guided.

Patriotic Service

We give scholarships in American history to graduate students, students and teachers and to American Indians pursuing careers in nursing. Our Congressional Seminar Essay Contest provides high school students a week in Washington to learn about our national government and to tour our nation’s capital. Support to our troops and veterans abroad and at home range from care packages for serving military to receptions honoring our veterans. Educational flag programs for students and welcome receptions for naturalized citizens are other ways we continue our traditions of patriotic ideals.

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Hoover Minthorn House Museum

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