History’s Keepers: The Legacy of the NSCDA

Black and White Dumbarton House c 1920 Library of Congress

Since 1891, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) has worked to inspire a spirit of patriotism and a genuine love of country by creating widespread interest in the stories of our nation’s founding and development. The legacy of the NSCDA is continued in the work of its 15,000+ members, placing it among the national leaders in preservation of historic sites, buildings, gardens, art, and artifacts.

One hundred and twenty-five years ago, a group of about thirty men and women gathered in Philadelphia to consider forming a women’s organization dedicated to honoring the colonial history of the United States. Fifteen years earlier, the Centennial Exposition of 1876 revived popular interest in our nation’s earliest period. Architect Robert S. Peabody wrote at the time, “With our Centennial year have we not discovered that we too have a past worthy of study?”

Those gathered in Philadelphia agreed that our past was indeed worth studying, and the women in attendance formed the PA Society, the first Corporate Society of what would become the NSCDA, on April 8, 1891. Within three years, all thirteen of the original states and the District of Columbia had joined the NSCDA. By 1896, the NSCDA adopted a structure that would allow non-colonial states to join. Today, Corporate Societies in 43 states and D.C., made up of 15,000+ women descended from leaders in colonial America, work together Entrusted with History’s Future.

Click here to learn more through an interactive timeline!

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