Membership in the Colonial Dames of America Society

  The medallion of the Colonial Dames of America  


Welcome to The Colonial Dames of America, the oldest genealogical society for women in the United States. The society, founded in 1891, was established to commemorate the history of the thirteen American colonies and the men and women who founded them. Our missions are to preserve historic sites and objects, award scholarships, diffuse information associated with American history, inspire patriotism and promote social intercourse and fellowship.

An early member of our society, Julia Delafield, described the origins of the Colonial Dames in her 1904 history: “The founding of the Society was very natural and simple. In April, 1890, Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer and Mrs. John Lyon Gardiner were spending the day with Mrs. Archibald Gracie King at her home at Weehawken; after luncheon, when walking on the Bluff, near the spot where General Hamilton fell in the fatal duel, Mrs. Van Rensselaer said: ‘Let us found a patriotic society of women, descended from Colonial ancestry.’ Mrs. Van Rensselaer, whist speaking, overlooked hills and valleys consecrated by the sufferings of patriots. Within a radius of twenty miles was the long line of earth works, which the plow had not yet wholly effaced. Fort Washington, Fort Lee, Harlem, were familiar localities. The recollections connected with these battle-grounds, the sad retreat of our heroic army when the British entered the city, the joyful return when the seven years of warfare had given liberty and peace, these thoughts inspired the noble resolve to keep the memories green of our Colonial and Revolutionary Ancestors.”

Our Parent Chapter is located at our headquarters in New York City, where we maintain the historic Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden. We have thirty-four chapters, located throughout the United States and Europe, each supporting its own historic site or project. Membership, by invitation only, is open to women who trace their family to ancestors who held public office at the colonial level, were commissioned officers in the armed forces, or served in any capacity specified in the Eligibility List of the Society.

Please open our CDA Eligibility document by clicking here