A Proud History
In 1893, one year after The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America was formed in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Colt, Elizabeth Hammersley, Evelyn Salisbury and Mary Hoppin met at Elizabeth Colt’s home, Armsmear, to establish The Connecticut Society. Elizabeth Colt served as the Connecticut’s first president from 1893 to 1896. She served as National’s Vice- President from 1900 until her death in 1905.
The original mission of The Connecticut Society was “To further a clearer knowledge, not only of colonial events and persons, but also of the ideas and principles which underlay them, and to encourage in contemporary life, a true patriotism built on such understanding.”
As a genealogical based organization, The Connecticut Society was naturally interested in collecting and preserving vital records, many of which were threatened by moisture and mildew in church basements. The Manuscript Committee arranged for the originals or photostatic copies to be kept at the State Library in Hartford.
The Connecticut Society formed a committee to prepare an inventory of 18th century portraits, and another to organize an exhibition of 18th century silver, but its greatest contribution was and continues to be in the realm of historic preservation. Between 1897 and 1904, the Society led the effort to save the Henry Whitfield House in Guilford. Between 1910 and 1921, it was active in the effort to preserve the Old State House in Hartford. In 1919, The Connecticut Dames assumed the responsibility of preserving and interpreting their own historic property with the purchase of the Joseph Webb House in Wethersfield.