A Proud History

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America (NSCDA) was founded in 1891 by a group of well-connected women who saw a pressing need to restore and preserve houses, monuments, and documents of our colonial past. This movement grew out of the original preservation group in America, the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association in Virginia, founded in 1853. Today, the NSCDA has preserved more property than all other US organizations except for the National Park Service. Members of the NSCDA are all direct lineal descendants of prominent colonial ancestors, both men and women, who are identified as having performed efficient service to the colonies prior to July 5, 1776.

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in Connecticut (NSCDA-CT) was founded in 1893 by Elizabeth Colt and since 1919 it has owned and operated the Webb Deane Stevens Museum (WDS) at 211 Main Street in Wethersfield, the NSCDA-CT headquarters. Two general membership meetings per year are held, as are fundraisers and interesting events for the public. The Webb Barn Sale (formerly Tags & Treasures), NSCDA-CT’s major fundraiser, is hosted every other spring in the historic Webb Barn on the grounds of the Webb Deane Stevens Museum.

On the national level we support the headquarters, Dumbarton House in Washington DC; Gunston Hall, the Virginia home of George Mason, the Founding Father and principal author of the Virginia Bill of Rights; and Sulgrave Manor, the ancestral home of the Washington family in Northamptonshire, England.

In June 2021, the state-of-the art Holcombe Education Center was opened at the Webb Deane Stevens Museum. This new facility is dedicated to expanding and enlivening public programming and education offered by the museum. This center is named in recognition of Lucy Eaton Holcombe, whose bequest helped make the project possible. In addition to hosting exhibitions and public meeting spaces, facilities for research, and access for people with disabilities, the Center’s Mary Granberry Waterman Event Hall is available for community rental events. The Hall provides beautiful natural lighting and a lovely view of the Amy Cogswell Colonial Revival Garden.

NSCDA-CT members are Connecticut women who have been successful in their communities, privately or in their professions, or have been active in volunteer activities. Many of our members are sisters, daughters, and granddaughters of other Dames. Candidates apply through the Registrar who confirms the ancestor is listed on the Register of Ancestors or who will add the ancestor after efficient service is proven. A Line of Ascent form shows the basic lineage from the ancestor. As a sponsorship society, a fellow Dame will propose and endorse the candidate for membership.

Please contact the NSCDA-CT Registrar for determining eligibility and application process and fee information. There is also a fee for the reviewing genealogist to perform the formal review of source material.

NSCDA-CT Registrar: Dr. Katherine Holden, [email protected]

The National Society of the Colonial Dames in America: https://nscda.org

Webb Deane Stevens Museum: https://wdsmuseum.org

Historic Wethersfield: https://wethersfieldct.gov/visitor-information/