5.23.18 – 2018 CDA Annual Meeting

5.23.18 – 2018 CDA Annual Meeting

After six years as President General of The Colonial Dames of America, Sharon Worthing Vaino passed the gavel to new PG Brantley Carter Bolling Knowles at the 2018 Annual Meeting held in Manhattan April 28th-30th. The meeting is set annually on or near the date of George Washington’s first inauguration, which was held on the balcony of the Federal Building in New York City on April 30, 1789.

During the weekend of the Annual Meeting, Sharon was honored and feted by the Society, its Board of Managers, Committee Chairs,  and Dames from chapters around the country. During her presidency the CDA introduced a new website, created several new committees, and addressed legal and financial issues of importance to the Society. Sharon was the first President General to visit every CDA chapter in the United States and Europe. Brantley assumed the office of President General after having served the CDA in many capacities at both the national and chapter level.

The weekend began with an afternoon tea on April 27,  honoring the 1890 Society. Hosted at a private club by Sharon Vaino, the tea included as guests those who donated $1890 or more to the CDA during the previous fiscal year. The Colonial Dames of America, the first women’s lineage organization devoted to the colonial period, was founded on May 23, 1890.

Saturday activities included the Executive Council Meeting, where presidents and delegates from chapters around the US and Europe met to review the previous year’s activities and projects and present plans for the future.  The meeting was attended by the Board of Managers, Committee Chairs and delegates, and was open to all members of The Colonial Dames of America.


Click on the arrow below to start the slideshow of the Annual Meeting.

On Saturday evening, the President’s Award for Excellence Dinner was held at the Yale Club. Outgoing President General Sharon Vaino presented the award and a $1,000 check to CDA’s newest chapter, Chapter XXXIX-Birmingham, Alabama. Connie Grund, Chapter President, accepted for the chapter and described the chapter’s support of The American Village in Montevallo, Alabama.

On Sunday morning, Dames joined James Kaplan, president of the Lower Manhattan Historic Society, for a walking tour of New York’s Financial District. The group stopped for lunch at the historic Fraunces Tavern.

The ever-popular CDA Garden Party took place on Sunday afternoon. Due to sporadic rain, the party was held in the Abigail Adams Smith Ballroom, which was abloom with both live flowers and colorful hats. During breaks in the rain, guests slipped into the garden of the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden (MVHMG), where a spectacular spring floral show brightened the day. Party guests contributed to the museum’s educational projects via a raffle of tempting donations, including fine whiskey, artisanal Italian olive oil and decanter, antique opera books, and vintage jewelry. The Book Awards Committee offered books from previous awards competitions in exchange for donations to the committee’s activities on behalf of award winning authors.

The MVHMG is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and is wholly owned and operated by The Colonial Dames of America. All Dames are automatically members of the museum. The MVHMG Proprietors represent the chapters of CDA and serve to promote the museum in their local areas.

The Annual Meeting and Luncheon was held at a private club on Monday, April 30, the anniversary of Washington’s first inauguration.  On behalf of the board and committee chairs, incoming CDA President General Brantley Knowles presented outgoing CDA PG Sharon Vaino with a diamond and gold Past President General’s pin.

The day began with a morning series of workshops that focused on: CDA Membership and Genealogy, given by Membership Chair Beverley Sherrid; upcoming plans for the CDA1890 website, given by Communications Chair Sharri Whiting, and a speech and video presentation about the history of CDA, presented by incoming President General Brantley Knowles.

Photo by Nancy Moon

The business of the Society was conducted during the meeting, with reports given by Committee Chairs; by-laws changes voted upon, and CDA Officers and Board of Managers members voted upon and introduced. Members were encouraged to make plans to attend the 2018 Fall Benefit, to be held in New York on October 17. Rebecca Madsen is Chair of the benefit.

The newly installed slate of officers of the Board of Managers includes: President General, Brantley Knowles; First Vice President, Beverley Tucker Wahl Sherrid; Second Vice President, Carol M. Degener Lynch; Treasurer, Lucy Patricola; Recording Secretary, Rebecca Howard Madsen; and Corresponding Secretary, Mary Raye Casper.

Several outstanding Dames were presented Van Rensselaer Awards for their service to their Chapters: Elizabeth Budd Breithaupt, Chapter XX- Los Angeles; Marion Owens Sims Bunker (posthumous), Chapter XXIV- Atlanta; Judith Lyman Cardinal, Chapter XXXVIII- Santa Barbara; and Beverley Sherrid, Parent Chapter. Nominations for the Van Rensselaer Award are made by chapters. The award is named in honor of Maria Denning “May” King Van Rensselaer (Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer), a founder of The Colonial Dames of America.

The Annual Book Award was presented to Paul Staiti for his book, OF ARMS AND ARTISTS:  The American Revolution through Painters’ Eyes.  As keynote speaker, Professor Staiti offered entertaining remarks about the process of researching and writing about the visual artists who illustrated early American history. The Book Award Citation was presented to Mary Lynn Bayliss for THE DOOLEYS OF RICHMOND:  An Irish Immigrant Family in the Old and New South.  THE H.L.HUNLEY SUBMARINE: History and Mystery from the Civil War written by Fran Hawk, illustrated by Monica Wyrick, was given the Young Reader’s Award. The Colonial Dames of America Book Awards were first presented in 1951 and continue to be a valued way to recognize worthy books written about subjects pertaining to American history, life and material culture.

President General Brantley Knowles adjourned the 2018 Annual Meeting at 2 pm.