6.22.16 – CDA Holds 2016 Annual Meeting in NYC

6.22.16 – CDA Holds 2016 Annual Meeting in NYC

Charlotte Squarcy, CDA Garden Committee Chair

On the occasion of its 126th year, The Colonial Dames of America held its 2016 Annual Meeting on May 2, 2016 at a well-known private club in Manhattan. President General Sharon Vaino presided. Members of the 1890 Society (donors of more than $1890 during the fiscal year) were entertained by Sharon at a tea held on Friday, April 29, before the start of the official events.

On Saturday, April 30, the Executive Council Meeting was held at the Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium at CDA Headquarters at 417 E. 61st Street. Chapter Presidents and Delegates presented their reports to an audience including the Board of Managers and Committee Chairs, as well as representation from new CDA chapters. Attendees were given reprints of the Spring 2016 article about CDA in the Social Register Observer, written by Sharri Whiting, Communications Chair, and President General Sharon Worthing Vaino.

Honorary Dame Christine Rother and MVHMG Director Terri Daly

On Saturday evening, the gala President’s Award Dinner was held at an elegant private club, where the President’s Award for Excellence was presented to Chapter IX – Lexington, Kentucky. The winning project included upgrades to the Dr. Ephraim McDowell Historic Home, Apothecary Shop and Herbal Gardens, a National Historic Landmark in Danville, Kentucky, which the chapter has supported for many years. Dr. McDowell is considered the Father of Abdominal Surgery and the ongoing maintenance and restoration of the surgical room is the chapter project.

On Sunday morning, Dames were invited for a special tour of the J P Morgan Library. The popular annual Garden Party, which had been scheduled for Sunday afternoon in the garden and grounds of the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden (MVHMG), was moved to the Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium when spring rains arrived. The lively party continued in spite of the weather, with Garden Committee Chair Charlotte Squarcy and her committee leading guests into the beautifully blooming garden between showers. Charlotte and designer Marisol Deluna presented a draft layout for a new floral-themed scarf, which will be available in 2017 and sold to benefit the MVHM Garden, an oasis of green in Manhattan.  Chapter V — San Francisco presented the Society a new 24-star (c.1822) American flag, which will fly from the museum flagpole. Chapter XII – St Louis, MO donated two red twig dogwood trees, which were planted in the garden of the MVHMG. Music was provided by Met Encore flautist Martin Jennings. Funds were raised during the party for a new LED-lighted display case for the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum, which is wholly owned and operated by the CDA. A pre-party tour of the museum’s Erie Canal exhibit was offered to Dames and Proprietors of the MVHMG.

Caroline McLain leads the discussion of real estate and finance.

Judge Diane Kiesel and PPG Audrey Svensson

Prior to the Annual Meeting and Luncheon, workshops were held to update members on CDA projects and activities, including the Strategic Plan, the Online Store, Genealogy, Membership, Real Estate and Finance. Among the highlights of the luncheon was the presentation of the 65th annual Book Awards, chaired by Past President General Audrey Svensson. Winners in 2016 included the Book Award to Diane Kiesel for her book, She Can Bring Us Home: Dr. Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, Civil Rights Pioneer. The Citation was awarded to authors Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles for The Ghost Army of World War II: How One Top-Secret Unit Deceived the Enemy with Inflatable Tanks, Sound Effects and Other Audacious Fakery and the Youth Award to Chris Barton for The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Institution. Judge Kiesel‘s keynote speech about the life of Dr. Ferebee was entertaining and informative.

Watercolorist, garden expert and long-time CDA supporter Christine Rother was introduced as an Honorary Dame, one of only two in the history of the Society. Among her many contributions to CDA is the watercolor series of the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden; Christine is also an active participant on the Garden Committee.

The Van Rensselaer Awards were presented to Dames recognized for their service to their chapters and the Society. Second Vice President Brantley Knowles and VRA Liaison Caroline McLain introduced the winners, who were given specially-designed pins. 2016 winners included PPG Helen Evans (Parent Chapter), Priscilla Bruce Roberts (Chapter III- Washington, DC), Judith-Ann Saks Rosenthal (Chapter VIII –Houston), Sharrilyn Ann Whiting (Chapter X-Rome ),  the late Dyane Dye Kellogg (Chapter XXXI-South Carolina),  and Betty Chisolm Hutzler (Chapter XXXVI-Texas Hill Country).

CDA Committee chairs delivered their annual reports and other business was conducted, including the introduction of new CDA Executive Director Deborah (Deb) S. McWilliams. Former Executive Director Allison Collisky was thanked for her service and wished well in her relocation to South Carolina. President General Sharon Vaino adjourned the Annual Meeting at 2 pm.