CDA Programs and Awards



Since its founding in 1890, the mission of The Colonial Dames of America has included as its basic tenets
1) To maintain its headquarters as a museum, and to maintain other restorations, for educational purposes;
2) To provide educational opportunities and scholarships;
3) To collect for preservation manuscripts, traditions, relics, and mementoes of American history;
4) To commemorate the great historical events of the thirteen original Colonies;
5) To diffuse scholarly information and create popular interest in American history. Both the Society and the Chapters have contributed their efforts to fulfill the goals of the CDA. The following are some of the restorations and historic preservation projects undertaken by The Colonial Dames of America since its founding. The Society exists to live up to its motto, Colere Coloniarum Gloriam, to preserve the ideals of the colonies.


Initiated by Past President General Helen Evans, the President’s Award for Excellence is given to one or more chapters on an annual basis. The Board of Managers of The Colonial Dames of America is proud of the many projects supported by the efforts of the Chapters throughout the country and abroad. Each interested Chapter is asked to submit a full description of its project and a budget outlining the proposed use of the $1,000 award. The proposal may be for specific aspects of ongoing projects or for the implementation of a new project. The proposal and budget should be submitted by the Chapter President to the Board of Managers of the Colonial Dames of America, c/o Executive Director, 417-421 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065. (The deadline for this proposal is announced every spring).


Each year The Colonial Dames of America makes grants to several institutions for graduate student fellowships and awards.


The Colonial Dames of America recognizes non-fiction books of merit that focus on American life—past, present, or future—by presenting an annual award to the author  and to the publisher of the winning book. The purpose is to encourage both authors and publishers to produce books that broaden the understanding of American history, politics, or culture. An award is also given to an author writing fiction or non-fiction for young readers with an American theme. To be considered for the Annual Award, a book must be non-fiction, in one volume, and published during the current year. Both author and publisher must be American. The book may be focused on history, biography, economics, politics, ecology, education, or the arts.



The Van Rensselaer Award for Distinguished Service (“VRA”) is named in honor of one of the CDA’s principal founders of the Society, Maria Demming “May” King Van Rensselaer (Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer) and will be bestowed upon a member of The Colonial Dames of America for distinguished service to her chapter, to the Society, and to her community.



Established in 2014, the 1890 Society recognizes any aggregate contribution of at least $1890 to The Colonial Dames of America and/or the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden within any given fiscal year. Donors’ names will be announced each year at the CDA annual meeting and posted on the Colonial Dames’ website for the coming twelve months.



The Honor Roll recognizes those Colonial Dames chapters contributing a total of $500 or more to the Society or The Mount Vernon Hotel Museum and Garden within a single year. Chapters are invited to send information about contributions made in previous years.

2018-2019 Fiscal Year

Chapter XXXI, South Carolina

2017-2018 Fiscal Year

Chapter II, Philadelphia
Chapter VIII, Houston
Chapter XVI, Des Moines, IA
Chapter XX, Los Angeles
Chapter XXI, Dallas
Chapter XXII, Michigan
Chapter XXIV, Atlanta
Chapter XXIX, North Carolina
Chapter XXX, Venice, FL
Chapter XXXI, South Carolina
Chapter XXXIII, Georgia Piedmont

2016-2017 Fiscal Year

Chapter I, Baltimore
Chapter VIII, Houston
Chapter XVII, Palm Beach
Chapter XX, Los Angeles
Chapter XXII, Michigan
Chapter XXIV, Atlanta
Chapter XXXI, South Carolina