The Van Rensselaer Award for Distinguished Service (VRA), is named in honor of one of the CDA’s principal founders, Maria Denning “May” King Van Rensselaer (Mrs. John King Van Rensselaer). Awards are bestowed upon members of The Colonial Dames of America for their distinguished service to their respective chapter, their local community, and/or to the Society. As many as one member per chapter, per fiscal year is eligible for this honor.


A chapter may recommend a member in good standing to CDA’s Board of Managers for consideration. Dames may also be proposed posthumously.  Submissions must be received no later than December 1.


Please see submission instructions and rules below. If you have additional questions, email or call (212) 838-5489.


Submission Instructions


1. Submissions may be prepared in one of two formats that are available for download from the members only section of the CDA website: (i) Microsoft Word; or (ii) a fillable PDF form.


2. The submissions may be sent by: (i) regular mail to the CDA Headquarters office at The Colonial Dames of America, 417 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065; or, (ii) email to


3. If you are mailing your submission, please include a $250 check payable to “The Colonial Dames of America.” If submitting via email, please mail your check to the CDA Headquarters.  (In either case, please write in the memo section on check: “VRA application, Chapter ____.”)




1. The deadline for submissions is December 1 of each fiscal year.
2. Submissions received after the deadline cannot be considered for 2019.
3. Candidates must have been CDA members for at least five (5) years.
4. VRA award winners will be determined by the CDA’s Board of Managers.
5. A chapter may not propose more than one nominee per year.
6. A member can only be selected once for the VRA.

Van Rensselaer Awards Winners



Chapter XX – Los Angeles: Elizabeth Budd Breihaupt (Mrs. Richard H.)

Chapter XXIV – Atlanta: Marion Owens Sims Bunker (Mrs. Robert M.) [posthumous]

Chapter XXXVIII – Santa Barbara: Judith Lyman Cardinal

Parent Chapter: Beverley Tucker Wahl Sherrid (Mrs. Mark V.)




Chapter III-Washington, D.C.: Barbara Hensley Carpenter (Mrs. William A.)

Chapter XXIV-Atlanta, Georgia: Martha Ellen Holman Wright (Mrs. George D.)




Parent Chapter: Helen Carney Evans (Mrs. Robert Clements)

Chapter III-Washington, D.C.: Priscilla Thompson Roberts (Mrs. James Milnor)

Chapter III-Washington, D.C.: Kay Pugh Titus  (Mrs. Donald C.)

Chapter VIII-Houston: Judith-Ann Saks Rosenthal (Mrs. Haskell)

Chapter X-Rome: Sharri Whiting De Masi

Chapter XXXI-South Carolina: Dyane Dye Kellogg (Mrs. Frederick F.)

Chapter XXVI-Texas Hill Country: Betty Chisolm Hutzler (Mrs. Robert L.)




Parent Chapter: Sharon W. Vaino (Mrs. Jaan)

Chapter VIII-Houston: Sarah Beth Leney (Mrs. Franklin J.)

Chapter XXIII-Virginia: Charlotte Taylor Miller (Mrs. Andrew J.)

Chapter XXIV-Atlanta, Georgia: Rose Elyea Bell (Mrs. John Inman Jr)

Chapter XXXI-South Carolina: Theresa Hulsey Johnson (Mrs. Richard K.)

Chapter XXXIII-Georgia Piedmont: Robin Redfearn Towns (Mrs. Robert F.)