Winter 2022 – President General Message
I want to begin by thanking the many of you whose commitment to our community and mission makes being President General a joy with purpose.
Thanks to the determination of CDA Museum Garden Liaison, Lili Neuhauser, and Interim Operations Manager, Isabel Warren-Lynch, the lovely brick walks in our Colonial Garden at the Mount Vernon Hotel Museum have been repaired.
I am deeply grateful to them for finding a contractor with an understanding of historic brickwork and overseeing the repairs. Isabel continues to move forward with maintenance work on the Ballroom and Museum, delayed as a result of Covid restrictions, coordinating closely with Brantley Knowles as Chair of our Museum Committee. I am happy with their attention to details, such as historically correct colors!
Several chapters have welcomed me or invited me, helping me to fulfill my goal of visiting as many chapters as possible during my term. In November, my husband and I visited Chapter XXXIX-Birmingham. I want particularly to thank Registrar General Laura Ramsay and her husband (and wonderful tour guide!) Erskine for their hospitality. We had elegant dinners and even went to Buc-ee’s, which was the most fun I’ve ever had at a gas station. One of the highlights was our visit to the impressive American Village, which Chapter XXXIX supports. The American Village welcomes thousands of school children to replicas of buildings of the colonial period which many of them might never otherwise visit, and is exactly the kind of project that is central to our mission—engaging young minds in a fun way while teaching them the things in our country worth preserving, I am proud of the many members of the Birmingham Chapter for their participation, led by Connie Grund and Ann King.
At the beginning of February, our First Vice President, Pegi Ivancevich, and I held a Board of Managers and Committee Chair retreat in Palm Beach, which included a catamaran tour of the inlet, breakfasts and dinners filled with laughter and camaraderie, and serious work. My thanks to those who made presentations, including Laura Ramsay, Junior Committee Chair Lauren Rose and Recording Secretary Laurie Aldinger, who led an imaginative and effective team building exercise. I myself led a workshop to better organize our committee work, with assistance from Ashley Ganz, Parent Chapter Membership Co-Chair, and Melissa Levesque, our impressive Development Chair. The retreat coincided with the annual ball given by Chapter XVII – Palm Beach and the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Florida, followed by an elegant meeting of the Palm Beach chapter hosted by the gracious Edith Eglin.
I have just returned from a wonderful visit to Chapter XXIX-Atlanta. Soon-to-be Chapter President Christy Morris arranged and hosted a lovely dinner, and on Friday we attended the chapter meeting to which President Charlotte Christian generously invited members of Chapter XXXIII – Georgia Piedmont. Eleven members of that chapter attended, including their President, Rachel Tribble. I am pleased that their preservation and educational work is ongoing and valuable.
Upcoming visits are scheduled to North Carolina, Chicago, Michigan, and Melbourne, FL; and I have received a number of invitations, with dates to be decided.
First Vice President Pegi Ivancevich and I have been working on a Technology Initiative with the office, as it has come to our attention that technological updates and training can help us to be more organized. We arranged and participated in, with both CDA and Museum staff, a training to use a new email and calendar system. We also have an upcoming training to use a common server that will make the retrieval of documents and communications among the Museum, CDA staff and volunteers more efficient.
I am also excited to announce that CDA will be funding restoration of the North Gates of Jamestown Island, the second set of gates donated by CDA in 1907 to mark the 300th anniversary of the founding. These are the “VIP” gates through which Queen Elizabeth II passed when visiting. The repair is funded by the generous donations of our members, by Chapter XXIII – Virginia, under the direction of Board member Jocelyn Lance, and on the recommendation of our Education & Scholarship Committee led by Anna Rich. I will keep you posted on that progress, as we are assured Dames will be welcomed at a rededication.
The Ball Committee of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of New York has generously offered to extend invitations to CDA members attending the Annual Meeting of CDA. The Ball will be held Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the University Club. A number of Dames who are attending without dates or husbands are asking to sit at a table(s) together. If you are interested in receiving an invitation, please contact the CDA office, which will pass your information on to the Mayflower Society. If you wish to sit at an all-Dames table, please request that on your reply card to the Mayflower Society.
I look forward to welcoming many of you to the Annual Meeting Weekend, April 23-25. I will be leading a tour of some of my favorite spots in Central Park on Saturday. We will have a Book Award Luncheon Sunday at the Yale Club at which our winner will speak. The newly repaired brick walks await our members for our Garden Party. The Annual Meeting will be held Monday at the Colony Club, followed by the 1890 Society Reception at the Union Club that evening.
Rebecca Howard Madsen
CDA President General 2021-2024