The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America

in the State of Delaware

The Colonial Dames

The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America was formed in 1891 in Philadelphia and is this year celebrating its 125th anniversary. Its aims are to collect and preserve manuscripts, traditions, relics, and mementos of the past; and to preserve sites and buildings connected with the early history of our country. The Dames own and maintain 99 museum properties across the country and have had a hand in saving and restoring numerous others. The National headquarters is Dumbarton House in Washington, DC.

In addition, the Society sponsors educational programs dealing with everything from colonial history to the way our government functions today, promotes citizenship, and helps stimulate love of country. Membership in the organization is by sponsorship only. Members must be lineal descendants of an ancestor who rendered significant service to his country during the Colonial period before July 5, 1776.

As part of the National celebration the NSCDA has created a Women of Vision exhibit.

Two Delaware ladies included on the web site are Florence M. Montgomery and Louisa Spruance Morse.

2017-2018 Programs

September 15

125th Anniversary Reception

Kalmar Nyckel Foundation

September 16

Open House Exhibition for 125th Anniversary

Little Church

October 16

"The Battle of the Brandywine, Sept. 11, 1777"

Scott Stephenson

November 20

"Decorating for Collectors"

Ralph Harvard

December 11

Gunston Hall Sale & Christmas Program

January 15

"Early Industry Along the Christiana River"

Sam Head

March 19

"The Design, Stitching and Construction of the Historic Jamestowne Jacket"

Brenda Rosseau

May 14

Annual Meeting

Delaware Dames please watch your e-mail for further information about these programs.

The Little Church Historic Site

The First Presbyterian Church of Wilmington, now affectionately know as "The Little Church" and pictured above at right, was built in 1740 by a group of Scotch-Irish on land purchased from a Swede. The location was where the Wilmington Public Library now stands. Except for a brief period in 1777 after the Battle of the Brandywine when Wilmington was occupied by British troops and the church was used as an army hospital, it remained a house of worship for 100 years. In 1840, when it became too small for the congregation, a larger church was built and the building was used as a Sabbath and rental day school. In 1878 it was dedicated to the Historical Society of Delaware and used for exhibits and lectures. The Colonial Dames later rented space for meetings. When the Presbytery sold its Market Street property the building was given to the Colonial Dames with the provision that they move it, maintain it, and use it for historical and patriotic purposes. The building could not be moved intact due to overhead trolley wires and in 1918 it was carefully taken apart and reconstructed on its present park land site on South Park Drive and West Street. The building is on The National Register of Historic Places.

This historic landmark is the home of the Delaware Colonial Dames, housing their archives and providing meeting space. It is open to the public the second Sunday of every month from April through October from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. Groups and individuals may also rent "The Little Church" for a nominal fee for meetings, weddings, and receptions. A basement kitchen is available for reheating and refrigerating foods, although not for food preparation. No alcoholic beverages are permitted.

For information please contact

Delaware Dames Facebook Page

The Delaware Dames find Colonial history anything but dull and boring. Delaware's small size allows for easy access to meetings and trips.
Check for information and pictures on the Delaware Dames Facebook page

Patriotic Service Committee

This Delaware Dames committee hosts a reception after the oath of allegiance is administered to immigrants, awards scholarships to ROTC students, and gives a scholarship to a doctoral student in American History or Political Science. The Stockings for Soldiers project, which in 2013 made over 12,000 personalized Christmas Stockings and 500 knitted helmet liners for our troops, is supported both by monetary contributions and by helping make the stockings. Their web site gives sewing directions for the stockings, knitting instructions for the helmet liners and information on volunteering to help; everyone is welcome.

Kalmar Nyckel

The original Kalmar Nyckel, one of America's pioneering tall ships, served as Governor Peter Minuit's flagship for the 1638 expedition that founded the colony of New Sweden in present-day Wilmington, Delaware. The ship made a total of four roundtrip crossings of the Atlantic, more than any other documented ship of the American colonial era. It was a gun-armed merchant vessel called a Dutch Pinnace, built in 1625, decommissioned in 1651, and sunk in the North Sea in 1652 while fighting for the Dutch against the English.

The current Kalmar Nyckel is a recreation of the original ship. It was launched into the Christina River in 1997, about 200 yards downstream from the site of the original ship's first landing in March of 1638. The ship serves as a floating classroom and inspirational centerpiece for the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation's educational programs. She logs about 3,000 nautical miles each year. The Delaware Colonial Dames, through a yearly donation, sponsors five educational sails for 250 students.

Gunston Hall

The mission statement of Gunston Hall is to utilize fully its physical and scholarly resources to stimulate continuing public exploration of democratic ideals as first presented by George Mason, the plantation's original owner, in the 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Located in Mason Neck, VA, this National Historic Landmark is owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia and administered by a Board of Regents appointed from the NSCDA. This Board includes a member of the Delaware Dames.

The December Meeting of the Delaware Dames features numerous fundraisers for Gunston Hall including the sale of decorated table-top boxwood Christmas trees.

George Mason University students produced a video to honor George Mason's birthday. To view it click here.

Sulgrave Manor

Sulgrave Manor, a superb example of a 16th-century Manor House and Garden, was built by Lawrence Washington, direct ancestor of George Washington, first president of the United States. It is located in Sulgrave, Banbury, England.

In 1924, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America raised $112,000 from 35,000 subscribers to endow the Manor and Grounds in perpetuity.

Two members of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America serve on the Sulgrave Manor Board.

The Facebook page for Sulgrave Manor may be found here.


If you wish to make a contribution to the National Society of the Colonial Dames in the State of Delaware, please use this form.
Checks should be made payable to "NSCDA in DE".
The NSCDA in DE is a 501(c)3 organization so for tax purposes all donations are deductible to the full extent of the law.
Thank you.

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