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12 October 2012

A Colonial Dames Treasure Returns Home

No one is certain how the original membership book of the California Chapter of the National Society of The Colonial Dames of America came to be at the California Genealogical Society. It most likely was among books that were donated after a member’s death.

Ledger book of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America - California

The ledger book's cover doesn't hold any clues to its origins. It is well-worn, and frankly, it's not much to look at!

But the contents are a very precious piece of The Colonial Dames state history.

Ledger book's first entries from the 1890s

The first entry lists Mrs. William Peyton who was admitted to membership in 1892. The last entry dates from 1960. The ledger contains standard information on members – name, address, when admitted to the Dames, name and state of ancestor, and descendent generation number from said ancestor. The  date of death was written in for several of the members.

Ledger entries from 1906

Diana Morris Wild is our current vice-president and a board member of the California Genealogical Society. Since Diana is also an active member of the Dames, she volunteered to deliver it to their headquarters at the Octagon House in San Francisco.

Past-presidents Charlotte Scherman (left) and Jean Palmer (right) flank NSCDA-CA President Nancy McAteer (center)  and the ledger book at Octagon House.

The California Dames President Nancy McAteer reports that the ledger book was a big hit at their recent meeting. She thanks the California Genealogical Society for returning this important piece of their history and assures that it will occupy a special place in the California Dames Archives.

The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America (NSDCA), founded in 1891, is an association of forty-five corporate societies in forty-four states and the District of Columbia, with more than 15,500 individual members nationwide. The society's national headquarters are located in Washington, D.C. The California Society has headquarters at the Octagon House, 2645 Gough Street,
San Francisco. The NSDCA actively promotes the national heritage through historic preservation, patriotic service and educational projects.

Photographs courtesy of Diana Wild and Nancy McAteer, San Francisco, September 2012.

Copyright © 2012 by Kathryn M. Doyle, California Genealogical Society and Lib,rary