National Society of Colonial Dames of America – Minnesota Chapter
Annual Meeting
Annual Meeting

New Website Coming Soon!

Check out the URL above to see the new Minnesota Dames website. We are still in the testing stage, and feedback is welcome! Write to with any questions or feedback. Happy browsing!

Invitation for Minnesota Dames:Extraordinary Women


Minnesota Dames are invited to a special preview and talk about Minnesota Historical Society’s new Extraordinary Women exhibit. Noted historian Annette Atkins and Senior Exhibits Developer Kate Roberts will speak. Register at Free! We have a special code that must be entered when registering. See our Members Only page for that information.



Virtual Lecture February 18, 2020

This year the Friends of Sulgrave Manor are excited to coordinate with the Washington DC Dames Society on a virtual lecture with Cyrus Ansary, author of the new book George Washington, Dealmaker in Chief.  A free learning opportunity just in time for George Washington's birthday (Feb 22 - a few days early!) The lecture will be February 18 at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time. The link was sent out via email and is also available on our Facebook page.

A Mayflower Conversation, 400 years later

Our 2020 Holiday program was our first event held via Zoom for all members. We were joined by Hilary Goodnow, Associate Director, Education and Outreach, Plimoth Patuxet Museum, and interpreter Malka Benjamin. Malka also joined us in costume as Mayflower passenger Susanna Winslow. One of only five women to survive the first winter after their arrival, Susanna was pregnant on the voyage and delivered her son Peregrine while the ship was anchored off Cape Cod. Her husband died not long after, and she married fellow passenger Edward Winslow, whose wife had also died.  After the presentation, Malka and Hilary answered questions from our group, and then left us to socialize for the remainder of the Zoom meeting. Thank you, Kathy Coward, for arranging our virtual get-together and educational program. Photos are in the Photo Gallery.

Successful Virtual Biennial Held

The 63rd National Biennial was held in October, and this year it was held virtually for the first time ever. While this was done for safety reasons due to COVID19, it had the benefit of allowing more Dames to participate than ever before - nearly 900! Educational sessions are now available to view here. Our own scholarship chair received a special shout out as a part of the program (Our winner, James McIlroy, begins his presentation at minute 2:39), and our two Roll of Honor recipients were acknowledged in one of the business sessions. 

Dames Learn About Swedish Immigrant History

Colonial Dames gathered on Saturday, Sept. 12, for a socially-distanced tour at Gammelgården Museum in Scandia, Minn. All members wore masks except while eating lunch. The executive director of Gammelgården, Lynne Moratzka, led our tour around the exteriors of five buildings and showed us historic artifacts, all telling the story of Swedish immigration to America in the 1850s and 1860s. The museum includes the oldest Lutheran sanctuary still standing in Minnesota, built in 1856, which is still in use for summer worship and celebrating Santa Lucia Day in December, as well as weddings and baptisms. We also saw the pastor’s house, built as a parsonage in 1868 to attract a Swedish pastor and his family to come to the immigrant community in Scandia. Other buildings there are a two-level 1879 barn, an immigrant house built in 1855, and a replica of a peasant house called a stuga. Photos can be viewed in the Photo Gallery and on the Minnesota Dames Facebook Page.

Congrats to 2020 History Day Winners!

The Minnesota Dames again sponsored two $250 prizes for presentations about pre-Revolution history.  This year was quite different due to the Coronavirus pandemic. All entries and judging were virtual. The description for our prize this year was “Breaking Barriers in American History Prior to 1776, when America Was Still a British Colony.” Check the History Day page of our website to see the winners. Thank you, judges and congratulations, winners!

Veterans Still Need Your Help

Our friends at the Minnesota Veterans Home need our help. Days are long and visitors are restricted. If you are looking for a way to help during these difficult times, please consider a gift of new items for Veterans Home residents. Items can be dropped off at the home at 5191 Minnehaha Avenue in Minneapolis, or to collection points listed here. The list of needed new items is in the members only area under Useful Dames Files. Thank you for supporting our veterans!

2020-2021 Nominating Slate Response Needed

Watch your mailbox for an envelope with the 2020-2021 Nominating Slate for board positions. We will need you to return the enclosed ballot in the addressed envelope by May 8, 2020. See "Useful Dames Files" in the members only section of this website for additional 2020 Annual Meeting materials referred to in the notice. We regret that the in-person annual meeting has been cancelled, but appreciate your attention to this business. Please also return your annual membership dues of $125 as well. Please stay healthy and stay safe!

Annual Meeting 2020 and April Program CANCELLED

Due to the Governor's orders amid ongoing concern about the coronavirus, the April 4 NSCDA-MN program meeting, Genealogical Workshop and lunch, and the in-person Annual Meeting 2020 scheduled for May 12 have ben cancelled. Membership will still need to vote on the 2020-2021 Nominating Slate for board officers. We will communicate arrangements about the proxy vote as soon as possible.
3/12/2020 updated 4/3/2020

NEW Technology Training Webinars from National


A NEW Webinar calendar is available for January – March on the NSCDA Website for 2020. There are many topics that can help all Dames learn new technology skills and ways to benefit your Society. All Dames are invited to participate from their own computers. The first two are January 15, 2020 from 3-4 pm CST on Google Drive and Dropbox, and January 23 from 2-3 pm on social media. Please click the link below to register and to see the full schedule from January to March. This page will be updated periodically with new webinar opportunities throughout the year!


New History Sketches of Founders and Ancestors

Happy New Year! If you vowed to brush up on your genealogy this year, check out our History Sketches page for a little inspiration.  We have new sketches on NSCDA-MN Founders including Leonora Christian, Marion Cross, Caroline Lee, and Ellen Fellows Young, with more to come. New Minnesota Ancestors sketches include Ard Godfrey and Elizabeth Skelley. Check back soon, as more are being added all the time.

Season's Greetings from the Dames

Photos of the 2019 Dames Holiday party at the Minikahda Club are available in the Photo Gallery.  Musicians from the group Sospiri greeted our Minnesota Dames and guests at this lovely event.

Dames Delve Into Suffrage History

Minnesota Dames gathered at the home of Susan McCarthy to learn from suffragist historian Madeline Hansen for their Fall 2019 program. To see photos, go to Photo Gallery and select Fall 2019 Program.

Dames View History Day Winning Performance

Minnesota Dames gathered at the home of Kitty Petit in June 2019 to view the winning performance by Fayte Saxowsky and Isabella Coccoluto of Delano Middle School  on the “Salem Witch Trials.” It was an educational and fun afternoon, as several descendents of accused witches were in the audience, as was a descendent of Cotton Mather. The students had studied Reverend Mather as a part of their research for the project.  

Dames International Scholars Visit Fort Snelling

Photos from the May 11, 2019 bus trip to Historic Fort Snelling with our 2019 International Student Scholars from the U of Minnesota are now available in the Photo Gallery!

Dames Support History Day 2019

The annual History Day Contest, conducted in May 2019, involved more than 5,000 young scholars at regional and state History Day events. The Minnesota society once again awarded prizes for History Day day entries in the area of American Colonial History, and several Minnesota Dames served as volunteer judges.
The 2019 theme was "Triumph & Tragedy in History." See the History Day page for a list of our 2019 winners.
Minnesota History Day is sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society in partnership with the University of Minnesota. 

2019 Annual Meeting

May 4 was the 2019 annual meeting of the National Society of Colonial Dames in the State of Minnesota. In addition to the business meeting, Ruth Stryker-Gordon gave a talk on Sarah T. Colvin, a women’s rights advocate who lived in St. Paul with her physician husband from 1897 until her death in 1949. Ruth fondly remembers visiting the Colvins each Christmas, playing games and receiving presents. In 1943, Sarah wrote her autobiography and Ruth read about Sarah’s participation in the women’s suffrage movement. Sarah was jailed after picketing the White House in 1918 and 1919, and her autobiography details her experience of being “behind locked doors” for the first time, the sound of rats, and the effects of the hunger strikes on her and her fellow captives. None of this was ever spoken of in the years Ruth knew the Colvins. Our group also thanked Ruth for her service as she retires from our board after serving as treasurer and second vice president. See the photo gallery for photos from the meeting.

Spring 2019 program at the Bell Museum

On a rainy Saturday in April, Minnesota Dames toured the new Bell Museum of Natural History on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. We viewed the restored and relocated historic dioramas originally commissioned by James Ford Bell, learned a few "tricks of the trade" from our tour guides (what do you do when the moose is too tall for the space?), and enjoyed the new interactive features highlighting University of Minnesota professors and citizen science. Thanks go to the outing’s planners. View the photos in our photo gallery.

2019 Scholarship Winners Announced!

Scholarship winners of the Colonial Dames Minnesota International Student Scholarship at the University of Minnesota have been announced! Videos and bios are listed here. Thank you to the Dames scholarship committee for your work!

Dames Scholarship Recipient Wins Award

The University of Minnesota let us know that Dr. Patrick Mendis, Dames scholarship recipient in the 1980s, has won the International Confucius Award. You can read about it here. The U also maintains a web page that includes the history of the scholarship and alumni profiles - check it out anytime here. Congratulations, Dr. Mendis!

Lineage Papers Online!

We have been working behind the scenes to bring genealogy resources to our members. Lineage papers for current members are on line in the "Members Only" section of the website. We are adding past members frequently. Check out the "Lineage papers by ancestor" pages where we are just beginning to upload and organize papers by qualifying ancestor - you may find new cousins! History Sketches are also being updated - this month's sketch features Julia Bowen French Metcalf, Minnesota Dame # 001.

A Ramsey Family Christmas

 One of Minnesota’s first Colonial Dames, Marion Ramsey Furness, daughter of Alexander and  Anna  Ramsey, wrote to her daughter Anita, who was studying in Paris over Christmas 1895. She writes of Anita’s younger siblings Alexander and Laura, and mentions receiving three calendars for Christmas (“so I can keep the run of 1896 in many languages”) and cooking oysters in a chafing dish for Christmas dinner because the servants were off. Marion is a founder of NSCDA-MN. After her husband’s death, Marion and her children lived with her parents in the Alexander Ramsey house. Anita made a provision in her will for the Alexander Ramsey House to be cared for jointly by the Colonial Dames and the Minnesota Historical Society. We have both Anita’s and Laura’s lineage papers, and while Anita went through her mom’s lines to Joseph Kirkbride as her qualifying ancestor, Laura went through her father’s side to Captain Roger Clapp. For the full letter and photos, see Marion Ramsey Furness under History Sketches.  

Minnesota Dames Included in U of M Newsletter

The photo and note below was included in the most recent Global U: Spotlight on Teaching, Research and Engagement from the University of Minnesota. 
Way to go Meryl, Katharine, and Ann!
For the full issue, click here.

Minnesota Dames tour LeDuc House

Minnesota Dames toured the William and Mary LeDuc house in Hastings for their fall program. Visit our Gallery for photos of our tour. Built between 1862 and 1866, the LeDuc estate's Gothic Revival design was selected by Mary Bronson LeDuc while General William LeDuc was away fighting for the Union in the Civil War. We learned of William and Mary's lives and those of their four children. Several of our Dames remembered Carroll Simmons, the antiques dealer who donated the house for preservation. Despite the chill, it was an enjoyable tour. Thanks go to the group that planned and executed our visit, including carpools. To view photos, click here.