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Emblem of the United Daughters of the Confederacy

The United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) is a women's heritage association dedicated to honoring the memory of those who served and died in service to the Confederate States of America (CSA). UDC began as the National Association of the Daughters of the Confederacy, organized in 1894 by Caroline Meriwether Goodlett and Anna Davenport Raines. It traces its lineage to older heritage associations such as the Daughters of the Confederacy in Missouri and the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Confederate Soldiers Home in Tennessee. The National Association changed its name to the UDC in 1895. It was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia in 1919. Its motto is “Love, Live, Pray, Think, Dare”.


Membership in UDC is open to women at least 16 years old who are of lineal or collateral blood descent from veterans who served honorably in the Army, Navy, or Civil Service of the CSA or are current or former members of UDC.

Membership is through a local chapter, usually where the prospective member resides. Local chapters come under the auspices of the state or "Division".

There are currently 33 states with active chapters.


The objectives of the organization are Historical, Educational, Benevolent, Memorial and Patriotic: [1]

  1. To collect and preserve the material necessary for a truthful history of the American Civil War and to protect, preserve, and mark the places made historic by Confederate valor;
  2. To assist descendants of worthy Confederates in securing a proper education;
  3. To fulfill the sacred duty of benevolence toward the survivors of the War and those dependent upon them;
  4. To honor the memory of those who served and those who fell in the service of the Confederate States of America;
  5. To record the part played during the War by Southern women, including their patient endurance of hardship, their patriotic devotion during the struggle, and their untiring efforts during the post-War reconstruction of the South; and
  6. To cherish the ties of friendship among the members of the Organization.


The headquarters of the UDC, Memorial Hall, is located in Richmond, Virginia. The United Daughters of Confederacy collects and preserves rare books, documents, diaries, letters, and other papers of historical importance that relate to the American Civil War period. The collection is kept in Goodlett Memorial Library at the headquarters.


Beginning in the late 19th century, the UDC was active in local areas in raising money for memorials to Confederate veterans and battles. They were instrumental in organizing to commemorate the war, including annual events in many towns.[2]

During World War I, the UDC supported 70 hospital beds at the American Military Hospital at Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and contributed $82,069 for French and Belgian orphans. At home, the United Daughters of the Confederacy's members purchased $24,843,368 worth of war bonds and savings stamps. They also donated $841,676 to the Red Cross.

The UDC raised money to commission window memorials to generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson, which were installed at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. They were placed in 1957. These memorials consist of two tracery windows depicting episodes in the lives of each of the generals.

During World War II the organization assisted the National Nursing Association by donating financially to student nurses until the Bolton Act, which created the first Cadet Nurse Corps, was passed by the United States Congress. Through the Red Cross, the UDC also donated ambulances for use at European battle sites and a blood plasma unit. They were commended by the Red Cross for their outstanding contributions to the war.

The UDC opposed Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ended legal segregation of public schools. In response, it pushed to rename an all-white public school after Nathan Bedford Forrest, Civil War hero and elected leader of the Ku Klux Klan.[3]

The UDC offers a number of scholarships, including the Annabella Drummond McMath Scholarship which helps women over the age of 30 begin or continue their education.

McPherson controversy[]

During a radio interview in 1999, Princeton University historian James M. McPherson, a scholar of the Civil War, associated the (UDC) with the neo-Confederate movement and described board members of the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia as "undoubtedly neo-Confederate". He further said that the UDC and their male counterparts, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), have "white supremacy" as their "thinly veiled agendas."[4]

Some members of the UDC and the SCV said they were outraged and stated that the two organizations do not have a racist agenda. Some SCV and UDC chapters urged their members to boycott McPherson's books and engage in letter-writing campaigns of protest.[5] In response, McPherson stated that he did not mean to imply that all SCV or UDC chapters, or everyone who belongs to them, promote the white supremacist agenda. He further stated that [only] some of these people have a hidden agenda.[5]

Vanderbilt University controversy[]


Confederate Memorial Hall, located on Vanderbilt University's Peabody campus.

In recent years, the UDC sued Vanderbilt University, located in Nashville, Tennessee over its plan to change the name of Confederate Memorial Hall, a student dormitory. In September 2002, the university announced its intention to remove "Confederate" from the pediment of the building in recognition of changed times. The UDC protested, as it had funded approximately a third of the cost in 1935 when the building was constructed, with the condition the building would be named Confederate Memorial Hall, with two floors reserved for women descendants of Confederate veterans. After a lengthy legal process that went to appeal, the Tennessee State Appeals Court ruled on May 3, 2005, that Vanderbilt University would be forced to pay a sizeable sum to the UDC if "Confederate" was removed from the building.[6] Due to the court ruling, Vanderbilt University has decided not to formally change the name. In its materials, the university refers to the building simply as Memorial Hall.

See also[]


  1. United Daughters of the Confederacy Home Page
  2. David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001
  3. Jennifer Lawinski (2008-11-07). "Florida High School Keeps KKK Founder's Name".,2933,448684,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-07. 
  4. "James McPherson Interview", Pacifica Radio
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Princeton Educator Maligns UDC", Virginia Division, United Daughters of the Confederacy
  6. "Confederate Memorial Hall UPDATE: Court of Appeals Soundly Reverses Trial Court". Schulman, Leroy & Bennett, P.C.. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 

External links[]

ca:United Daughters of Confederacy